II Chronicles 20:5 And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,

6 And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?

7 Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?

8 And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying,

9 If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.

10 And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not;

11 Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit.

12 O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.

13 And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.

14 Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation;

15 And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

16 To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.

17 Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.

18 And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD.

19 And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice on high.

20 And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.

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

22 And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.

MEMORY VERSE: Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy raise. Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever. —I Chronicles 16:29; 34-36a

CENTRAL THOUGHT: When a coalition of Moabites and Ammonites and other enemies came against King Jehoshaphat, and he proclaimed a fast to seek the Lord, God answered him with a mighty deliverance as they sang songs of praise and holiness.


Exodus 12:2I Chronicles 20:5 “New court”: the “great” or outer court of the temple, which may have been repaired or enlarged either by Jehoshaphat or his father, Asa.

II Chronicles 20:7 “Abraham thy friend”: a title mentioned again in Isaiah 41:8 and James 2:23. Abraham’s burial place in Hebron is known to the Muslims as Al-Khalil, or “Friend of God” (Arabic).

II Chronicles 20:9 “If, when evil come upon us…”: a quote from Solomon’s prayer of dedication in II Chronicles 6.

II Chronicles 20:10 “Mount Seir”: Edomites, neighbors to the “other beside the Ammonites” mentioned in II Chronicles 20:1 (the Maonites, who were Arabs and part of the coalition attacking Judah).

II Chronicles 20:14 “Jahaziel”: meaning “God gives visions”; a Levite, a descendant of the sons of Asaph.

II Chronicles 20:19 “Kohathites… Korhites”: a descendant of Levi.(Levi>Kohath>Korah).

II Chronicles 20:21 “In the beauty of holiness”: in holy attire; in holy array; in beautiful vestments; in the beauty of the sanctuary; “The more probable interpretation is that which refers to the state of the heart—the ‘internal’ ornament—with which we should approach God—to a holy and pure state of mind—that beauty or appropriateness of the soul which consists in holiness or purity. Of this the external clothing of the priesthood was itself but an emblem, and this is that which God desires in those who approach Him in an act of worship” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible).


The Ammonites were descendants of Lot, which made them distant relatives to the Israelites. On their journey toward Canaan, God had forbidden Moses to engage the Ammonites in warfare because He had given the land they held to them as a possession (Deuteronomy 2:19). They were worshippers of Molech, and they oppressed the children of Israel during the time of Jephtha, who defeated them in a great slaughter (Judges 11:1-40). Later, they troubled the Israelites, were mentioned in Psalm 83 in a list of God’s enemies, and had judgment pronounced upon them by Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos and Zephaniah.

The Moabites, also Lot’s descendants, were also a trouble to Israel, beginning with Balak’s drive to have Balaam curse them, which turned into a plan to seduce the Israelite men into great idolatry and sin in Israel, upon which God executed judgment. Worshippers of Chemosh and Baal, they joined with the Ammonites and Amalekites in oppressing Israel eighteen years in the time of the Judges. During a brief time of peace, it was a Moabite woman, Ruth, who married into an Israelite family and became the great-grandmother of David. Saul dealt with them, and David, although living peacefully with them for a short time, completely subdued them when he became king. They were again brought under by Joram and Jehoshaphat. Later, they joined with Nebuchadnezzar against the Israelites, bringing on themselves many threatenings from Israel’s prophets.

In the time of the battle with Jehoshaphat, the Ammonites and Moabites were joined by a multitude composed of Maonites (Ishmaelites, or Arabians) and others from the Mount Seir area, home of the Edomites, Esau’s descendants. These distant-relative tribes were a source of trouble for God’s people as well, receiving judgments from God’s prophets.

In our story today, the idol-worshipping troublemakers came, bent on revenge, to overcome God’s people. The king of Judah, Asa’s son, Jehoshaphat, was at this time very zealous to serve the Lord. When he heard about the great multitude coming against him, he immediately “set himself to seek the Lord” and proclaimed a fast for the entire nation. From the cities and countryside the men of Judah came to fast together and seek God. As they stood together at the temple, Jehoshaphat called on the Lord.

Our memory verse contains the words King David sang when he brought the ark from Obed-edom to the tent he had prepared in Jerusalem. The words sung by Jehoshaphat’s singers may have been taken from this psalm.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


  1. What prayer did Jehoshaphat cite as he called upon God, and where is it found?
  2. Share the verse which shows Jehoshaphat’s dependence upon God alone.
  3. What was the message God sent through Jahaziel?
  1. What part of the message sounds like what Moses told Israel at the Red Sea?
  2. What happened when they “began to sing and praise”?


Today’s lesson reminds us of an important spiritual principle which God’s people have used down through the ages in their spiritual battles: praise is a powerful weapon against the enemy. I remember a time when my husband was very sick and in great pain. The Lord began to impress me, just as in this story, that I needed to start praising the Lord. My husband was crying with pain; I felt like a cruel antagonist rather than his loyal helper! I just couldn’t sing praises! Yet the command wouldn’t go away. Finally I began to sing, a little feebly at first, then gaining vigor: “What a mighty God we serve!” In just minutes, the Lord gave a mighty relief and my husband was singing, too.

The allied forces in this story are allegorical. Spiritually, they represent the way we are opposed by our own flesh. When we are tempted by our appetites. When the carnal, physical concession seems the only way out. When our human pride or self-esteem tries to slip in disguised as compassion and pity. When our flesh cries out to give up in despair. Christian! Gird on the armor of praise! When your struggle threatens to shatter all your dreams, sing! “When the clouds above us hover, and the hosts of hell are near, shout His praises, Hallelujah! Christ will make them disappear.”

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


“We think of Martin Luther as a great reformer, Bible translator, political leader, fiery preacher, and theologian. But he was also a musician, having been born in an area of Germany known for its music. There, in his little Thuringian village, young Martin grew up listening to his mother sing. He joined a boys’ choir that sang at weddings and funerals. He became proficient with the flute (recorder), and his volcanic emotions often erupted in song.

“When the Protestant Reformation began, Luther determined to restore worship to the German Church. He worked with skilled musicians to create new music for Christians, to be sung in the vernacular. He helped revive congregational singing and wrote a number of hymns.

“In the forward of a book, Luther once wrote: ‘Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. It controls our thoughts, minds, hearts, and spirits …. A person who … does not regard music as a marvelous creation of God … does not deserve to be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying of asses and the grunting of hogs.’

“The poet Samuel Coleridge said of Martin Luther, ‘He did as much for the Reformation by his hymns as he did by his translation of the Bible.’

“Luther’s most famous hymn is ‘Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott,’—‘A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.’ Based on Psalm 46, it reflects Luther’s awareness of our intense struggle with Satan. In difficulty and danger, Luther would often resort to this song, saying to his associate, ‘Come, Philipp, let us sing the 46th Psalm.’ … Despite his excommunication from the Roman Church, Luther came to know the gracious power of God’s sheltering hand. He faced continual threats to his life and freedom, and times of intense spiritual battle as well. But in the comforting words of Psalm 46, Luther found the inspiration for this hymn.

“This is a difficult hymn to translate because the original German is so vivid. At least 80 English versions are available. The most popular in America was done [as follows] by Frederic Henry Hodge.”

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

“A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;

Our helper He amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.

For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe—

His craft and pow’r are great, and, armed with cruel hate,

On earth is not his equal.

“Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing,

Were not the right man on our side, the man of God’s own choosing.

Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He–

Lord Sabaoth is His name, from age to age the same,

And He must win the battle.

—Adapted from “Then Sings My Soul,” by Robert J. Morgan and “The Complete Book of Hymns,” by W. J. Petersen and Ardythe Petersen

—Selected by Bro. Harlan Sorrell

Click here for a pdf of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God:


Click here for a recording of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”