Thus far in the “Something’s Happening Here” discussion, we looked at the fact that during gathered (in-person) worship in music:
- We declare God’s worth, character, truths, and the Gospel to ourselves, one another and unbelieving attendees (visitors.)
- We commune relationally with God in His Presence
- When we sing as the gathered church, we have an opportunity to re-orient/submit every area of our lives to the Truths of God’s Word, most specifically the Gospel.
Next, I’d like us to consider the oft-overlooked reality that when we engage in authentic, Truth-centered worship we are engaged in spiritual warfare.
For some, this will raise warning flags of extreme Mark 16:17-18 Pentecostalism – but please hear me out.
First, I do believe in spiritual beings – angels and demons. I do believe they interact with the modern world. I do not believe our Lord would be deceitful in acknowledging them if they did not exist.
Second, I do not believe that every misfortune or trial or inconvenience is attributable to demonic beings. Tires burst, tornadoes happen, friends betray, and cancer and mental illnesses are physiological realities apart from the spiritual world.
Yet, sometimes they are spiritually instigated. Jesus Himself cast out demons and when stilling the sea “rebukes” the wind and waves, the Greek word is the same for when He rebuked demonic entities. (thank you, Michael Card)
But how does this then intersect with gathered worship?
Read and consider the following Scriptures:
The above verses remind us that while the weapons of our spiritual warfare are not physical, sometimes the effect they have is.
The story above in 2 Chronicles is compelling for a few reasons:
- It’s the equivalent of being in a trench in WWI and sending the choir out into No Man’s Land to do battle before sending the armed troops.
- It’s is not the effort of those singing praises, but the might of the Lord.
- In sending out the singers in front of the army, the Israelites were actively demonstrating that their hope for victory did not rest in a single weapon or clever military plan, but solely on the will of YHWH and His power
We now live in the reality of the cross where
“14 He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly; he triumphed over them in him.“ Colossians 2:14 (Emphasis mine)
The outcome of the war was decided.
At the cross.
Confirmed through the resurrection.
And will come to pass in full at His sure return.
In the everyday battles of life, when we sing the victory Christ has won for us, we do battle with the double-edged sword of the Word against the lies of the enemy.
Lies that scream guilt remains.
Lies that whisper we are under shame.
Lies that shout that our sin cannot be conquered.
Lies that mock that there is no Living Hope.
Lies that sweetly promise that earthly pleasures are better than what God has provided and will bring to pass.
In the face of these lies, we sing the Truth of God.
We sing the character of God.
We sing the promises of God.
We sing the faithfulness of God.
We engage our hearts with truth and stand firm.
And this, just as real as confronting the spiritual elements of the demon oppressed, is spiritual warfare.
In the story of 2 Chronicles, it is interesting to consider it was not just a silent acknowledgment of faith – but a vocalized, group declaring the character of God and their gratitude to Him.
It is not a prescriptive passage. It is, however, important to consider.
Is your heart overwhelmed with troubles? Are you in the midst of the storm?
“And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us;
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him”
next week: We Receive