Friday, September 02, 2011

Praise while you fight

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 149:1-9

TO CHEW ON: "Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands." Psalm 149:6

Songs of praise during warfare? Doesn't that seem like an odd combination? But the two appear together at other times in the Bible.
  • Musicians (trumpet players) accompanied the warriors as the Israelites marched around Jericho on their first foray into Canaan (Joshua 6:6-20).
  • Jehoshaphat positioned the singers in front of the fighters when they went to war against Moab and Ammon (2 Chronicles 20:20-23).
  • In our reading today the ones wielding the weapons are also the ones doing the singing. They praise God while they fight.
These instructions, viewed in the context of Israel living in constant danger from her neighbours (what has changed?), would tell us the fighting referred to was probably real fighting against a physical enemy,

The reference to "two edged sword" reminds me of Hebrews 4:12 where God's word is referred to that way. There the fighting would seem to be spiritual warfare against human nature and sinful inclinations ("... piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.")

Entering and fighting our battles—whether physical or spiritual— with praise to God in our hearts and spilling out of our "throats" may seem counter-intuitive. But if we have never tried it, maybe we should.

PRAYER: Dear God, when I am under attack, the last thing I feel like doing is praising You. Please bring this battle strategy to mind next time I face a physical or spiritual foe. Amen.


MORE: Warfare and Worship Through Singing 
"Spiritual worship and spiritual warfare should be carried out with singing.... the enemies of God are thrown into confusion by the songs of God's people.... God has appointed the use of spiritual songs as an effective weapon against his archenemy Satan" excerpts from "Ambushing Satan with Song," By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org.


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