This recording is unlike most praise and worship songs. This is a recorded testimony. It isn’t acting or performance, but is the raw emotional reality of my life — where I could see the very real recognition of the powerful enemies that lay in front of me as I tried to sing this song as a garment of praise even in the midst of the storm. Come see the Lord is faithful and true:
Today I deal with 3 enemies or challenges that seem to be encircled against me. I will not mention how these 3 particular enemies are named/manifested in the world around me — because you may be facing enemies this morning that are quite the same at the core but that wear different shells/appearances in your current circumstances.
The point is — that these enemies were like mountains seemingly standing in my way. I do not know what my right next steps should be.
I sought counsel this morning in Psalm 1:
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord , and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Psalms 1:1-6 ESV
I was encouraged about direction this morning in Psalm 143:
Hear my prayer, O Lord ; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness! Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you. For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead. Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled. I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah Answer me quickly, O Lord ! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord ! I have fled to you for refuge. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! For your name’s sake, O Lord , preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble! And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant.
Psalms 143:1-12 ESV
I was reminded of the way of the enemy in I John 3:
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
1 John 3:4-10 ESV
This passage from 1 John about sin and righteousness will either offend and condemn the dead, lost rebellious who feel justified to do as they please, or raise up the leaven of prideful self righteousness in the dead, lost religious hypocrite who feels self justified in their outward performance — or it will remind the humble Christ follower in that awe and wonder energized by the fear of God that leaves us even more grateful for the cross today than the day we first heart this Good News, knowing that otherwise we would be doomed.
If you are offended, repent:
The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”
Genesis 4:6-7 ESV
If you are pridefully self- righteous, repent:
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Matthew 12:33-37 ESV
As for me, and only by the grace of God, I was reminded of my hope in:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord ‘s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord , that He may be glorified.
Isaiah 61:1-3 ESV
My next step is to:
– bring good news to the poor
– bind up the brokenhearted
– proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound
– proclaim the year of the Lord ‘s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God
– comfort all who mourn
And in setting my eyes upon those goals, what once seemed like mountains will be laid low below the feet of an eagle soaring high above them. By setting my sights upon the needs of others to hear this Good News, to be set free, to be readied, to be comforted — I will know that God has it all firmly in hand.
He has won the victory, and like Jehosephat in 2 Chronicles 20, we will know rest and our enemies will be laid low through faith, through putting on the garment of praise, ands by humbling ourselves to seek God first:
After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi). Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord , and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord ; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord . And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord , before the new court, and said, “O Lord , God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, ‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’ And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy— behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” Meanwhile all Judah stood before the Lord , with their little ones, their wives, and their children. And the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.” Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord , worshiping the Lord . And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the Lord , the God of Israel, with a very loud voice. And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.” And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, “Give thanks to the Lord , for his steadfast love endures forever.” And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another. When Judah came to the watchtower of the wilderness, they looked toward the horde, and behold, there were dead bodies lying on the ground; none had escaped. When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take their spoil, they found among them, in great numbers, goods, clothing, and precious things, which they took for themselves until they could carry no more. They were three days in taking the spoil, it was so much. On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah, for there they blessed the Lord . Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Beracah to this day. Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat at their head, returning to Jerusalem with joy, for the Lord had made them rejoice over their enemies. They came to Jerusalem with harps and lyres and trumpets, to the house of the Lord . And the fear of God came on all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around. Thus Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. He walked in the way of Asa his father and did not turn aside from it, doing what was right in the sight of the Lord . The high places, however, were not taken away; the people had not yet set their hearts upon the God of their fathers.
2 Chronicles 20:1-33 ESV
Are you seeking the Lord today for victory, for redemption, for deliverance, for freedom, for comfort? He is the only way these things well truly be yours. Don’t trust in your own plans and efforts to get you through. Repent. Set your sights on trusting the Lord, put on the garment of praise today, lift up His holy name, and see that He has won the victory for you too.