Calling All Worshippers ~ part three

Lord, You are the only Truth & Way. Teach us to fear You alone, bowed down & worshipping You in thought word & deed with reverential awe for our lives are in You.

MINI SCRIPTURE SOAKING BIBLE STUDY ~ Part Three

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro   www.holyspiritpress.org   www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

We are re-considering the importance of an authentic attitude of worship, which reflects an understanding that God is in control and worthy of all trust by reading through one of the stories of Jehoshaphat.  We are focusing here in order to consider the importance of an attitude of worship in our own lives in response to God’s presence, remind ourselves of worship’s place in our day and how we can expect God to respond.  We are recalling, why we worship!

In Part One (https://ascendinworship.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/calling-all-worshippers), we read that when Jehoshaphat became king of Judah, he knew there was only one God.  He understood God’s sovereignty in all circumstances and  God’s promise to protect and provide for those who honored Him for His rightful position as supernatural, Supreme King over all.  Jehoshaphat immediately set about ensuring as much as he could that Judah was a “nation under God”.  Jehoshaphat knew that many others before him had declared Judah a nation under God because God had made promises to Judah.  But those promises were contingent on the people fulfilling one promise: to put God first in their lives, worshipping no other God but God.  Many of his predecessors had honored God in word only.  Jehoshaphat was different.  His reverence of God was more that words.  It was faith declared in word and manifested by action in every regard.  Jehoshaphat used his authority to have all altars to other gods torn down.  Next, understanding he could not expect the people who didn’t know God to revere Him (and knowing God did not want a forced reverence, but a turning of individual hearts toward Him whose reverence to Him was a free will offering, not because of a law), Jehoshaphat send those who knew God into every village to teach the people about Him.

In Part Two (https://ascendinworship.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/calling-all-worshippers-part-two/ ) we  learned that when faced with impossible odds, because they knew God, the people of Judah followed Jehoshaphat to worship God in their crisis.

We continue our study to see how God answered, so we can better understand how God promises to respond when we choose to worship God in all circumstances.

Remember where we stopped.  Jehoshaphat had reminded God of the circumstances where they found themselves.  They did not know what to do. They needed God, His answer and His power to fulfill it. The people waited.

 2 CHRONICLES 20 (Amplified)

     14Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly.

Who delivered the message to Jahaziel to speak? (2 Chron 20:14)

It is important to recognize Jahaziel did not speak out his own ideas.  He spoke what follows only because the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and filled him with this message:

     15He said, Hearken, all Judah, you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you King Jehoshaphat. The Lord says this to you: Be not afraid or dismayed at this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

     16Tomorrow go down to them. Behold, they will come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the ravine before the Wilderness of Jeruel.

     17You shall not need to fight in this battle; take your positions, stand still, and see the deliverance of the Lord [Who is] with you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Fear not nor be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.

Read the message God gave all those in Judah again through the Jahaziel after the Spirit of the Lord came on him (in direct response to their worship).  What did the Lord say to King Jehoshaphat and all in Judah? (2 Chron. 20:15-17)

When God speaks, what He states is not a “maybe”, but a promise.  Everything which the Spirit of the Lord spoke through Jahaziel was God’s promise to Judah.  How impossible it all sounds!

Therefore, write it out again.  What did God instruct Judah to do and what did He promise He would do?  (2 Chronicles 20:16-17)

     18And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping Him.

     19And some Levites of the Kohathites and Korahites stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.

What did Jehoshaphat do when Jahaziel had finished delivering God’s message to Judah?  (2 Chron 20:18)

What did the Levites do when Jahaziel had finished delivering God’s message to Judah? (2 Chron 20:19)

Consider for a moment the impossible odds Judah faced concerning these three armies coming against them. What faith the people had!  First, when news came the enemy was coming against them, they did not run and hide.   When their king called them to gather to worship the Lord they came. This was because of the preparatory work Jehoshaphat had done beforehand, making sure all the people had been taught enough about God to know He was their answer in times of trouble.   If Jehoshaphat had not taught them who God was ahead of time, the people would never have gone to worship God during such a crisis.  It is likely they would have panicked and not worshipped.  They may not even have believed God could provide them with a strategy.  Even if a small remnant had understood and worshipped and God had chosen to respond with release of His strategy as He did through Jahaziel, it is probably the people would not have believed and may even have mocked those who brought the message.   It is highly doubtful they would have had faith to follow the seemingly ridiculous strategy Jahaziel expressed, even though it came from God.  But instead they believed this seemingly ridiculous strategy that they did not have to worry or fight was from God and even thanked Him for it.

     20And they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God and you shall be established; believe and remain steadfast to His prophets and you shall prosper.

What did Jehoshaphat tell the people as they went out into the Wilderness to encounter the armies who were coming against them?  (2 Chron 20:20)

     21When he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers to sing to the Lord and praise Him in their holy [priestly] garments as they went out before the army, saying, Give thanks to the Lord, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!

Who did Jehoshaphat send in front of the army into the battle?  (2 Chron 20:21)

What were they to do? (2 Chron 20:21)

Not only did Jehoshaphat believe what God had spoken through Jahaziel (though the strategy sounded ridiculou when considered with human wisdom), as a sign of faith in what God had promised to do, Jehoshaphat appointed singers to praise God (to WORSHIP HIM) in their holy garments (not wearing armor or any protection against the enemy) and had them precede the army into battle. AND THOSE APPOINTED DID IT!  If God didn’t show up as He had promised, they would surely die!  But God fulfills His promises.  Read on!

     22And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir who had come against Judah, and they were [self-] slaughtered;

     23For [suspecting betrayal] the men of Ammon and Moab rose against those of Mount Seir, utterly destroying them. And when they had made an end of the men of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.

     24And when Judah came to the watchtower of the wilderness, they looked at the multitude, and behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none had escaped!

     25When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take the spoil, they found among them much cattle, goods, garments, and precious things which they took for themselves, more than they could carry away, so much they were three days in gathering the spoil.

What did God do when the appointed worshippers began to sing and praise leading Judah into battle? (2 Chron. 20:22)

What happened to three armies bent on destroying Judah? (2 Chron 20:22-24)

What was all that remained for Judah to do?  (2 Chron 20:25)

Recall the seemingly ludicrous strategy God had delivered in response to worship by His Spirit through Jahaziel.  What was it?  (2 Chron. 20:15-17)

Did God fulfill His promise in response to their worship (due to their understanding of who He was and His superiority over all their circumstances)?  (2 Chron. 20:22-25)

     26On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah. There they blessed the Lord. So the name of the place is still called the Valley of Beracah [blessing].

     27Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, Jehoshaphat leading them, to Jerusalem with joy, for the Lord had made them to rejoice over their enemies.

     28They came to Jerusalem with harps, lyres, and trumpets to the house of the Lord.

     29And the fear of God came upon all the kingdoms of those countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel.

     30So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest round about.

On the way back from the battlefield Judah worshipped again.  To whom did Judah give credit for the victory?  (2 Chron 20:27-28)

What additional gift did God give Jehoshaphat and the kingdom of Judah in response to their faithfulness to fear Him alone, go to Him as their answer, and worship Him before battle, during and after as a sign of their complete trust in Him?  (2 Chron 20:29-30)

This story of Jehoshaphat shows how God responds to worship with release of His supernatural, sovereign, victorious power in ways beyond what we can imagine.  It shows He will do what He has said He will do.  It also demonstrates the principle that before people can go up and worship Him trusting He is the answer to every circumstance, they must know who He is.  Therefore the people must be taught about God if we expect for the people to put themselves and their nation under Him.

Selah! [Pause, and calmly think of that!]

END

Christmas is coming.  A few years ago, the Lord whispered to my heart that He wanted to be worshipped at Christmas and He showed me how many of the songs we sing beautifully tell the story of His birth and why He came, but very few actually worship Him during this festive season.  As a result in December 2009 I was in the studio beginning to record CHRISTMAS WORSHIP, which includes 7 new, original Christmas worship songs, which the Lord had me compose specifically for this project.  Please consider giving the gift of CHRISTMAS WORSHIP this Christmas.  It can be purchased at www.holyspiritpress.org or amazon.com  http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Worship-Elizabeth-Fulgaro/dp/B004D9931G/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1320069144&sr=8-2  or CDbaby.com  http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/elizabethfulgaro3.  Music clips can be heard at the CD Baby or amazon.com links.  May God receive the honor and worship He is due this Christmas season.

Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist.  She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way. 

For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org  Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro For information on her work for the military and their families please visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org   Eagles Nest Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible.

Author: Elizabeth Fulgaro

I am a God-seeker--a Jesus-worshipper--a Holy Spirit follower. I create songs, devotions, prayers, books and Bible studies to give words with which to get to know God more. For you. Its for one-on-One encounter unto transformed, transcendent living. This is not my vocation. I am not professional. I am a real, ordinary person just looking to do what God put me here to do. (You have a unique purpose too.) So I am called to the work. It is not my income source, but my gift to those who find it blessing. Eagles Nest Foundation sponsors all projects for you. The result: pure, clean spiritual nutrition to feed that deep insatiable spiritual hunger which eventually overtakes each of us and galvanizes you to the life God has for you. This life is purposeful. Exceptional. You--yes, you--are called to something greater and more satisfying in His service. So it is hoped you'll try this spiritually dense nutrition and find it to be a personal blessing. However, the goodness of God-following doesn't stop there. He uses those who seek Him to be His love and care (justice, mercy, advocate, kindness) very tangibly in the lives of those around you. Not by your power but by His. His ideas. God ideas. Not just good ideas. To be part of changing the world, if you will let Him. You learn to just follow where He leads. That if you listen, He will teach you to hear His voice and then when you obey His inner promptings you will become His incredible hands and feet in this hard world. These materials will help! They will help you aim your life towards God in a way you never look back. You will not be the same. He will become the River in your desert spaces and you will become a conduit of this same River of refreshing, replenishing Water of Life to others. Find a prayer. Pick a blog post. Read a book. Be led deeper into the Bible. Select a song which resonates and use it and use it again to go close and ever closer to the God who longs to draw you near. Oh, and don't be tempted to think I'm a crazy over-spiritualized loony...My background is financial planning and counseling. Almost 40 years of it. To choose to believe in God is not to leave practicality and reason behind, but to learn that there is that which goes beyond it and includes it, unto true life fulfillment beyond all your dreams for the one who keeps seeking Him. I am a third generation Californian. I am a person to whom family means everything. The only priority higher is God. The foothills of the Sierra Nevada are my home. It is here the 1849-1856 Gold Rush is still glorified. Easy money? Actually only for the few. Even though I was raised in the Church, it took me ten years of doubting God even existed to realize that without Him, no matter how much of this life's "stuff" is accumulated, I actually have nothing. To come to know that all those who chased after gold are dead and all those who still chase stuff will be dead. That's when I became a God-seeker. Looking for that more. And Eureka! (This is California's state slogan and means I found it.) I found God...or rather, I discovered He was there and had been there waiting for me to look for Him the whole time. May you discover more of Him for you, greater flourishing life and greater flourishing for all in the world as well. God bless you! ~Elizabeth

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