We are all taught to say thank you to someone after they do something for us. Those two little words “thank you” reflect a polite expression of gratitude, or when used as “no thank you,” usually imply a polite refusal. Regardless of the context, we say thank you to someone after the fact. When is the last time you said thank you to someone in advance, or before something happens?
Today we want to look at the difference between praise and thanksgiving as it relates to God. We will begin with this statement – We offer thanksgiving to God for who He is and we offer praise for what He has done (or will do). Let us look at a passage in the Bible where God was thanked (praised) in advance.
We turn to 2 Chronicles chapter 20. The fourth king of the Kingdom of Judah, Jehoshaphat, was ready to go into battle against the Moabites and the Ammonites. He needed to come up with his battle plan and here we have Jehoshaphat sitting in his central command post with all his top military brass and the plan he comes up with is to send out a choir in advance of the army. We are sure the military leaders must have said, “You have got to be joking! Three armies are ready to destroy us and you want to send out a choir?” Here is what we read in 2 Chronicles 20:21 – “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.”
Here we see God being praised in advance of a victory. King Jehoshaphat had faith, before the battle began, that God would deliver his people from defeat. Verses 22 and 23 tell us that this singing totally confused the enemy armies and they turned against one another and destroyed themselves.
So today, even if you see the odds being stacked against you, can you praise God before the battle comes, or while you are in the middle of the battle? Can you sing a victory song before the battle has begun? If you can, that is real faith! Giving God thanks (gratitude) after the battle is always is a good thing, but faith in action comes by praising God in advance of what He will do! God loves to demonstrate His power in and through those who expect Him to work.
Dear Father, please grant us all the gift of faith that can sing victory songs before the battle has begun? Give us faith that praises you before the miracle comes! Father, we come thanking You for increased faith in the days ahead. Amen
New Bern, North Carolina