Give Thanks To The Lord

“Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.”

Give Thanks to the Lord - St Stephens Church A Devotional Essay by D F Raborn

I was recently at a knitting convention in Atlanta called “Stitches South” where I heard a whole lot of Southern and a whole bunch of yarns. During the Friday Night pajama party the mantra “ya git what ya git and ya don’t pitch a fit” was repeated often during the many prize giveaways.

Actually it sounds like a great reminder for the trials we experience at certain times of our life, menopause included! However, I think as we walk with Him, Jesus would like us to be more than just stoic on this journey.

On one of the legs on my return flight I sat in an empty row. WooHoo! This wintry April it seemed more were leaving than coming! I had time to read my Bible uninterrupted. I came across a fascinating story in 2nd Chronicles about King Jehoshaphat, leader of Judah in 9th century B.C., a man of great faith in the Lord. I’d always heard the expression “jumping Jehoshaphat” and the Valley of Jehoshaphat but really until I read the story in the Old Testament I didn’t understand the big picture.

In a nutshell, King Johoshaphat was coming up against 3 immense armies-the usual suspects- the Moabites; the Ammonites; and, the Army of Mount Seir- all in an effort to overtake God’s chosen people. The Lord’s loyal King Johoshaphat went to God to petition Him in the temple of Jerusalem in front of the entire assembly, organizing what we’d call a National Day of Prayer. 

First and foremost, he acknowledges God’s authority, might and power. He voices the saving grace of His Father God in Heaven. He explains fully the situation and then asks God to judge Judah’s enemies. The Holy Spirit promptly answers through Jahaziel saying “The Lord says to all: Do not be afraid or discouraged of this vast army. For the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow march against them and climb up and stand firm, taking your positions. Then watch for the deliverance the Lord will give you.” God repeats His encouragement saying, “Do not be afraid or discouraged”. He then appeals to His children again to face tomorrow, as He will be with them. The King of Judah’s response is to praise and worship His God.

The next day, with much faith and courage, Johoshaphat leads His people and army to the Desert of Tekoa where he instructs all to have faith and to praise the Lord for the splendor of His holiness. He emphasizes, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.”   2nd Chronicles 20:22-23 states ‘As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.

The men of Ammon and Moab rose up against the men of Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.’

Clearly the enemy was confounded. Maybe even befuddled. God went ahead and fought the battle for them! He inhabited their praises even as they were used to confuse the enemy.

 “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.”

Jesus told us that there would be trouble in this life. He told us not to be afraid and that He would be with us. Very 21st century stuff!

Antoinette Tuff of Atlanta had the day off as bookkeeper and clerk at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy, a school with 800 children. Until she was called in at the last moment. And then put in the front reception desk.  On August 20th, 2013 she came face to face with a man with an assault rifle on a mission to kill. He was off his ‘meds’ and in bad shape. She, herself, had been walking with the Lord amidst a sea of troubles. 

For months now she’d been going to bed with praise music and waking up early to read her Bible. She felt comfort and peace. Antoinette Tuff lived out her most important moments being true to her name as she used her God-given empathy and a close relationship with her Lord to talk down a very volatile situation. Her faith allowed God in to fight this battle. With her, for her, and for the thousands gracefully affected.

In her book Prepared for a Purpose, Ms Tuff says and I quote:

“Like everyone, I’ve had my share of struggles. There were times I felt I couldn’t bear the misery & desperation. But, I was being prepared.”

“We must speak life into a situation, if we want God to be seen.”

“On Aug 20, when I asked God, ‘what are we going to do now?’ I already had my answer. God was going to lead me besides still waters.”

 “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.”

Little 9- year old Willie Myrick was kidnapped from his southwest Atlanta driveway earlier this month. Trouble found him at a young age. His parents had always taken him to Church and he loved Sunday school. He especially loved Hezekiah Walker’s latest gospel song, “Every Praise”. So much so that Willie sang it for 3 solid hours while his kidnapper drove him around the city of Atlanta. This is Willie’s favorite song and he was stuck on it. He used it, whether intentionally or not, to confound his enemy.

God inhabited his praises and used a worship song to drive the enemy around the bend. It worked! After 3 non-stop hours of praising, praising, and more praising, Willie Myrick was literally thrown out of the car!  Still singing ‘Every Praise’!  

 “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.”

So as we allow God to inhabit our praises please remember that the battle is not ours, but God’s.

And a jumpin’ Johoshaphat joyous day to all as we watch Hezekiah Walker’s ‘Every Praise’ video! Please feel free to jump in place at your seat! Interestingly enough, Hezekiah jumps right out of the pages of 11th century B.C.

by DFRaborn BA,  04/23/14