Day 11 | What if Lent is for Tensions? Pt. 2
“So what’s the big deal about ‘having a song’ anyway?”
I get it. You were an athlete. Or a chess club kid. Or maybe an academic. And maybe you think you can’t hold a tune to save your life. Doesn’t really matter, I say. Having a song is about having a story. And it’s about fighting for your story.
Consider Isaiah 30 again:
…And the Lord will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen… (Is. 29:30)
…And every stroke of the appointed staff that the Lord lays on them [the enemy]
will be to the sound of tambourines and lyres…" (v. 32)
In chewing on this passage, my focus is drawn most naturally to the relationship between worship and warfare. When we sing and cry out to God, we are going to war. This – is – for – everyone. We experience war in our relationships. In our workplaces. Sometimes even in our homes. In fighting the darker sides of ourselves. We war against addictions and unhealthy cravings. We fight to do the right thing when no one's looking, sometimes winning the battle, sometimes losing.
Our worship, among other things, is an outward declaration that we want to fight, a lifting of our sword, signaling that we won't give in. That what we ultimately want is to choose his way over our own. It's a cry for help in a Godward direction, a declaration of dependence on him, and a statement of faith that entreats God to act on our behalf and set things right.
II Chronicles 20 tells the story of King Jehoshaphat and his choice to put musicians at the front of the military line, instead of his mightiest warriors. Not your most fearsome first impression on the battlefield, in my opinion. (Let’s be honest… How many of us jazz band and musical theater kids ever turned out to be the long-locked, muscle-strapped Samson-esque types? Not. Many.) But man, what a military strategy…
Starting in II Chron. 20:21:
The moment they began their shouts and praises…. (YOU GUYS! Pay attention.)
….the LORD set ambushes. The LORD.
(And they were defeated.) The enemy, that is.
There is a mighty power in calling out in dependence and need for a good, rescuing, father God.
When we worship, as the very sound of our songs and our instruments, as our voices, melodies, even our clamor raise to the throne room, God’s armies assemble in formation to move out, whether we can see them or not.
When we worship, his promised arm descends blow by blow to cut through strongholds and bondage the Enemy uses to entangle, ensnare, and despair us.
When we worship - as we choose purposefully to worship - our magnificent, matchless Creator and Good Father God goes to war on our behalf to deliver us and bring us out into a spacious space of greater wholeness, goodness, and freedom. (Ps. 18:16-19)
It's not a magical formula like a genie in a lamp. There's definitely a measure of mystery involved. And there are absolutely seasons where it feels like God is silent and all is lost, where no plea we fall on seems to move his hand. There's tension there in the un-knowing of how he'll respond. But over time and breadth he proves himself faithful. We’ve ALL got places in our stories where we need greater wholeness, goodness, and freedom. And more often than not we can’t do it in our own strength and need a Great Rescuer to activate and deliver us.
Find. your. song.
Freedom & grace,
Questions to consider with a friend or family member:
- What places in your life do you feel stuck and need a nudge (or hard push) out of your current circumstance?
- Are there situations in your day to day life where you sometimes feel hunted or attacked? Do you feel an “Enemy” or even “resistance” working against you each day? Whatever you want to call it, I Peter 5:8 says the devil seeks “to devour and destroy us.” Do you believe this? Really? Or not so much…
- Can you choose one "stuck" or "broken" place today and ask for God to bring you a scripture verse or worship song to "sing over" that broken place in need of healing or victory? Then spend a little time in scripture or search through worship videos on YouTube to see what song/scripture rises to the surface that seems to fit. If it's an actual worship song - easy enough - listen and sing along as you learn it over time. If it's a scripture of truth or promise, take a risk; try locking yourself in your bathroom this week and literally make up a song out of the verse to declare it over yourself. Might be more freeing than you think!
Listen to our worship song of the day, Praise Before My Breakthrough, below or find it here on Spotify on our 2020 Lenten Worship Playlist, growing daily one song at a time.
Iâve been spending more time at my piano this week because it helps push back the anxiety. Thereâs something about singing that doesnât like to co-exist with anxiety for me. Itâs easy to forget that we have been given so many ways to participate...and theyâre not just for Sunday mornings.
Do it. Worship is all about "response." So - many - ways to participate, as you said. And definitely not just for Sunday mornings.
A song of worship.
Is a song of...
Yet in that worship...
In that story...
War for the sake of goodness.
War for the sake of mercy.
War for the sake of life.
War for the sake of...
This is a war I want to,
a war I must,
And so, I pick up my sword.
I pick up my story.
I pick up my song.
And I Worship.
For worship overcomes...
For worship invites...
And so I sing.
I sing out my story.
I sing out my love.
I sing out my Lord.
And I worship.
For in worship is...