Key Passage: Judges 20
Key Text: Judges 20:18 – The Lord said, “Judah first!”
God is a Master strategist and a Master planner. Everything He does has significance even sometimes beyond the obvious. The Jewish rabbis always tell us that the word of God has many layers and we should try to understand the scriptures on as many layers as we can understand. Like most African names, there are deep meanings behind biblical names and somehow, God superintends the names of biblical characters, so their names reflect something of God’s destiny over them. God changed the name of Abram to Abraham; from exalted father to father of a multitude.
Today’s passage reveals something quite profound and I feel is a strong direction on how we conduct warfare and gain victory over the enemy every time. God is a Man of war and He has never lost a battle, so if we follow Him into battle, we can never be defeated. In arranging the tribes of Israel, he told Moses that the tribes are to be arranged in a specific order. In this order, Judah, under the banner of a Lion with Nashon as leader. Judah is not the firstborn of Jacob, but God placed him first. Why?
Judah is a combination of two words, the first part speaks of God and the second part is about praise. So in essence, Judah simply means God is to be praised. So God told Israel that in marching out or going into a battle, Judah must go up first. Praise to God must go up first. If you are going to be victorious, you must learn the act of praising God first.
In 2 Chronicles 20 we read the story of how the people of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir came against Jehoshaphat the king of Judah. Judah was outnumbered and there was fear in the camp, but God told them that He would give them victory. He gave them a simple instruction to let the singers and the musicians go ahead of the army. Once Isreal set the praise team loose and they began to worship God, God took up the battle and set ambushes against the enemies of Judah and they destroyed themselves, without Israel firing one arrow from their bows. They enemy completely obliterated themselves and Israel went in to the valley to collect the spoils. It took three whole days to collect the spoils. The valley was called the valley of Berachah, which means blessing. WOW!!!
Praise is a most powerful weapon in the hands of a believer to upstage and defeat the enemies of God in our lives. The bible says in Psalm 22:3 – ‘Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.’ God inhabits or dwells in the praises of His people. So whenever we start praising God, He comes down and when He comes down, well you know the devil is in big trouble.
In the book of Joshua, we see that God repeated this order again, when He instructed Joshua the general, to arrange the army in a specific order, with seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams horns or shofars leading the charge. They were to blow continually. It was when they blew these horns and the people shouted that the walls of Jericho fell down. Praise is powerful.
One last thing, praise is not just singing, though a lot of it is singing. Praise is confessions, proclamations, thanksgiving and declaring the truth about God and His attributes.
Praise is the breaker. It breaks open and releases God into the situation. That is why God said Judah First! Praise First!
Before you panic, Praise First. Before you Pray, Praise First. Before complain of grumble, Praise First. Before you accept the bad news, Praise First. Before you give up, Praise First. Before the test, interview etc, Praise First. Put Praise First and you would see God come through the door of Praise.
Judah First; Praise First or First Praise God. Have you tried Prayze?
Let us Prayze: Father God, You are awesome, all powerful, and incredible, You are so amazing. You are faithful, You are good and You are Kind. You are Holy, You are Just and You are Merciful. Father, You do all things well and You perfect all things that concern me. You are the Alpha and the Omega, The First and the Last. There is no one beside You. You are worthy of all honour, glory, power and praise. You alone are God and You alone deserve the glory. You are the God who never fails. You are the God of signs and wonders. You are the God who acts and no one can reverse it. You are too much. Father You make everything beautiful in its own time. Thank you for everything. In Jesus name I pray. Amen