THE WEAPON OF WORSHIP
I’m eternally grateful that Father gave me a love for music! If you know me, you know I love to preach and teach; but it would be highly unusual for me to get through a sermon or a teaching without referencing a hymn or spiritual song.
Ruth and I grieve that great old hymns have been removed from worship services at many churches except on occasion. People learn their theology from what they sing more than from what they hear or read; thus it is crucial to sing biblically sound lyrics. Worship involves thinking scripturally about what the words say as well as responding to rhythm and tune.
In a recent worship song partly written by Jonathan David Helser, the lyrics read, “My weapon is a melody.” God often uses music to accomplish His will. I believe creation happened amid scintillating symphonies and crashing crescendos of praise! (See Job 38:4, 7) Even unlikely candidates get filled with God’s Spirit when worship abounds. (I Sam. 10:1-12)
When Judah was attacked during the reign of Jehoshaphat, (II Chron. 20:1-30) the king first prayed and proclaimed a fast. After the nation had humbled themselves, God spoke through His prophet saying, [my paraphrase] “I’ve got this.” They all bowed in worship, acknowledging God’s promise. Then the choir, praising God, led the army out to the battlefield, (The word “praise” [yadar] in vs. 21 indicates the lifting of hands in worship…and their hands were empty of visible weapons!) Praise in the mouths of God’s people caused the enemy to self destruct! Then God’s people just picked up the spoils!
In Acts 16, Paul and Silas got arrested in Philippi for casting an evil spirit out of a girl being victimized as a soothsayer. Her “owners” complained that their living had been destroyed, so officials beat the apostles and put them in jail in stocks.
At midnight, Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises, and the other prisoners heard them. So did God! Someone explained what happened by saying that as God listened to their praise,
He started patting His foot to keep the rhythm. Since the earth is His footstool, (Isa. 66:1), when God started patting His foot, it caused an earthquake! The doors of the jail were opened and their fetters fell off. The jailer, knowing that if any prisoner had escaped, he would forfeit his life, drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul saw him, and yelled, “Don’t harm yourself; we’re all here.” Then the jailer called for a torch and, trembling, fell to his knees in front of Paul and Silas to ask, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” He did believe! He washed their bloody backs; then he and all his family were baptized! Worship had caused the miracle of salvation!
in Streams in the Desert this powerful couplet appears:
“The weakest saint may Satan rout
Who meets him with a praiseful shout.”
This is not just positive thinking; this is obedience to God’s word! Psalm 34:1-4 says: “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” Psalm 150:6
Wayne & Ruth