Is our God Vain?

If a man or woman were to continually demand our praise, we would most likely attribute this desire to hubris. So, why does our God repeatedly direct us to praise Him? (e.g., Psalms 150). That is the right question!

We will explore together a Biblical account that will give us a reason why God commands us to praise Him:

Later the Moabites and Ammonites, along with some of the Meunites, attacked Jehoshaphat. Messengers arrived and reported to Jehoshaphat, "A huge army is attacking you from the other side of the Dead Sea, from the direction of Edom. Look, they are in Hazezon Tamar (that is, En Gedi)." (2 Chronicles 20:1,2)

What do you do if an impossible situation presents itself? Perhaps a fearful situation that has no solution in the natural realm. Do you complain (1) about how the world is rapidly becoming more and more Godless? Whine that our nation founded on Christian principles is becoming increasingly secular? So, how is that been working for you? Have you noted any improvement in the situation as a result of your complaining? Say Amen or Oh me! Indeed, we have all been there and done that! Consequently, let us learn from Jehoshaphat, King of Israel, how he reacted in his perilous situation and see how God responded! 

Jehoshaphat was afraid, so he decided to seek the LORD's advice. He decreed that all Judah should observe a fast. The people of Judah assembled to ask for the LORD's help; they came from all the cities of Judah to ask for the LORD's help. Jehoshaphat stood before the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the LORD's temple, in front of the new courtyard. He prayed: "O LORD God of our ancestors, you are the God who lives in heaven and rules over all the kingdoms of the nations. You possess strength and power; no one can stand against you. Our God, you drove out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and gave it as a permanent possession to the descendants of your friend Abraham. They settled down in it and built in it a temple to honor you, saying, 'If disaster comes on us in the form of military attack, judgment, plague, or famine, we will stand in front of this temple before you, for you are present in this temple. We will cry out to you for help in our distress, so that you will hear and deliver us.' Now the Ammonites, Moabites, and men from Mount Seir are coming! When Israel came from the land of Egypt, you did not allow them to invade these lands. They bypassed them and did not destroy them. Look how they are repaying us! They come to drive us out of our allotted land which you assigned to us! Our God, will you not judge them? For we are powerless against this huge army that attacks us! We don't know what we should do; we look to you for help." All the men of Judah were standing before the LORD, along with their infants, wives, and children. Then in the midst of the assembly, the LORD's Spirit came upon Jachaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph. He said: "Pay attention, all you people of Judah, residents of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat! This is what the LORD says to you: 'Don't be afraid and don't panic because of this huge army! For the battle is not yours, but God's. Tomorrow march down against them as they come up the Ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the ravine in front of the Desert of Jeruel. You will not fight in this battle. Take your positions, stand, and watch the LORD deliver you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Don't be afraid and don't panic! Tomorrow march out toward them; the LORD is with you!'" Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face toward the ground, and all the people of Judah and the residents of Jerusalem fell down before the LORD and worshiped him. Then some Levites, from the Kohathites and Korahites, got up and loudly praised the LORD God of Israel. Early the next morning they marched out to the Desert of Tekoa. When they were ready to march, Jehoshaphat stood up and said: "Listen to me, you people of Judah and residents of Jerusalem! Trust in the LORD your God and you will be safe! Trust in the message of his prophets and you will win." He met with the people and appointed musicians to play before the LORD and praise his majestic splendor. As they marched ahead of the warriors they said: "Give thanks to the LORD, for his loyal love endures." When they began to shout and praise, the LORD suddenly attacked the Ammonites, Moabites, and men from Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The Ammonites and Moabites attacked the men from Mount Seir and annihilated them. When they had finished off the men of Seir, they attacked and destroyed one another. When the men of Judah arrived at the observation post overlooking the desert and looked at the huge army, they saw dead bodies on the ground; there were no survivors! Jehoshaphat and his men went to gather the plunder; they found a huge amount of supplies, clothing and valuable items. They carried away everything they could. There was so much plunder, it took them three days to haul it off. On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berachah, where they praised the LORD. So that place is called the Valley of Berachah to this very day. Then all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem with Jehoshaphat leading them; the LORD had given them reason to rejoice over their enemies. They entered Jerusalem to the sound of stringed instruments and trumpets and proceeded to the temple of the LORD. All the kingdoms of the surrounding lands were afraid of God when they heard how the LORD had fought against Israel's enemies. Jehoshaphat's kingdom enjoyed peace; his God made him secure on every side. (2 Chronicles 20:3-31 NET)

When Jehoshaphat heard of the vast enemy alliance that was soon to attack them, he was afraid. However, instead of being paralyzed by a spirit of fear, He, through faith, chose to seek the Lord (2 Timothy 1:7. Philippians 4:6. 1 Peter 5:7). Realize, fear is a natural response to a dangerous situation, and without fear, there can be no courage (1). However, Jehoshaphat chose not to have a “pity party” but instead courageously seek the Lord – whose mercy (1) and love endures forever – for His wisdom in this situation (Deuteronomy 31:6. James 1:5-8. 1 John 4:18). He directed all the nation’s people to humble themselves by fasting to prepare them to call upon the Lord (2 Chronicles 7:14. Psalms 35:13. Isaiah 58:6-12). King Jehoshaphat then assembled the people in the temple and lead the nation in prayer (1) to the King of kings:   

  1. He called upon the Lord and acknowledged that He is in control of all things including the situation that was bringing the suffering (2 Chronicles 20:6). 
  2. He brought to everyone’s remembrance what God had done in the past (2 Chronicles 20:7) and the promises of their covenant with God (2 Chronicles 20:8,9).
  3. He stated the situation that was causing the suffering (2 Chronicles 20:10) and why according to his covenant it is was not just (2 Chronicles 20:11).
  4. He asked God to intervene, placed their lives entirely in His hands (2 Chronicles 20:12), and then they waited upon the Lord in patience (2 Chronicles 20:13).
  5. God then revealed His plan of deliverance (2 Chronicles 20:14-17).
  6. They praised God that what He has promised was as good as done! (2 Chronicles 20:18,19)
  7. They acted in obedience utilizing the plan that God had revealed to them (2 Chronicles 20:20-25).
  8. They gave all the glory to God for the victory! (2 Chronicles 20:26-30)

So, was it for a vanity that God directed them to praise Him? Certainly not! God, who is infinitely worthy of it, does not need us to praise Him, for even if we did not, the very creation would praise Him! (Luke 19:37-40. Romans 8:22). Nevertheless, God knows when we praise Him, our mental vision is restored to the correct perspective (1). That is, our trials and tests will correctly seem small as we MAGNIFY (i.e., make larger in our minds) the Lord! (Psalms 105:1-5)

Recall, we are to enter His gates with thanksgiving (i.e., singing songs that thank God for what He has done for us), and we enter His courts with praise (i.e., singing songs that thank God for who He is to us). Again, we initiate entering into God’s presence with thanksgiving followed by praise (Psalms 100:4).  Spiritually, our praise creates a Holy Place where God (who is Holiness Himself) can dwell among us (Psalms 22:3). The word praise in this verse is the Hebrew word “tehillah,” a spontaneous song that implies  “go for it,” singing to God from the heart.  This is the only type of praise recorded in the Bible that will create a throne for God. When we are in earnest praising God with our hands raised high, we are saying to Him – here are my hands made holy by you for the express purpose of creating your throne.  Here we are, your servants, send me to carry your glory to the nations! (1 Timothy 2:8. Psalms 2:8)

Remember, God, the Holy Spirit, will always be with us within our reborn spirit (John 14:16,17).  Furthermore, God is omnipresent, meaning He is everywhere (Psalms 139:8).  However, God does not manifest His glory everywhere.  We sense God’s manifest presence or glory when He initiates worship after we have given Him thanksgiving followed by praise. Realize, we are not yet holy enough in our souls and bodies for God to manifest His glory without consuming us (1 Timothy 6:16. Hebrews 12:29). (Although, we are perfectly holy in our reborn spirits (1) since this is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit (1) (Hebrews 12:23)).  Nevertheless, our praise creates a protective veil that allows God to manifest His presence – His Glory!  

King David discovered this secret back when He kept the Ark of the Covenant (1) in his tent (1 Chronicles 16:1-43).  There was no veil to protect the people from the Glory of the Lord, so he had singers and musicians singing 24/7.  The Glory of God was then able to be seen by Jews and Gentiles without consuming them.  That is, the praise formed a veil, thus protecting the Jewish singers and musicians.  Furthermore, the singers and musicians bodies formed a veil so Gentiles could approach God. 

Incidentally, there is a prophecy mentioned in the book of Amos and then Acts concerning this Tabernacle of David being restored during this time of the Gentiles in which we presently live: 

“In that day I will rebuild the collapsing hut of David. I will seal its gaps, repair its ruins, and restore it to what it was like in days gone by. (Amos 9:11)
'After this I will return, and I will rebuild the fallen tent of David; I will rebuild its ruins and restore it, so that the rest of humanity may seek the Lord, namely, all the Gentiles I have called to be my own,' says the Lord, who makes these things known from long ago. (Acts 15:16-18 NET)
With this understanding, will you stop your complaining and start thanking God for all things and in all things? (Ephesians 5:20. 1 Thessalonians 5:18) If you live a lifestyle of thanksgiving to God (1), then when we assemble as the corporate church, the transition to praise can be made spontaneously.  Then, and only then, will God invite us into Worship by manifesting His Glory in our midst.  Furthermore, we will only learn the meaning of the “Fear of the Lord,” which is the beginning of wisdom, when we experience His manifested Glory (Proverbs 9:10. Exodus 20:17-21).  

Particularly note in our scripture text that Jehoshaphat specifically had the army not lead by soldiers bearing weapons of man but rather musicians declaring the Glory of God (1) with the result that God fought the fight for them! (Proverbs 21:31).

God set Judah’s enemies against each other, and not one of their enemies was left alive. As you can imagine, there was great rejoicing in the camp when the result of the battle was unveiled. God sometimes allows difficult circumstances to develop our faith in Him, and if the answer seems a long time coming, it’s because, when it does come, there’s no doubt as to whom the glory is due. God was and always is the victor. The scripture declares that ‘Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.’ (Psalm 30:5). Perhaps your ‘night’ of difficulty is not just a physical night of 12 hours; it may be a ‘night’ of many months or even years. But joy is coming. God is greater than our personal timetables, and, as Jehoshaphat discovered when he humbled himself, God is faithful to His Word, and “No weapon formed against (God’s people) will prosper” (Isaiah 54:17). Maybe God has said this to you before, but here it is again: (2)

‘You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you’. (2 Chronicles 20:17 a)

Consequently, in this dark hour, as Satan is forming an alliance to eradicate the Christians and Jews, I admonish us to begin praising our God – for His Mercy and Love that endures forever – and behold the salvation of the Lord Sabaoth! (1) (Psalms 149:6-9. Romans 9:29)

Joy Series:

(Security, Wholeness, Success)

Then he said to them, “Therefore every expert in the law who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and old.” (Matthew 13:52 NET)

(1) Select the link to open another article with additional information in a new tab.

(2) Be Still and Let God do it by Patricia Lake (1) 

Hal has taught the Bible for over three decades. Through an interdenominational ministry dedicated to helping the local church build men for Jesus, Hal trained men, the leaders of men’s ministries, and provided pulpit supply. Before that, he was a Men’s Ministry Leader and an Adult Bible Fellowship teacher of a seventy-five-member class at a denominational megachurch. Presently, Hal desires to honor Jesus Christ through this Internet teaching ministry, thereby glorifying the Heavenly Father in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. He believes, second to cultivating his relationship with God that raising his family unto the Lord is the most significant task for him while on Earth. Furthermore, Hal believes that being a successful leader in the church or workplace is no substitute for failing to be a successful leader at home.  DOULOS HAL'S TOPICAL INDEX

One Comment

  • kmfletcher

    I love this explanation!

    I thought that i was the only person that would somewhat apprehensively question whether my God were kind of vain or not and it is good for me to now be aware and put the bothersome question to rest once and for all. My God is NOT vain! thank you!