The Valley Of Praise

Valley of Praise.png

I can’t believe I’m writing this. I have too much to do. Two days away at a conference. Twenty-four hours of worship about to start tomorrow. Get ready for my message on Sunday (without googling one). Oh ya… be a pastor as well. Now this blog too?

But what I happened to read in my devotions today compelled me to write this in light of what we are about to launch into tomorrow with our Day and Night of Worship event.

It’s a message I should really be taking time to unpack and share as a sermon, but I can’t hold it back. The text is 2Chronicles 20. The king of Judah (Jehoshaphat) is about to have a ‘vast army’ come to engage with him. Alarmed, he goes to God. Actually, verse four says the whole nation of Judah sought God.

One of the Levites (tribe of priests) says is verse 15 that “the battle is not yours, but God’s” (that in itself is another message). That’s not the good part that jumped out at me. Read this…

“After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendour of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: ‘Give thanks to the Lord for his love endures forever.’

“As 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.” (vv. 21-22 NIV)

Here’s the thing: “Praise precedes promotion.” The victory came because they recognized that regardless of what things ‘looked’ like, it was God’s battle to win, thus their reason to praise Him.

Even more, the place where all the dead laid lying after the victory was called the “Valley of Beracah – the ‘Valley of Praise’.”

Oh man, I’m excited!!!! It does not matter what may be facing you in that valley right now… the movement against you may seem like a ‘vast army’… but it’s not YOUR battle… it’s HIS! And your role? You are called to praise… praise Him for His splendour, His holiness, His love that endures forever!

Tomorrow we are no different than King Jehoshaphat. We recognize that in order to move forward in victory, we will praise the One who has defeated the enemy, and will continue to do so.

In the valley we face, we will witness His praise!!!!

At least that’s how I see it,

 

 

C

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“I Did It My Way” Wasn’t A Worship Song

frank sinatra

A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. (John 4:23 NIV)

I don’t think “Ol’ Blue Eyes” would have gotten very far with that song had it been written for the church. Not sure that Hillsongs would have picked it up for their album or if you’d see many of the Southern Gospel quartets belting it out on any of the recent Gaither videos. Seems to almost be the antithesis of what worship is really supposed to be about.

But Jesus was addressing an issue with the woman in this passage. The Samaritans were trying to worship God the way that ‘they’ felt comfortable doing. They wanted to place God through the filter of ‘their’ form of religious practice, not actually place ‘themselves’ through the filter of God’s desire.

We can often put limits on how often, how deep, and how sincere we enter into times of worship. We tell God that we’ll give Him ‘this’ and ‘that’… but we won’t worship Him ‘here’ and ‘there’.

And there lies the dilemma of our encounters with God. The moment that we dictate how we plan on expressing our worship to God… then ‘we’ control the worship… which then doesn’t become really effective worship at all. For when we hold back on giving Him His worth, aren’t we therefore calling the shots on what is acceptable or not for Him? Are we no better than a woman at a side of a well saying that ‘their’ way was better… even if it didn’t find support in the Bible?

I pray that all of our worship this week, however it is expressed, is firmly and deeply rooted in the desire to know Him more, pursue His Presence more, and sincerely express to Him just how Great He is… not how it best fits us… but how it best glorifies Him.

At least that’s how I see it,

Craig