Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. (2 Chronicles 20:22)
Relate: “Stick the choir in the front.” I can imagine how quiet the war room got when that suggestion was first given. Joe stood at one end of the table covered with a map showing the positions of the axis of enemies lined up against them. Any of these three powers could possibly be handled alone but all three coming at them at once spelled doom for the little kingdom of Judah. So crowded into this room was all of Joe’s advisers along with the military generals along with a few other notables who had enough power or influence over the people that they could not be left out.
Nobody spoke or even moved the first time the suggestion was raised so Jahaziel spoke up again. “Stick the choir in the front.” Hanani, Captain of the Bodyguard snickered and opened his mouth to respond when Joe cut him off with a hand, “No. I want to hear his reasoning.”
“God has promised us the battle. In fact. He has promised that we will not even need to fight. So the real question is whether or not we will believe what He has promised.” He glanced around the room of skeptical faces and so Jahaziel plowed forward, “Wisdom says we should line up at this hill here, or here, take a defensive position and let them come at us. Wisdom also says that we don’t stand a chance and that our positions will be overrun within the hour when we do. We just don’t have the troops to cover our flanks. You have been debating which is the worst of two possible bad positions. But faith says there is a third way. If God has promised us a victory then lets trust him at His Word. Sometimes the line between faith and suicide seems an awfully thin one to walk. So what have we got to lose.”
“Everything.” Hanani couldn’t keep quiet any longer. But before he could go beyond that sarcastic remark Milcaiah, the general stepped in. “He’s right. No matter what we do, our forces just aren’t enough. But who’s to say we won’t see something like Jericho happen here. It was the trumpets that won that battle and since we don’t have any legitimate options, why not see what God can do?”
“You and I both know that is not the way God works in our times.” Zechariah the priest countered. “He might have done miracles like that in the time of Moses and Joshua but those days are past. His miracles today are more subtle. They are matters of the heart, not the parting of seas and crumbling of walls. Yes we should trust in God, but also we have a responsibility to act with wisdom.”
It seemed that his counsel was split pretty evenly down the middle and the deciding vote belonged with Joe. Ultimately, it was his choice to make anyways since this was no democracy the way we understand it. Joe was wise enough to listen to the advice of others, but he was a king. His word was law. What decision will he make? What choice would I have made if I were in his place?
React: This afternoon I am flying back home. For the past seven weeks I have been back in the States waiting for my visa issues to get sorted out. I had an opportunity to talk with a wide variety of opinions on what I am doing where I am at. It is amazing to me how different so many of those voices are now than when I first got on that plane two and a half years ago. Now I can point to so many ways God has proven Himself faithful. Now I can point to struggles but also victories I have come through in the intervening time. But two years ago, I was going to a land I had never visited, speaking a language I did not know, with no home, no job, no contacts, and no idea even what I was specifically called to do. I just knew who had called me. There were so many more voices then counseling fear masquerading as wisdom. “You really shouldn’t stick the choir out front. Bring them along, sure, but there are wiser ways to go about this.” But when those praises start…
Thank You. For the victories You have brought me through, thank You. For the victories I am yet to see, thank You. Help me always to lead with praise. Help me to always line up with faith. Help me to distinguish between the voices of wisdom and the counsel of fear. As I go back in the trenches to tear down more strongholds, let me live with a reckless abandon of victorious faith. In every battle, for all my days, let me always lead out with praise.