SUNDAY SERMON: 4 keys to guaranteed victory
*Praise is your guaranteed key to success
2Chronicles 20:1-30 (NIV)
The children of Israel were completely outnumbered by the invading army of three nations. Verse 3 tells us King Jehoshaphat feared (he was alarmed). It is natural to be alarmed in the face of any kind of attack or crisis particularly one that is life-threatening. But he did what most people don’t do first.
- He sought help from God, not man. He resolved to enquire of the Lord and led the people to seek help from God. He fasted and prayed. He spoke to God rather than people.
We are going to most believe what we most rehearse.
We rehearse our defeat or impending defeat each time we tell our story to others. Mostly we tell our story only to people who cannot help. The best they can do is to sympathize with you.
- He had a sound knowledge of God. Those who know their God shall be strong and they shall do exploits (Daniel 11:32b).
- Prophetic direction. He magnified God rather than the enemy. He began His prayer by praising God: verse 6, “O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.”
He got a prophetic word encouraging him to be strong and promising them the presence of the Lord (v14-17). And how do you get the presence of the Lord? Praise!
Most people don’t hear anything from God in their hour of need because all they do is complain and murmur and cry. Winning strategies are given only to those who follow heaven’s protocol – praise!
- Intentional praise. He organized the people to give God intentional praise. “21After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.” Look at the result in verses 22-23: “22As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 23The men of Ammon and Moab rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.” It was praise that provoked divine intervention. Praise is a battle strategy that never fails.
Your victory is in the presence of the Lord. Your breakthrough is in the presence of the Lord. You will not need to fight; God will fight for you but how will God fight when God is not present? Jehoshaphat knew how to bring down the presence of God. God inhabits the praises of Israel. If you want Him, praise Him.
- Jesus gave thanks at the grave of Lazarus – he (Lazarus) was raised from the dead.
- All He was recorded to have done was give thanks to God, bread multiplied! A boy’s lunch fed thousands. The Master was giving us the winning strategy.
- How did they praise God? (v 19) with a very loud voice.
Praise is your guaranteed key to success
In this scripture we see two types of praise:
- Praise before the victory and
- Praise after the victory. (v27-28) 27Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the LORD had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. 28They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lutes and trumpets
Most people have no problem praising God after the victory but heaven’s protocol begins and ends with praise. Only those who celebrate God before the battle and in the battle celebrate their victory over their enemies.
Until you learn how to celebrate God, you will not have many victories to celebrate. We must learn to give God intentional praise in all circumstances. You can’t celebrate God and not be celebrated.
The Beauty of Holiness
The Hebrew word used here is qo’desh which means sacred, hallowed. To be holy means to be invested with extreme purity. They were praising the beauty – splendor (magnificence, finery, brilliance, majesty, grandeur, luxury) of holiness. They were filled with admiration of His presence. They praised Him like He was there; like He is alive!
It also means to be set apart for God. It means to be sanctified, to belong exclusively to God. It means to be consecrated and devoted to God. The Bible says you are not your own, you are bought with a price. You belong to God and He guards you jealously.
My wife belongs to me; to mess with her means to mess with me. My junior brother beat up the junior sister of one of my mates who was a year older than me. When the matter was reported to him, he decided not to touch my junior brother but to take revenge on me. Because He was the reigning local champion then, I disappeared each time I saw him coming so that he will not beat me up. Until one day when I wanted to disappear my uncle grabbed me and said I was going nowhere. I did not know he had been watching me disappear each time the young man was approaching. That day I was forced to stand and fight. My uncle told me I could beat the boy and that he was standing by me. That was all I needed. My heart was pounding but I was able to beat the boy and was crowned the new champion. You have an unfair advantage: God is with you. You can’t lose the fight! You are about to be crowned the new champion!!
They were also celebrating their covenant relationship with God. The beauty of holiness is that whatever touches you touches God. Whoever fights you fights God. God is on your side and that is a big deal! You cannot belong to God and lose. God cannot be on your side and you are defeated. You cannot take what belongs to God and go free. God fights for that which is holy. Achan took the ‘holy thing’; God went after him: he and his family were destroyed. The Bible says touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm. Why? Because they are holy; they belong to God! He reproves kings for the sake of those He has chosen for Himself.
The Bible tells us that God is glorious in holiness and fearful in praises; doing wonders. Celebrate your covenant relationship and the God of the covenant; and watch Him do wonders on your behalf!