In Second Chronicles 20, we read the story of Jehosophat’s Decree, Jahaziel’s prayer and a very unconventional battle strategy. The chapter recalls the moment when the Israelites surrounded by enemies, win the battle by singing praise to the Lord. The king makes a decree that the people are to meet and choose singers to Praise God. The Prayer by the priest Jahaziel tells the desperate situation. “We are powerless before these enmies, but the Battle belongs to the Lord,” is a good summary of his words. The King’s faithfulness is cited near the end of the story after the enemy all turned on each other at the sound of the Israelites singing praise to their God. Verse 21 states the words that the people sang, “Give thanks to the Lord for His steadfast love endures forever.”
It took the people three days to retrieve all of the spoil (or loot) from the defeated armies. And the scripture says there was more left behind. They named the Valley of Baracah such that means Valley of Blessings. “Blessing the Lord He blessed us in return.”
Last night I stayed awake to pray for a family member awaiting surgery. While doing so, my husband came across a documentary on Ragtime Pianists. Supposed to be just a distraction to sleep, I found it fascinating to watch the Battle of Song. The fingers on the keyboard were giving testament to the hours of practice. When the young student out played all of the old timers, youthfulness won the day. But there was one particular “blessing the maker” participant. Only one player spoke of God’s gifts to the talent. The people were still in pursuit of the song, not the Creator of Song.
It saddened my heart to hear our dear little patient was still awaiting surgery this morning. That is such a long time to go without eating for a preschooler. God grant her parents patience. God grant a quick recovery, I pray.
Our church has been having prayer meetings by conference call. It helps to feel connected and to know others find gathering in prayer so important. Indeed we need to heed the command to Blessing the Lord, He will bless thee.
I heard the other day that the front porch family photo is back in demand. I remember a family photo taken when I was about fourteen. We girls, my mother, and my brother went over to the neighbors front steps. Our neighbor Perry took the snapshot of us all dressed for Easter Sunday. The morning’s crisp air and the sound of spring is recalled in my mind. One photographer in the twin cities is taking portraits of families on their front steps, so that they can remember this time of family at home-ness.
I wonder how many families will get dressed up for church on Easter Sunday, take these family photographs and then walk back into their homes to watch a streamed on-line church service. This is truly a moment in history that needs to be recorded.
Our family gathered via video chat the other evening. It was good to be “together” even if it was just for a half hour. I am so thankful to live in the 2020’s instead of the 1920’s. And will try to repeat “Give Thanks to the Lord for His Steadfast Love Endures Forever” as often as I can. Perhaps I will even begin to sing it!
I remember as a child singing this beloved old hymn during out benedictions on Sunday. It still makes me cry every time I hear it, read it, or think of it’s meaning. Jesus is truly a more binding tie than any other zip tie, keep tie, glue binding, book binding or kinship tie.
John Forest wrote Blest Be the Tie That Binds in 1782
- Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.
- Before our Father’s throne,
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
Our comforts, and our cares.
- We share our mutual woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.
- When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.