(Photos courtesy of New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2010 - a.k.a. "Jazz Fest")
I really love the Blues!
And, Jazz, too, for that matter.
There's something about the beats, the bass, and the often raspy voice of the soul singer.
Oh, and how I love the way a Blues Guitar sings.
And the horns & woodwinds...can't forget them!
Often my favorite parts of the bluesy, jazzy riffs.
Though the name "Blues" and even the theme of many of the songs
may sometimes sound a little like a downer,
I usually find myself ranging from
chilled out & peaceful to energized & unavoidably toe-tapping
while tuning in to my favorite local New Orleans Jazz & Blues radio station, WWOZ 90.7FM. (http://www.wwoz.org/ - Check them out online - They're almost always playing something good, if this is your fare, too.)
All of this kind of makes me think about something I was just reading in 2 Chronicles 20. See, the people of Judah, under the leadership of Jazzy Jehoshaphat (I had to do something to Jazz up that name!) were being faced with some pretty tough circumstances. A vast army of people - the same people whom God previously would not let Israel/Judah invade nor destroy - these powerful and numerous people were coming to make war with Jehoshaphat and the people.
I would say the people of Judah in some ways were really feeling the Blues at this point!
"We had to let them go when we had the chance to catch them off guard and do them in...and now look how we might be repayed! We can't beat them now, and if we don't we may lose this precious inheritance we have."
But the neat thing about this story is that through the great leadership and example of their King Jazzy J (Jehoshaphat...bear with me here!), they ALL came together (ALL of the people of Judah) to seek help from the Lord.
As he, their king, prayed to the Lord in front of them all, he reminds the Lord, himself, and the people of Judah that:
1. God is sovereign.
2. Power and might are in God's hand (no one can withstand Him).
3. God drove the previous inhabitants out of the land for them...AND
4. God gave the land to Israel (Judah) forever as their inheritance.
Then, after praying a little more, he ends the prayer...well...like this:
"We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You." (2 Chronicles 20:12)
Then, as all the men of Judah stood there before the Lord with their wives, children, and little ones, the word of the Lord came to them through one who was there saying:
"Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's...You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you." (2 Chronicles 20:15-17)
Then, led first by their king, the ALL fell down with their faces to the ground and worshipped before the Lord.
And as they set out, not wasting any time, King Jehoshaphat stood up and led them saying:
"Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith (actively believe) in the Lord your God and you WILL be upheld; have faith in His prophets and you WILL be successful." (2 Chronicles 20:20 - emphasis mine)
Then, here's a really cool part to me...he appointed some men to go out ahead of the army singing to the Lord and praising Him for the splendor of His holiness and saying, "Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever."
As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men who were invading Judah and the enemy was defeated!
The enemies even ended up destroying each other! No one escaped!!!
There was so much plunder that it took THREE DAYS to collect it...and on the fourth day they assembled and praised the Lord!
Then, again led by their king, they all returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over the enemies. Once back in Jerusalem, they went straight into the temple...with their instruments!
The fear of God came upon all the kingdoms of the countries...when they heard how the Lord fought against the enemies of Israel.
The kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for God had given him peace on every side.
Now, that's some toe-tappin, foot-stompin, knee-slappin, soul-soothin Blues!!!
The people of Judah gave their Blues to God, and He turned their Blues into a Jazzy Jam-session of Victory and Peace!
If you don't believe me...read 2 Chronicles 20.
I ain't makin this up, Honey!