Praise and a grateful heart go hand-in-hand.  These two qualities made the difference in the outcome of one of Judah’s greatest battles. The story goes like this: King Jehoshaphat discovered Judah was about to be attacked by the combined armies of two pagan nations. The enemy horde wanted to wipe Judah off the map, and so Jehoshaphat held a kingdom-wide prayer meeting. God gave His assurance He would take care of the situation.

But the story doesn’t end there. Judah’s problem wasn’t instantly solved. Something still needed to be done about the advancing enemy host. Don’t you think they should have sharpened their weapons in the event of imminent confrontation with the enemy? That is not what God instructed Jehoshaphat to do. He simply said, “Set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you.” Nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing else.

Early the next morning, King Jehoshaphat encouraged his people and then assembled a choir to go before the army and sing praises to the Lord. Once they started rejoicing, God wrought a great victory.

Every circumstance gives us occasion to thank God. You may praise Him because things are not as bad as they could be. You may rejoice because God is using the situation to draw you closer to Him. Or you might be grateful in anticipation of the blessing God has promised at the end of your trial. Praise to God is essential for victory.

God has given us assurance of His presence and deliverance in our deepest trials, yet too often we wait with fear and impatience. We say we’ll praise Him once He answers our prayers and solves our problems. Why not praise Him and experience victory now? Don’t let the uncertainty of your future delay your victory. God wants to hear you sing today.

God often takes a course for accomplishing His purposes directly contrary to what our narrow views would prescribe. He brings a death upon our feelings, wishes, and prospects when He is about to give us the desire of our hearts. — John Newton

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.