“Why would an all-powerful God need people to worship Him?” Someone asked me once. At first that question seemed to make sense, and I didn’t know how to answer it other than to say that God doesn’t need our worship because He is God, but that didn’t quite seem complete. Quite a few years later I can honestly say I know how to answer that question now. He doesn’t need our worship; rather it is us who need to worship God. Let’s look at how God uses worship in the Bible to have a better understanding. If you’re a Discovery Time volunteer and were at the fall training session you will have heard this already, but while seeking the Lord on what to share with you this month, He brought this devotion back to my mind. Let’s look at 2 Chronicles 20 to see what I mean.
Jehoshaphat is told that a great army is coming against the Israelites. This is a tremendous problem, one that not only affects him but the people of Judah. His response is to inquire of the Lord, proclaim a fast for all the people, then stand up in the assembly and declare who God is. Instead of panicking and freaking out wondering, “what am I going to do?”, Jehoshaphat looks to God for the answers. He is a wise man and knows who to seek to make wise choices.
Wouldn’t the weight of our problems be lifted if we could just do the same? Especially before making any decisions. I am good at going to God for answers, it’s the waiting and doing exactly what He tells me to do that I need work on. After seeking the Lord, Jehoshaphat grows in confidence and is able to stand up in front of the assembly and remind them of who God is. I love that! I don’t know about you, but when I am in a situation I want instant answers, but if I can stop looking at the problem long enough to gaze upon God, then I remember who He is, what He has already done and is doing for me right now.
Problems provide opportunity for our faith muscles to grow, as we choose to trust God to do what we cannot. What I find interesting here is that Jehoshaphat only now tells God the problem and asks for help. It’s like seeking the Lord till now meant just being in His presence and getting his focus right. The Spirit of the Lord then comes upon Jahaziel who tells him, “do not be afraid . . . and the battle is not yours but God’s.” God does not want us to be worried or anxious about anything. He wants us to use these difficult times to show us that He is in control and that He will not only fight the battle for us but remind us that it is not our battle to begin with.
In verse 17, they are told what to do and where to go and instructed to “stand firm.. see the deliverance the Lord will give you.” Then they worshipped the Lord, praised the Lord with a very loud voice. Here is our proper response to the Lord for fighting our battles. I don’t know if you’ve ever done it, but I strongly urge you to try it. Something wonderful happens when I shout praises to my God. We don’t seem to have a problem sending a shout out to our favorite sports team or band; why not make a shout to the Lord and give Him the praise He is due? Your praises tell God that you trust Him, that you believe in Him to do what He said He will do, even before He has done it. Psalm 98:4 says, “Shout to the Lord, all the earth;
break out in praise and sing for joy!” Your praise proclaims your faith.
Then Jehoshaphat appoints the men to “sing and praise Him at the head of the army.
As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Amon.” Verse 22
God didn’t need the praises of His people to defeat the army, the people of Judah needed to show their enemy that their trust was in the Lord. Worshipping Him before the battle declared their faith in God to save them, both to God and to the enemy before them. Worship is choosing to set aside the fear of what lies before us and submit our voice and heart to the One who alone is worthy of our praise.
— Laura Lawrence