House of Peace

And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that (they) should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and to say Praise the LORD; for His mercy endureth forever

And when they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah: and they were smitten.  (II Chron. 20:21-22)

Dear Intercessors for Israel:

One of my favorite places to take our friends and guests when I am in Israel, is to Tekoa.  It’s located about eight miles South of Jerusalem, and built on a high hill overlooking the desert in one direction and the outskirts of Bethlehem on the other.  Today, about 1,000 Jewish families call Tekoa home, living in modern houses, apartments and yes caravans or mobile homes.  They have as Amos prophesied rebuilt and inhabited the wasted city, planted vineyards and made gardens there (Amos 9:14). Amos was from Tekoa, as was the wise woman (II Sam. 14).  The LORD also gave King Jehoshaphat a great victory there, defeating the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir (ancient Petra). The word tekoa, derives from the Hebrew verb taqa, and means “to bring forth with sudden force.”  It literally means, the breath and sound expelled from the trumpet or shofar.  

Tekoa overlooks a deep canyon, which in Hebrew is called the Nahal Tekoa.  The mouth to this canyon opens below the community of Tekoa, and ends near the Dead Sea close to Ein Gedi.  There are number of viewpoints in Tekoa where you can stand and gaze at the canyon below.  I love to stand at a ridge above this gorge and speak about Jehoshaphat’s miracle victory. While the location of Ziz is unknown, I believe I have found it.  Just south of the main community of Tekoa is a high ridge or cliff, where you can stand at its edge and proclaim your praises to God, just like the Levites and Korhites and the Kohathites did, so many years before.  If you go to www.youtube.com and enter the words:  Gene Little Tekoa, you will stand at top of this very ridge with me, and listen as I give a short Bible study on Jehoshaphat’s victory. Here is the YouTube link:  https://youtu.be/t9-tRjci-YQ

Your Key to Victory

King Jehoshaphat upon hearing of the great threat against Jerusalem by the invading armies of Ammon, Moab and Mt. Seir which were gathered at Ein Gedi, “set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.”  The people gathered with him in the Temple as he appealed unto the LORD.  No one knew “what to do.”  They were helpless.  The King and those assembled with him prayed “our eyes are upon you.” (vs. 12) God’s direction and war strategy was soon forthcoming. 

They were to leave the safety of the walls of Jerusalem and “go down to the cliff of Ziz, near the wilderness of Jeruel which means “established or habitation of God.”  Hearing this guidance, Jehoshaphat appointed singers who were dedicated unto the LORD to lead his army.  They only needed to sing one chorus to smite the enemy: “Praise the LORD for His mercy endureth forever.”  The Hebrew perhaps says its best: “Hodu le Adonai, Ki l’olam chasdo.”  Over and over again they sang this simple verse and upon hearing these words, the enemy fought one another and destroyed themselves.   

Echoes of the Word and Worship

I believe that as Jehoshaphat’s singers were standing on the cliff above the invading armies, worshipping, the echo of their praises to God resounded off the canyon’s walls.  This echo magnified the sounds of their worship and brought confusion to the enemy.  The sound waves from their praises, penetrated into the very cells and nerves of the invaders, destroying darkness, and crushing the evil in their souls.  These enemy armies literally went “crazy” from these vibrations and in their demented fury set upon one another.

The Hebrew language has seven words for praise, which is a subject for another prayer letter..  Hodu is one of them and is used in this passage.  It comes from the root word “yadah” which means to “lift and throw the hands upward.”  King Jehoshaphat’s singers were praising God with their arms extended and saying as it were, “LORD, we give this burden to you” or “We surrender to you God!”  The modern Hebrew word for “thanks” is “todah” and also derives from “hodu.”

The Passion Bible perhaps describes the power of godly praise best, in its modern interpretation of Psalms nine:  This is what is says in part:

Lord, I will worship you with extended hands as my whole heart explodes with praise! I will jump for joy and shout in triumph as I sing your song and make music for the Most High God.  For when you appear, I worship while all of my enemies run in retreat.  They stumble and perish before your presence.  For You have stood up for my cause and vindicated me when I needed you the most.  (vs 1a, 2-4a)

Also in this II Chronicles 20:21, the word “mercy” is mentioned.  This is chasdo which can be translated in the English as meaning, “love, loving-kindness and mercy.”  Chasdo appears twenty-five times in Psalms 136, as does hodu.  The LORD is merciful, loving and full of loving-kindness to us all. 

A Year for Miracle Victories

The Apostle Paul writes that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty to God to the pulling down of strongholds” (II Cor. 10:4).  The LORD has given us, many spiritual weapons, of which praising Him is one.  I love the simple saying: “Praise is a weapon to fear.”  It is a mighty weapon, the devil fears, also when you declare God’s praises, fear flees.  Praise keeps you in His presence and it sends away negativity. You then find rest and peace in His presence.

This is a year for “miracle victories.”  If you notice, the verse I have cited at the beginning of this prayer letter is II Chron 20:21, our current year.  If ever the body of Christ, needs some overcoming victories in our lives, it is this year. Praise the Lord today.   Make a sacrifice of praise.  Let your praises to God echo in your heart, your mind and in every cell and nerve of your body…  Let the walls of your house, and inside your car resound with your praises to Him.  Sing and worship your way to victory and repeat the phrase: “Praise the LORD for His mercy endureth forever” in English, in Hebrew, and in your mother tongue.  You will have the victory, for when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirt of the Lord will raise up a standard against him (Is. 59:19).

The Valley of Blessing

When Jehoshaphat’s “praise team”, won the battle, the name of the wilderness where the armies of Ammon, Moab and Mt. Seir were defeated, was changed.  It became “Berachah”: or the “Valley of blessing” (vs. 26). An alternative meaning in Hebrew which I like is “Valley of Praise.” This is a year to praise the LORD for your victory over sickness and disease, over COVID, over poverty, over broken families, over child abuse, over abortion, over an unrighteous government, contrary executive orders as well as every evil and enemy force that seeks to destroy you and your relationship with the Lord.  You will find the areas in your life, where the devil has threatened ruin and destruction, will suddenly become places of blessing when you continue to praise Him daily.

Shabbat Shalom

Gene and Marylois/House of Peace