Now the sons of Israel arose, went up to Bethel, and inquired of God and said, "Who shall go up first for us to battle against the sons of Benjamin?" Then the Lord said, "Judah shall go up first." Judges 20:18 (NASB)

We know from Genesis chapter 29 that Leah named her 4th son Judah because with the birth of this son, she chose to praise the Lord. She knew that Jacob did not love her, but at some point between the 3rd and 4th son, she decided, "this time I will praise the Lord"(Gen. 29:35 NASB). It is from this passage that we derive the meaning of the term Judah, being "praise".

I want to challenge those of you who may be neck-deep in battle right now. In the heat of your spiritual battle let Judah go up first. Let the praises of God go forth out of your mouth. Let the praises of God be as rivers of living water flowing from your belly (John 7:38). Before you spend hours just talking about the problem and how bad things are, stir up the power that God has already given you in your praises to Him; sacrificial though it may be. This is the kind of praise that reaches the heart of God. It is this kind of faith-building praise that will sustain you while you wait on God. This is the kind of praise that will keep you focused on God's promise, His plan, and His provision; it will keep you grounded in His faithfulness, and determined to press into your blessing.

Life continues to throw curve-ball challenges our way. We cannot escape them, but we don't have to fall prey to them. The lifestyle praiser recognizes that our responsibility is to apply today's passage to that situation you're facing. Don't open your mouth until you can say what God says. Don't say a word until you can formulate a praise, or a "Hallelujah!" on your lips! Praise will help you hold up until God shows up! Let Judah go out of your mouth FIRST.

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