Tuesday, August 2, 2016

How Can I Say Thanks

*A continuation of that thankful series that I started and kind of left hanging when blogging slipped to the back burner...again ;)*


When Jehoshaphat was king, the armies of the Moabites and Ammonites, and the Meunites, were invading. The people of Israel heard of it beforehand, but not with enough time to spare to make an effective counterattack, by the world's terms. But King Jehoshaphat knew the Lord was on their side. He called for fasting and prayer, and they sought the Lord's power to save.

And the Lord gave them an answer through one of his priests. In essence... they didn't need to make any battle plans, because the Lord had them. They just needed to take their army to the appointed place, trusting in the Lord, without fear, and watch him work. He promised salvation to the nation of Israel.

I don't know about you, but I would probably ask for a clearer plan for that. And I would probably give in to fears about how everything was going to work out. But what did the Israelites do? They worshiped the Lord. They praised the Lord "with a very loud voice".

And the next morning, early, promptly, they headed out to do as God had told them. King Jehoshaphat reminded them to keep trusting in their Lord. And then he chose a group to go ahead of the army, singing praises to God for his steadfast love.

"And when they began to sing and praise, the LORD set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another." 2 Chronicles 20:22-23.

At the moment that they began to sing of the Lord's love, He set other armies against those coming to destroy the Israelites. Maybe they thought the Moabites were coming to get them, rather than the Israelites. Maybe they just simply hated these armies, or loved the glory of winning a war. Whatever their human reasoning was for going out to meet this army was, the truth was, the Lord stirred them up to go save his people who were trusting and praising him.

And the armies of Israel went home, praising the Lord, and came into the city with trumpets and praise!

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The Psalmist says, in Psalm 34:1, "I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth."

A grateful heart spilling over, bringing an offering of praise to our Lord. But how important is it that that praise be voiced aloud? 

Think of all the ways that telling of the mercies of the Lord will benefit all of us; speaking them will solidify their memory in our mind, and make us more mindful of the blessing they are. Sharing them will encourage other believers to praise Him with us, and to give thought to the blessings they have been given. It will be a witness to unbelievers that our God is powerful and worthy to be praised, that we delight in being His.

Think about times you have been grateful to someone for something they did for you. Did that thanks do them any good before you voiced it? How about the last time that someone gave you a thank you? Do you really wish that they would have kept it to themselves? Why should we not give our Lord the same kind of honor, just because, "Oh, he reads my thoughts. He'll know I was grateful, anyway." "Your Father knows what you need before you ask him" (Matthew 6:8), but he still wants us to come before him and admit that we have a need only He can fill. He wants our praise, as well, even if He already knows we appreciate the gifts.

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"May the Lord, the God of your fathers... bless you!" Deuteronomy 1:11