August 12

2 Chronicles 20:21-22 (NIV) 21After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: "Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever." 22As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.

Yesterday we read about the people waiting upon God and getting His instructions on how to face the vast army coming against them. They believed and began to obey God. Jehoshaphat consulted with the people to see if they had the faith to put singers out front. Apparently they liked the idea. Since they truly believed that God was going to fight the battle and deliver them, they thought they might as well sing His praise for the splendor of His holiness on the way there. This huge men's choir sang the same chorus that was sung at the dedication of the Temple. It must have been the national anthem of Judah.

If you ever attended a Promise Keeper event and heard ten thousands of men sing praises to God, you have a taste of what this must have been like. The praise was not a part of the LORD's instruction, but it was a natural response when they believed He was delivering them from their enemy. As they sang, the LORD turned the enemy upon one another. There was not one enemy soldier left alive. Judah took three days to gather all the spoils of war. There was more than they could carry away. On the fourth day they held a great praise festival at the Valley of Praise.

The people's response to God's word in the face of a major threat upon their lives is an example to us. They didn't mope around or complain and whine, instead, they sang their thanks to God for who He is.

Consider: It is often in the midst of an expression of faith that the LORD delivers us from the thing we fear.

August 12

Romans 6:21-23 (NIV) 21What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Every person has experienced what it is like to be a slave of sin. Some mask the treachery better than others, but whether you are an adulterer or someone who thinks hateful thoughts toward a person, you have experienced sin's control. Some of our choices under the dominion of sin were actually pleasurable for a time, but eventually we tasted of the death that came with them. The promise never measured up to the final experience, so we kept searching for something more, each thing leaving us, again, with the taste of death.

In Christ, we can break free from that cycle. We can choose the things of God that lead to life and fulfillment. Instead of ending with death, our actions can result in life. We want more and more, because we are increasingly blessed. We step into holiness and we desire more holiness. Unlike sin, the deeper you go, the more alive you are.

Here is the sum of the Apostle Paul's argument. A life enslaved to sin pays you with death. Work for the devil and you will get his reward. Your spirit will be void of life. Darkness and emptiness is what you will earn. But God freely gives life eternal in Christ Jesus our Lord. Earn death, or receive eternal life. Everyone must make the choice.

We make it once, but we also make it on a daily basis. Every day that Jesus is our Master (Lord), we experience eternal life. Every time we let sin control us, we experience death. Make the decision for life, but make it everyday also.

Prayer: Lord, be the Master of my thoughts, my actions, and my words. Help me walk in You, in life, today, that others might see You.