There are desperate times in our lives when it seems the only hope is for God to intervene and rescue the situation. 2 Chronicles 20 of the Old Testament relates such a crisis. The Moabites and Ammonites had come to make war on Jehoshaphat. Theirs was a vast army, it was very scary. To get the full impact, read this inspiring chapter. The way the battle went was quite unconventional:

2 Chronicles 20:20 … As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” 21 After 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.”

22 As 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. 23 The men of Ammon and Moab rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.

Did you see that? They sent the singers to ‘the front line’. As the singers praised, the 2 forces of the enemy destroyed and annihilated each other. Apparently, Jehoshaphat’s army didn’t so much as engage a sword.

Isn’t that just the greatest intervention you could ask for? And all from a little singing.

Note the text of what was sung – ‘Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever’, also referenced in Psalm 136, the last part repeated 26 times! It also begins Psalm 118, with the second phrase recurring in the following verses 2 more times.

Upon further study, we find this passage to be standard Jewish prayer, called hallel. The entire prayer includes Psalms 113-118 and is used on particular Jewish holidays. Psalm 136 is known as “the Great Hallel” and is recited at the Passover meal preceded by the “lesser hallel”. The hallel is believed to be used as early as the encounter at the Red Sea and for various encounters of kings and leading figures in the Bible thereafter.

Another Old Testament passage that quotes the “Give thanks…” passage, is in 2 Chronicles, chapter 5.

The scene is the dedication of the Temple, a historic and unprecedented event:
13 The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang:
“He is good; his love endures forever.”
Then the temple of the LORD was filled with a cloud, 14 and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God.
This time there were trumpets added to the singing – 120 to be exact. And what follows is a response that we’d love to experience in all our worship services – God came, overwhelmed, and they couldn’t continue.

What an intervention!

Looking at the New Testament, on a journey to Philipi, Paul and company got into trouble when casting out the demon from a possessed girl who made good money telling the future. They were attacked by a crowd, stripped, beaten (oh, would that hurt), and thrown into prison. Their response?

Acts 16:25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” 29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

Well we know the church was praying for Paul, and on his end, he and Silas did a little singing. We’re not sure what they sang, but by now we might suggest the “Give thanks…” passage. In any case, a good outcome for Paul and other prisoners, even better for the jailer.

Colossians 3:15 says:

‘Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.’

And Psalm 104:33:

I will sing to the Lord all my life.

I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

When we are in the most difficult time and need a dramatic intervention, pray –

but don’t forget to sing!

Remember Psalm 22:3 Yet You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.

Songs and hymns –

About His love:

The Love of God, O How He loves, O the Deep Deep Love of Jesus, Thy Lovingkindness, What Wondrous Love, Forever

About His mercy:

And Can It Be, Come Thou Fount, There’s a Wideness, Praise to the Lord the Almighty

and more

See our music page at:

For another viewpoint on Jehoshaphat and the above 2 Chronicles passage, see John Piper’s article,  Ambushing Satan with Song at  

I leaned of Dr. Piper’s article/sermon a couple of years after posting my thoughts as above, and was thrilled to know he had pursued the topic “back in the day”.


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