SHE believed: Sing

Welcome to the SHE believed devotional series. We have been exploring key principles in developing a foundation of T.R.U.S.T. in God. This week we are going to take a look at the first S in T.R.U.S.T. which is to SING. This principle requires us to shift our focus. How does that develop trust? Let’s take a look.

We have all known the power of music. When we turn on the radio (Spotify or Apple Music these days) and hear an old favorite, suddenly our mood is lifted and we are singing along, windows down cruising down the road. When we worship, there is an even greater power that we experience. Scripture says God is “enthroned on the praises of Israel.” Psalm 22:3 ESV Enthroned means “to dwell, sit, remain, abide.” Even though God is ever-present, for me when I engage in worship, when I lift my voice in song, I connect to God on a totally different level. It is like being in a room of people, but then stopping long enough to engage and have a conversation with someone. That person may have always been there, but now I have taken time to pause, connect and focus. They in turn remain, dwell, abide with me. 

Worship has the power to take our eyes off of ourselves and circumstances and place our focus on the One who is in control. Worship turns our thoughts to truth (T). Worship reminds us of all that God has done (R) . Worship helps us unload our cares at the foot of the Cross (U). And, as we sing (S) we can give thanks in song (T). Worship touches on every principle that we have been studying in the SHE believed series.

When I worship, it is an offering of trust. It says to God, “I don’t know how this is going to work out, but I trust you.” My husband has worked in the Christian music industry for over 20 years. I have had the privilege to meet many of the writers of contemporary worship songs that we sing in our churches every week. These writers spend time in God’s Word and songs are born from truth. As I sing these words, as I sing truth…worry, fear, uncertainty is replaced in my heart and mind and soul. I am literally singing God’s promises over my life.

“For God’s Word is something to sing about!

He is true to his promises,

his word can be trusted,

and everything he does is reliable and right.”

Psalm 33:4 TPT

Not only does worship impact me, it impacts those around me. One of my favorite worship writers is Chris McClarney. He says: “When you are able to worship in the middle of bad situations, it doesn’t just free you, I think it frees the people around you.” I have stood by others in church and watched as they have worshipped in the middle of devastating situations. Watching them builds my trust. When I can see them stand and worship God despite the battle they are facing, I know I can, too. As I worship during difficult situations in my own life, others are impacted as well.

In Acts 16:16-40 (NIV), Paul and Silas had been thrown in jail for casting out an evil spirit from a woman. This woman had made a great deal of money for her owners for predicting the future. These owners seized Paul and Silas and convinced the authorities to throw them in jail after being severely flogged. While in chains, Paul and Silas began to pray and sing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Can you imagine the testimony of their trust in God at that moment? Suddenly there was a violent earthquake that shook the very foundation of the prison. Doors flew open and everyone’s chains came loose. Their worship impacted those around them. Does that not make you want to shout Hallelujah?

Worship is powerful.

It changes hearts.

It changes attitudes.

It breaks chains.

It makes the darkness flea.

There have been many times in my life when I have not felt like attending our weekly worship service. I have wanted to stay home in bed with the covers pulled over my head. As sure as I make myself go anyway, I have found that God renews my strength and gives me peace. It changes my heart and attitude as I stand along with others in worship. 

“He has given me a new song to sing,

 a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see what he has done and be amazed.

They will put their trust in the Lord.”

Psalm 40:3

Worship is a weapon to fight our battles. Michael W. Smith recorded a simple chorus recently that says: “It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by you. This is how we fight our battles.” That’s it. We can fight our battles in song. “My weapon is a melody.” (Raise a Hallelujah by Bethel Music) That’s exactly how Jehosophat fought a great battle. Let’s take a look. 

In 2 Chronicles 20 (NIV), Jehoshaphat was facing an army. A battle was impending. The Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Meunites were coming up against him. In verse 3, it says that Jehoshaphat was alarmed or fearful. Who wouldn’t be with all the “ites” breathing down your neck? Now the Amplified Bible says, “Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself (determinedly, as his vital need) to seek the Lord.”

Jehoshaphat’s first response, his first action was to seek the Lord. He declared a fast and all the people came together to seek the Lord. Kinda sounds like what we discussed last week about going to God first in prayer when facing difficulties, right?

Jehoshaphat stood up before the people of the Lord and began to pray. He first acknowledged that God was the only one who could save him. He remembered what God had done in the past. Then, he said something that really stuck with me. In verse 9, “If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgement, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before the temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.”  He unloaded his cares.The Message versions says, “When the worst happens – whether war or flood or disease or famine….we will pray out our pain and trouble, we know that you will listen and give us victory.” All the people stood and waited before the Lord.

Then, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel. He said to all of Judah, “This is what the Lord says to you. ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.’ ”  The Lord goes onto say, “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you….Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”

In verse 18, “Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground , and all the people fell down in worship before the Lord. “ A position of WORSHIP.  Now, that is a different kind of battle strategy.  Could it be said like this….

When in fear, worship.

When facing a battle, worship.

When tempted to worry, worship.

When discouraged, worship.

When in doubt, worship.

“Worship” in 2 Chronicles 20:18 in the Hebrew language means to bow down, to prostrate oneself, to crouch, to fall down, to humbly beseech (meaning ask or pray with urgency), to reverence, to worship.

Here is a nation standing before the opposing armies, they don’t take up their weapons to fight, instead they fall prostrate before the Lord urgently asking and seeking His help!  Amazing!!!

Not only did they fall down before the Lord in worship, but verse 19 goes on to say that some Levites also stood up and praised the Lord in a very loud voice. Laying prostrate, shouting loudly…is that just a little out of our comfort zone?  Well, consider how it must have felt in front of a large army of enemies. Quite uncomfortable to say the least.

Finally, in an act of worship, verse 21 says that “Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness.”  As they went out, they sang, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.”

Verse 22 says, “As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men…who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.” The worshippers led the army to an incredible victory!

Do we respond the same when faced with fear, worry, battles or discouragement?  When we don’t know what to do, we can fall prostrate before the Lord and seek His face, His leadership, His guidance, His battle plan. We can shout praises to His name when doubt and concern sweeps over us. We can sing “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, His love endures forever.” Psalm 136 NIV We don’t have to fight the battle. The Lord will do it for us. Our battle position is to worship and that, my friends, requires trust.

“Let the godly sing for joy to the LORD;

it is fitting for the pure to praise him.”

Psalm 33:1 NLT

Corporate worship is not the only time to sing before the Lord. A few years ago our family was going through a challenging time of transition. Three of the four of us were doing new things. Life seemed fairly upside down for me. I was being stretched in all kinds of new directions. There were days when the worry and anxiety were sure to overwhelm me.

Singing saved me my sanity. Not just any old singing…like to the latest Hip Hop or Country tune…but worshipping the One who could truly save me. The One who had held me in his hands all my days (Goodness of God by Bethel Music) Right there. In the car…after car-rider drop off until I pulled into my office. I worshipped on the way. I sang when I felt like crying. I sang when I was overwhelmed or too tired to do anything else. I sang of the goodness of God. I worshipped.

Sometimes my worship is corporate. But, many times my worship is private. Just me and God. Right there – wherever I find myself – in need of remembering to trust. To keep believing that God will keep his promises.

 “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.

I will praise my God to my last breath!”

Psalm 104:33 NLT

SHE Believed: S (Part 2) = SERVE will be posted next week.

 

Putting it into Practice

  • Copy one (or more) of the verses above on a post-it note or in your journal. 
  • See how many other verses in scripture about singing and worship. Start in the Psalms.
  • Do you have a place of worship to go each week?  If not, I encourage you to find a church where you can engage in worship and teaching of God’s word. Until then, look for a local church that has an online worship service to watch. It will refresh and refuel you.
  • Continue to carve out at least 15 minutes per day for a quiet pause with God. Spend time in God’s word and prayer. Consider adding a few minutes of listening (or singing) to worship.
  • Do you commute to work? Consider turning off talk radio or your favorite country or hip-hop station or the latest podcast. Listen to worship music instead. And, sing at the top of your voice. Noone can hear you. 🙂
  • Play worship music softly in your house. It brings a sweet peace and calm.
  • Listen to a few of my current favorites: Goodness of GodRaise a HallelujahDefenderSurrounded