Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand.
Psalm 149 speaks of "the high praises of God" in the same breath as "a two-edged sword." Of course , we are dealing here not with weapons of carnal warfare, but with putting our words into action by boldly going on the offensive of faith - by acting on the promises of the God we praise.
Let us turn to the dramatic scene in 2 Chronicles 20. King Jehoshaphat, undermanned and relatively powerless, has been brought word that "a great multitude is coming aganst you" (20:2). This text gives direction on what can be done in such moments; something besides reigning to a passive prayer for strength. There are four action steps - four ways to take up the sword of praise.
1) The king proclaimed a FAST (2 Chronicles 20:3). Is fasting foreign to your experience? Don't let it be. Fasting is an aggressive way to affirmed the promised power of the spirit over the flesh. It is an explicit way to reinforce the priority of prayer and to seek God throughout each day. When facing crucial battles such as the one that confrnted Jehoshaphat, be ready to deny the flesh as a sign that your trust is not in human energy but in the power of the Spirit.
2) The king and the people PRAYED (2 Chronicles 20:6). And while their prayer confessed that "we have no power" (2 Chronicles 20:12), it wasn't a "poor me" prayer! In stead of whinning, their prayer roared, ascribing to God power and authority over the enemy. Such a prayer of petition is admittedly prayed out of deep need, but it nonetheless boldly affirms God's power within His will.
3) There was also a REMEMBRANCE OF GOD'S WORK in history (2 Chronicles 20:7). With praise they remembered the story of God's people - the Exodus from Egypt, God's care in the wilderness, the conquest of Canaan. Remembering is a mighty source of confidence that God is able and will again deliver and save. Reviewing testimonies at the Lord's Table is a great way for us to remember His tender mercies and enduring love.
4) There was a PROPHETIC UTTERANCE (2 Chronicles 20:14-17). We must be open to the Holy Spirit's prophetic word among us as a people. He's still assuring us, "The battle is not yours, but God's! (2 Chronicles 20:15) and He will faithfully unfold God's will for us to our own immediate situations.
Ultimately threatening situations call for an uncommonly strong response: taking up a two-edged sword in a spiritual sense - aggressively trusting God, forcefully throwing ourselves at His feet in worship, and boldly brandishing the spiritual weapons Jehoshaphat used. They still work to put doubt and fear and anxiety to flight.
PRAISE is not passive. It can be our boldest stand against the threats of the enemy.
Blessings - TPWC