FILLING IN THE GAP
I know 2 Chronicles 20 is a familiar passage for many, specifically for those on worship teams. You know—it's the one where the singers went ahead of the army, sang, and the battle was won.
But before you accuse me of being cliché and unoriginal (for a post on a worship blog), have you ever stopped to wonder why worship was highlighted as so important to the outcome of that battle?
A lot happened leading up to that epic scene. They found out someone was coming to attack them, they sought God together as a community through prayer and fasting, God responded to them through a prophet telling them that He would deliver them and they would not have to fight, and then they went out to the battle.
What might be overlooked, because this passage is so tied in to and associated with worship, is that God never specifically said anywhere to send out singers in front of the army. His only instruction was this:
"Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you" (2 Chronicles 20:15-17, NLT).
Cool promise, albeit a little vague.
So, they found themselves with a little bit of a gap to fill. They were standing in that space between receiving God's assurance of victory and actually seeing it come to pass, and it did not come with a lot of specific instruction on what to actually do in the meantime. I'm sure confusion and speculation in the camp ensued after God's answer came. It would have been easy to worry and focus on all the things they did not know about the situation.
But at some point along the way, King Jehoshaphat made a decision. He didn't know how it would happen, but he knew that God would come through and win this battle for them. So he decided to send out singers to begin praising God and reminding everyone of His faithfulness to them. I imagine he might have been thinking to himself, "Well, while we're waiting to see how God is going to make this thing happen, and since we don't know what else to do, we might as well start celebrating and declaring to all (and reminding ourselves) how great He is!"
We see that worship wasn't part of the script to follow, it was aresponse to God's goodness to them and the promise He gave them. It was an acknowledgement that He was the one that would make this happen and not them. In that moment, they chose to focus on who God was and trust Him instead of all the unknowns they were facing. In the story, it says that as they began to sing and praise (not before), the Lord set ambushes against the men and defeated them. This action was God's response to their act of faith.
As we face our own battles, we will find ourselves standing in that same space between believing God's promise about something and seeing how it will come to pass. We have a choice on how we will fill in that gap—we can worry or we can worship. Worship reminds us of who God is and what He can do, and worry reminds us of all the unknowns and that we can't see how it will work out. Worship ignites faith and brings God’s promises to life. Worry ignites fear and feeds the lies of the enemy. Worship thinks about God, and worry thinks about self. When we fill in the gap with worship, it becomes a powerful weapon of warfare used to defeat the enemy, and God gets the glory.
Will you fill in the gap with worship or worry?
*If you want more encouragement on this topic, listen to my message on worship as warfare (link text). I shared some personal application about my son's autism diagnosis last fall and how we battle through the worry to get to the worship!