I call it the Jehoshaphat Principle.
Don Francisco sings this stunning little song about it.
Merlin Carothers was a prison chaplain who wrote excellent books such as Prison to Praise, etc. It comes as highly recommended reading.
Not that any of this is new. While less people have heard the story of Jehoshaphat in battle, most of us know more about Jericho and how the walls came down. 2 Chronicles 20 tells is this remarkable story.
“Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir Defeated
20 It happened after this that the people of Moab with the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites,[a] came to battle against Jehoshaphat. 2 Then some came and told Jehoshaphat, saying, “A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, from Syria;[b] and they are in Hazazon Tamar” (which is En Gedi). 3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4 So Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.
5 Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, 6 and said: “O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You? 7 Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever? 8 And they dwell in it, and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name, saying, 9 ‘If disaster comes upon us—sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine—we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.’ 10 And now, here are the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir—whom You would not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them and did not destroy them— 11 here they are, rewarding us by coming to throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit. 12 O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”
13 Now all Judah, with their little ones, their wives, and their children, stood before the Lord.
14 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. 15 And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.”
18 And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. 19 Then the Levites of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with voices loud and high.
20 So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” 21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying:
“Praise the Lord,
For His mercy endures forever.”
22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. 23 For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
24 So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped.
25 When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away their spoil, they found among them an abundance of valuables on the dead bodies,[d] and precious jewelry, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away; and they were three days gathering the spoil because there was so much. 26 And on the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berachah, for there they blessed the Lord; therefore the name of that place was called The Valley of Berachah[e] until this day. 27 Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat in front of them, to go back to Jerusalem with joy, for the Lord had made them rejoice over their enemies. 28 So they came to Jerusalem, with stringed instruments and harps and trumpets, to the house of the Lord. 29 And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. 30 Then the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.”
We cannot expect prayers to be answered, victory or the outcome He promised, if we go about whining. Being a critic of those who do praise may result in your own barrenness, be it physical or spiritual, should you be disgusted by those who do praise Him in the storm.
For you to understand, I was raised in a very Christian home but where there was very little victory in our faith life as a family. Only as a young adult, 30 years ago, did I start learning about the almost magical power of praise. I am not charismatic – I am a free ranging missionary with a few serious Job seasons below the belt and presently in yet another – but I can recommend some reading material. To my critics, before you even respond, first research this, test it in practice with the right attitude, reason and expectation.
God many times promises us things but we need to grow into it first. He may even give us the exact opposite, much to our dislike. I was destined to become a commissioned officer in the military but ended up inspecting the very same ceiling every day. I asked for perfect health and became a cripple instead. Too many prosperity teachers out there forget that we need to grow character, build relationship with Jesus the hard way. People don’t take kindly to the mention of sacrifice or effort, as Playstore doesn’t have an app for that.
Many times, attitude defines the outcome. If people around you seem so crazy to praise God when hearing bad news, be not their judge yourself. You are in a place they never have been and your own immaturity and fake Christianity shines as bright as the noon day sun, for all to see. Leave it to the old dogs, the veterans of faith struggle, who know that there is victory in praise.
If this is above you, just ignore and move on. Please do not comment unless guided by His Spirit. This is for mature audiences, not for people who have served in their churches for seventy years but for those who really, honest and truly came face to face with Jesus Christ where nobody else was present, in the furnace, in there with the pride of lions, in the heat of the day.
Do not ever, please, disrespect people who praise God in dark circumstances. You appoint yourself as judge over things that you most clearly know nothing about. Read 1 Corinthians 2, which is a good start. Once you have completed two Job trials like job did (and you thought it was just one?) and have found favour with God in ways few others ever will, simply because of whining and complaining and being critical of others really won’t bring you to your destiny any time soon.
Praise the Name of Jesus!