Thank God in Advance
By Rick Warren
— May 26, 2013
"The king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: 'Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!'" (2 Chronicles 20:21 NLT)
In 2 Chronicles 20:21, King Jehoshaphat had a very unusual way of organizing an army: "The king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: 'Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!'" (NLT)
Jehoshaphat’s battle plan was to put a choir before the infantry. Patton would have fainted! Picture this: On one side are the three enemy armies amassed to do battle against Israel. Then there’s the valley where they’re going to do battle. Then there are the lowly Israelites. Jehoshaphat says, “We’re going to take those who sing and make a choir out of you and put you in front of the army as you march into battle.”
There’s a very important truth here: The Israelites were thanking God in advance for the victory. Praise and thanksgiving are verbalized faith. If you thank God after the fact, that’s gratitude. If you thank God before it happens, that’s faith.
Notice the effect of praise in verses 22 and 23: “When they began to sing, the Lord threw the invading armies into a panic. The Ammonites and the Moabites attacked the Edomite army and completely destroyed it, and then they turned on each other in savage fighting" (GNT). God confused the enemy, and they turned on each other and destroyed themselves while the Israelites looked on. There is power in expectation.
You know that insurmountable problem in your life — the one with the odds stacked against you? When are you going to start thanking God for it? After it’s all solved? If so, that’s called gratitude. How about thanking God now, while you’re in the problem or see it coming at you? That is faith.
When you allow God to solve your problems, it becomes a testimony to unbelievers. The world takes notice when the Christian lives by faith. And, God loves to demonstrate his power in those who expect him to work in their lives.
Are you facing a difficult circumstance this week? Do you feel like the odds are against you? Do you think your problem is overwhelming? What do you do? You turn to God — Jehovah Nissi, the God who defends you.
Talk It Over
For what do you need to thank God in advance today?
How can you show your unbelieving friends and family that you are trusting God to solve your problems? What does that kind of faith in you look like to other people?