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Lara Melashenko,
B.Ed., M.Sci., pastor’s kid, wife and mother, serves as principal at Chinook Winds Adventist Academy in Calgary, Alberta. Lara and her husband, Joel, are blessed with two sons, Andre and Jonathan, and a daughter-in-law,


Complain and Blame or Pray and Praise? (pdf)
Do you have a problem that you can’t solve? Do you feel helpless, like you can’t fix it, no matter how hard you try?  How do you respond to such problems? Do you complain and blame others or pray and let the fear and worry go and trust God to work it out?
2 Chronicles 20 tells the story of a seemingly insurmountable problem that the kingdom of Judah faced over 800 years before the birth of Christ during the reign of King Jehoshaphat. One day the king received the terrifying news that the armies from nearby Moab, Ammon & Mt. Seir were on their way to destroy the people of Judah and take over their land. His servants said, “A huge force is on its way from beyond the Dead Sea to fight you. There’s no time to waste—they’re already close by.”
The Bible says that Jehoshaphat was afraid. Though history records him as a godly leader and a mighty warrior, he was afraid. But his fear didn’t paralyze him. He ordered the whole nation to pray and fast. Then he called all his people to come to the temple of God in Jerusalem to pray. When everybody had gathered in the temple, Jehoshaphat began to pray (verses 6-12):
       “O God, God of our ancestors, God in heaven and ruler of all kingdoms. You hold all       
       power and might in your hand—no one stands a chance against you! You brought
       your people Israel into this land, causing the natives of this land to leave and turn
       the land over permanently to your people Israel, the descendants of your friend,
       Abraham. Your people have lived here and built your Temple to worship and honor
       you. We know that when the worst happens—whether flood or disease or famine
       or war —when we take our place before you in the Temple of God we know you are
       personally present in this place! And when we pray out our pain and trouble, we         
       know that you will listen and give us victory. But God, you know that the men from
       Moab & Ammon are coming to get us. They are coming to kick us out of the country
       you gave us. They are ready to attack us and we’re helpless. God, can you please
       take care of them? God, we do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”
Verse 13 reports that all Judah, including their wives and children, stood before the Lord.  
As the people were praying, one of the prophets of Judah brought a message from God,
       “Do not be afraid or discouraged. You will not fight this battle, I WILL! This is my war,
       not yours. Tomorrow you’ll go after them; you’ll meet them. But you won’t have to lift
       a hand in this battle; just STAND STILL, Judah and Jerusalem, and watch my saving work      
       for you. Don’t be afraid, don’t waver. March out boldly tomorrow—I am with you.”
In response to this amazing pronouncement of God’s victory - Jehoshaphat and the people knelt down, and bowing down to the ground worshipped God. Then they all stood to their feet and praised the one and only God of Israel. They praised at the top of their lungs!”                   
The next morning they were up early, ready to march into the wilderness. As they were leaving, Jehoshaphat stood up and said in a loud voice, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be encouraged. Have faith and you will be successful.” 
Then, at God’s direction, Jehoshaphat appointed a “choir for God”; a group of people to sing! Dressed in holy robes, they were to march ahead of the troops, singing,
       “Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever!” (1 Chronicles 20:22)  

It is hard to believe what happened next. As the singing men marched, with the rest of the Israelites following closely behind them, a strange thing happened. The Moabite and Ammonite armies turned on each other and began fighting one another.  At the end of the day, not one person from Jehoshaphat’s side had to fight. Not one person from Judah was killed or injured! The opposing armies fled leaving all their expensive equipment, clothing, and supplies. Jehoshaphat’s people spent three days gathering it.  The quantity was so great that they could not take it all with them home.
God’s people in ancient times were confronted with challenges. The fact is that we will all inevitably face some hard times. We cannot stop them from coming.

What is the single greatest problem in your life / in my life right now?  How are we handling it? Like Jehoshaphat, we should PRAY. We should lift up our arms to God and say, “We do not know what to do but our eyes are on You.” And in between the prayer and the victory, we should stand still & praise! 
WHY? Because God is our strength. He was the strength of Judah in crisis and He is our strength today. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble… Be still and know that I am God.” Psalms 46:1, 10 In every emergency we are to feel that the battle is HIS. His resources are limitless and God promises victory in the midst of our struggles.”
Questions (choose 2 for group discussion) and Prayer Topic

 1   What personal insights in this story are there for you and your life? (What was the ‘strategy’ that King Jehoshaphat followed in this crisis that could apply to us today?)

 2   Read Psalm 22:3 and share why you think God ‘inhabits’ or ‘is enthroned’ in the praises of His people. 

 3   What does praise have to do with finding a solution to a problem?

 4   Share briefly an experience when God solved something that was insurmountable for you. 
Choose a prayer partner and share a specific challenge that you can’t solve and that you want to trust with God. Pray for each other.