King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah were invaded by a large army of Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites. Deeply worried, the King led the people in fasting and prayer before the LORD. At the meeting, Jahaziel prophesied that the LORD himself would fight the battle for them. When the Judeans went out to meet the invading army, Jehoshaphat put the Temple singers in front of his forces. They sang, “Give thanks to the LORD! His faithful love will last forever.” At the very moment they began to sing and praise the LORD the events of our verses for today came to pass.
One of the many interesting details of this story is that Jehoshaphat put the Temple singers at the head of the Judeans and the invading armies started to destroy themselves when they began their songs of praise. The apparent point of this detail is that it was the priority the Judeans placed on praise which moved God to fight on their behalf.
This detail reminds us of another story on the priority of praise. Acts 16 tells the story of Paul and Silas in prison. Although they had been beaten severely, they prayed and sang songs to God. At that very moment an earthquake shook the prison. The doors of the prison opened up and the chains on all the prisoners fell off. Praise moved God to act once again.
So, have we finally discovered the religious ritual that will move the heavens on our behalf? Get some singers, crank up the band, and watch the trouble melt away! God, of course, cannot be controlled or manipulated—even with praise. He is the sovereign LORD over all. You can’t force Him to do anything.
Nevertheless, the point of these stories is that praise and worship should have a place of priority in the midst of our troubles. Before we do anything else, we should give praise and worship to the LORD. God is pleased with those who turn to Him first.
There is great power in praise and worship. They are not mere formalities.