Jeriah walked in through the dusty doorway of his home with an expectant smile on his sun-beaten face. All was quiet. A far cry, literally, from what he had been listening to for many sleepless nights. His infant son, Hillel, was not crying. His wife had been right.
“Obey the Lord,” Selah had said. So Jeriah went to meet with the King along with the rest of Judah. He didn’t want to, but he did.
The Judean soldier’s smile quickly dissolved, though, when he strolled into their bedroom. Selah was sitting on their bed, tears in her eyes, cradling her quiet child.
“He’s not well?” Jeriah asked with a lump in his throat.
Selah’s bloodshot eyes communicated the answer.
“Not yet,” she replied quietly. “The fever remains.”
Jeriah began to pace. He unsheathed his sword and spun it around in his hands.
“This is driving me insane,” he cried as he slashed his weapon through the air. “I am a great warrior. I could protect this home from an attack of a hundred men and yet I’m helpless.”
The soldier sighed heavily, laid his sword on the bed and sat next to his wife and son. His rough hands caressed Hillel’s smooth face. “He doesn’t feel any warmer.”
“Yes, but not any cooler, yet.” Selah handed the baby to her husband. “Here, hold him while I get some more water.”
“So what happened at the meeting?” Selah asked as she stretched her back.
Jeriah hesitated; he knew he couldn’t sugarcoat anything with his wife. She would see right through any attempts to placate her.
“The Moabites and Ammonites are marching against us.”
Selah took a deep breath.
“Did you seek the Lord?”
“Yes, and the prophet spoke the Word of the Lord. He said we should not be afraid of this vast army. That we are to take up our positions, stand firm and see the deliverance of the Lord. He said the battle wasn’t ours, but God’s.”
“Then what are you doing here?”
“They do not need me. God said it was His battle.”
“Did the Prophet say everyone but JERIAH take up your positions? If not, you‘re going.”
At sunrise Jeriah gave his wife and son kisses, picked up his sword and left.
Later that morning, the soldier stormed back into his home, startling Selah.
“Shush, Hillel is sleeping. What‘s wrong?”
Jeriah threw his sword unto the floor. He looked up at the ceiling fighting back tears.
“The King appointed me to be at the head of the army.”
“And…?” Selah asked. “Where else would you be?”
“He wants me to sing. No sword, spear, nothing.”
“No, he appointed many.”
“Then you go sing. If God wants to lead his army with worship, then you worship. Trust me husband, there is no greater weapon.”
“Jeriah, I know you feel helpless without your tools of war. But look at what God is teaching us.”
The father glanced at his pale son. “But, I can’t sing, not a bit.”
“What is it you have to sing?”
Jeriah spoke the words. “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.”
“Do you believe God’s love endures forever? If you do, sing with all the belief you have that it’s true, no matter how it sounds.”
The argument was short lived, as most were with Selah, so Jeriah left for war, without his sword.
Two days later, Jeriah returned from a battle where they had seen nothing but the dead bodies of their enemies. The invaders had turned their swords on each other once they heard the army praising God. Jerusalem was jubilant.
When Jeriah entered his home he heard Hillel crying. He quickly ran back to the bedroom.
“Selah!” Jeriah spoke loudly. His wife was lying deathly still on the bed next to his son.
When she didn’t respond he placed his hand on her feverish forehead. Jeriah began to panic and then spied his sword in the corner of the room. All of Jerusalem’s praising was filtering throughout the land and into his home. He looked up to Heaven and began singing.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.”
After worshipping until his voice began to weaken, his wife stirred and sat up.
“Jeriah, you’re back,” She said weakly. She turned to see Hillel sleeping on the bed and felt his head. “He’s cool.”
Jeriah approached his wife with tears in his eyes and embraced her.
“What happened,” she asked.
“Worship, Selah, worship.”
Note: The story is based on 2 Chronicles 20:20.
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