Tag Archives: war

An Army Of Choirboys!?!

If you live in the United States, you’re probably as worn out by our overseas wars as me.

But how would you respond if you learned that our military tried a new approach. Instead of sending the infantry into battle, they were sending in the Army choir?

You’d laugh, wouldn’t you?

You might want to reconsider your response.

Please join us as we discuss this on today’s daily Bible conversation.

TODAY’S READING

2 Chronicles 19:1-20:37
Romans 10:14-11:12
Psalm 21:1-13
Proverbs 20:4-6

INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS

2 Chronicles 19:1-20:37. The beginning of chapter 19 offers us something that its parallel in 2 Kings does not: God (through Jehu) chastises King Jehoshaphat for making an alliance with evil King Ahab. Note to self: be discriminating about the alliances you make with people who have different values than yours.

Despite his lack of judgment concerning Ahab, King Jehoshaphat impresses me by the way he called the people of Judah to seek God’s intervention when they were about to be attacked.

God’s answer? “The battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15)

Romans 10:14-11:12. After explaining how we can be eternally forgiven and saved, Paul drives home an important point: this is all good and fine, but it doesn’t do the world any good unless we share it.

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?

Romans 10:14–15

He further explains that “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). In an age where sharing our faith is politically incorrect, Paul reminds us that people don’t find Jesus on their own. They need you and me.

Then he quotes from Isaiah 52:7, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” The message God has given us isn’t a message of condemnation, it’s good news! Through Jesus, God has made salvation available to everyone.

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THE WORD MADE FRESH

Judah was on the verge of being attacked. Instead of rallying the troops, King Jehoshaphat called his subjects together to seek God. Then, after conferring together, they chose what may be the most unconventional approach to warfare in world history.

At the head of his troops, Jehoshaphat sent a choir of men singing praises to God.

Bible scholars don’t know what to do with this passage because it attributes too much “magical” power to the men’s songs. Believe it or not, most Bible scholars find it hard to acknowledge the supernatural power of God.

But not me.

I’m always on the lookout for spiritual formulas because they not only place God in a box, but they also reduce him into a manageable deity whom we think we can control.

But I do think Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah were on to something.

Something powerful takes place when we choose to praise God with our lips and in our hearts.

  • Depending on the translation you read, Psalm 22:3 tells us that God inhabits the praises of his people.
  • Praise brings our perspective into alignment with God’s. I blogged about this on April 1. Look for my comments on Psalm 73 in “A Matter Of Perspective” [https://bibleconversation.wordpress.com/2010/04/01/the-best-business-perk/]
  • Praise repels the forces of darkness. Would you like to listen to someone extolling the glories of Satan? Of course not! And neither do the forces of darkness. Praise is akin to turning a giant spotlight on the prince of darkness.
  • When Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in jail, they prayed and sang hymns to God. And what happened? Their chains came loose and their prison doors swung wide open.

I think I see a pattern emerging!

And if you read the rest of Jehoshaphat’s story, you know that God miraculously delivered the armies of Judah—and they didn’t even lift a sword in battle.

If you’re facing a difficult or painful challenge right now, perhaps the best action you can take is to praise God.

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

2 Chronicles 20:21

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. What spoke to you in today’s reading?
  2. When you face a challenge, what is your natural response? Why does it come so naturally to you?
  3. Describe a time when you chose to voice your praise to God in the midst of a difficult situation. What happened? What did you learn?

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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.

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Living a Better Story

Jack Bauer, of TV’s 24, has nothing on this guy. Facing a much bigger, better armed, and more experienced army, Jonathan says to his his armor-bearer (Jonathan’s version of Cloe), “Trust me!” Then just the two of them climb a cliff, swords and shields strapped to their backs, and route an entire outpost of fierce Philistines. They kill twenty warriors in a bloody battle that covers a half acre of ground.

God gives Jonathan a surprising victory. Then God uses His trademark “confusion maneuver” and panics the bigger potion of the Philistine army and through a faithful few the nation is saved.

Wouldn’t it be nice if life always turned out that way? But it doesn’t, except on TV. Yet with God we can live a better story, better even than on TV.

Eugene C. Scott joins Mike in writing A Daily Bible Conversation twice a week.

TODAY’S READING (click here to view today’s reading online)

1 Samuel 13:23-14:52

John 7:30-53

Psalm 109:1-31

Proverbs 15:5-7

INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS

John 7:30-53: When Jesus is present people must react or respond. In this section the Pharisees get fearful and angry; others are intrigued; some try to explain him away; the guards try to control him; Nicodemus shows love. How is it we react and respond to the presence of Christ in our lives?

Psalm 109: The Psalms are filled with prayers for protection against enemies. Our day-to-day worlds do not reflect the same kind of danger from and presence of enemies as those of the Psalmists. But we do face an Enemy and people and institutions that, if not opposing us, do not have our best interest in mind. I find it helpful to think of these, sometimes, more subtle evils when I pray psalms such as Psalm 109.

If you’ve found A Daily Bible Conversation helpful, share it with your friends. Forward your daily email or send them a link to the website: www.bibleconversation.com.

THE WORD MADE FRESH

Jonathan returns from his major victory not to a celebration for his faith and bravery. Instead he is critiqued and faces a death sentence and only narrowly escapes his father having him killed because the army intervenes. Scripture doesn’t tell us how Jonathan felt about this turn of events. I think I can guess. We do know, though, that no matter how he felt, he does not lose his faith.

Jonathan is one of my favorite biblical characters. His faith, wisdom, bravery, faithfulness, and moral center shine out like a beacon in just a few verses. Oh that my life could strike such a powerful note in so brief a song. I love Jonathan. His story is so encouraging.

  • Jonathan never betrays his God, or his friend, David, despite intense pressure from his father the king. This loyalty eventually costs him the throne and his life.
  • Jonathan’s story could have ended after his stunning victory (happy ending) or with his father killing him (crummy ending). Instead God keeps the story going and uses Jonathan’s faith and loyalty to protect David and keep the lineage of Jesus alive (a better story).
  • When God is the Author, our stories never end the way we hope–or fear–they will.
  • God turns Jonathan’s story into a better story–a life filled with small, firm decisions God uses as redemptive turning points.

With God as the Author of my story I can live a better one like Jonathan did. And maybe in that better story I can give my hopes and fears to God, and I can stand strong when pressed to give up, and just maybe Christ can use my life too.

  1. How does Jonathan’s story encourage you?
  2. Do you see a theme in these four readings?
  3. Who is your favorite biblical character?

If you’re reading this blog on Facebook and you’d like to join the conversation, click here. www.bibleconversation.com.

Eugene co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, CO and writes a blog eugenesgodsightings.blogspot.com

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