Scripture Reading: 2 Chronicles 18:28-21:3 / 1 Corinthians 15:35-49 / Psalm 102:12-17
Mountaintops are used as an analogy for wonderful and exhilarating experiences in life. Those are times when we are on top of the world and life is unobstructed by any challenges. We can see for miles when on a mountaintop; the intensity of the sun and the crisp air add to the serenity of life.
Valleys are often referred to as difficult, trying and dark places in life. Times when life is obstructed, where the sun doesn’t shine and darkness prevails. Valleys are places of pain, hurt, loneliness, hopelessness and confusion. The goal is to get out of the valley, not live in it.
Of great interest is a valley that we read about here in 2 Chronicles 20. It was not a typical valley of defeat but a place where Jehoshaphat and all of Judah celebrated the victory of God calling it “the Valley of Beracah” or “the Valley of Praise.” (20:20) One of the most remarkable battles was fought in this valley…a battle where Judah did not have to lift a battle cry or a sword!
The Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites came with a vast army to war against Judah. Jehoshaphat called all of Judah to fast and seek the face of God for deliverance. Their prayer recognized the greatness, power of God and the inheritance that He gave to Israel. They could cry out to God in their time of distress knowing God would hear and save them.
God responded with this promise, “You will find them at the end of the gorge… You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you.” (20:16,17) Early the next day, Jehoshaphat led the troops to battle but appointed singers to precede the army praising God’s splendor and holiness saying, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.” (20:21)
If you would want to defeat your enemy, you would not announce your coming with singing and have those singers lead the charge into battle. But God…had a miraculous strategy because Judah displayed a miraculous faith. Before Judah arrived, fighting broke out in the enemy’s camp as the Moabites and Ammonites rose up and slaughtered the Meunites. They then turned on one another and every man was killed. When Judah came to the gorge, they found this vast enemy army lying dead and scattered all over the ground.
This valley of darkness, hopelessness and certain defeat was turned into a place of praise and thanksgiving! Praise preceded their battle and praise concluded their victory…all without personal conflict or loss. God is still faithful to us today; even in our valleys…let’s turn them into valleys of praise!
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!