I felt convicted to share something with you: this was not the post I had planned to share. I was going to write about single women, being in a season of waiting and seeking the Lord to learn about what to look for in a Godly man. To be honest, I think it will be a great post for another time however something happened before I could finish writing it. Something very wrong happened. I weighed the pros and cons about writing this because we already see so many blog posts written about social justice and systemic oppression in America. This is, of course, a great thing! It means that there are people in our country that recognize we live in a society (and world) that is behaving in a way that God did not intend. Rape, murder, hunger, war, cancer; they all break God’s heart and I think we can all agree on that. No one ever sits down and tells their friends, “You know, that little girl deserved to die of starvation!” or “Yea, isn’t cancer great?”. (If you do, then we need to have a conversation later about that) What I am ultimately getting at is that there are many things we as a society and as Christians feel comfortable talking about. There is still, however, one thing that our nation absolutely falls apart over that we, for some reason, simply cannot agree on: racism.
Now before you turn away and jump to conclusions, please read the following statement: This post will NOT be about my opinions regarding race in America. That’s right, I will not be making a post all about what I think and here’s why: when it comes to Spirit lead conviction of the heart to spread the Truth, you go to the Bible for answers. Yes I am being blessed when I’m used by God as a vessel to share the Word with others but it is so important to remember that it isn’t about me. It’s about Him, it’s always been about Him.
I don’t think that I would be shocking anyone if I said that in our country currently, there is unrest and a large divide regarding race. People of color are raising their voices to speak out against a system they feel doesn’t treat them fairly. There has been endless violence from many directions perpetuated in the name of racism, there have been many lives lost, and we as a country are wondering how we got here. We are all tired. We are tired of seeing Facebook posts, online arguments, and news outlets covering seemingly the same story every week. Some say that racism is worse now than it has ever been. Some say that everything is being blown out of proportion. Others would argue that these are just symptoms of a historical wound that was never treated and healed properly. You may be wondering, “what does any of this have to do with being a Christian with a worship mindset?” Regardless of how you see our current situation, one thing is for sure: none of this is how God had originally intended for Creation to be. So my answer to your question is simple: everything! I would like to share with you a phrase that has absolutely changed how I approach all things in life, especially conflicts such as the one we are currently facing today:
Worship is an act of war.
I’m going to unpack what this means in just a second but I first ask you to imagine the following: imagine a world where every attempt Satan makes to dismantle God’s people was met with roars of Holy song and praise. That is so powerful! Well this actually happened in the Bible. In Joshua 6, it tells the story of the battle of Jericho and at the beginning of the chapter, God is giving Joshua instruction for how he and his people will conquer the city.
“Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” (Joshua 6: 1-5, NIV)
I want you to observe 3 key things: 1) God was with Joshua and his men in their time of crisis. No where in this story, or in the Bible in general, does it ever say “figure it out for yourself, by yourself”. From the very beginning, God tells us that He will be with us always, especially when we approach times of turmoil. Our Father is a Father who keeps His promises, amen! He promises to be with us every step of way and with Holy insrtuction. 2) We can see that his army’s weapons of choice were not solely swords, nor axes, nor spears. They chose trumpets, horns, and singing! Often times in the Bible, when it was time for battle, the musicians would be on the front lines declaring the army’s presence. Music was their way to declare victory with the strength of God by their side! How amazing is that, y’all? 3) God said it would take 7 days to defeat Jericho. This means that it was not a 1 day victory and they could all leave after 1 attempt; it took time. All too often we think that if something isn’t done immediately with instant gratification that God didn’t keep His promise. We won’t always get what we want on our time but this is a blessing! God’s timing is so perfect and in the time it takes to accomplish our goal, we can use it as a way to grow in our faith and trust in the Lord. Don’t look at time as an enemy but as a helper that creates space to seek God more intimately.
The story goes on: “So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant of the Lord and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.” And he ordered the army, “Advance! March around the city, with an armed guard going ahead of the ark of the Lord.” When Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets before the Lord went forward, blowing their trumpets, and the ark of the Lord’s covenant followed them. The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding. But Joshua had commanded the army, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!” So he had the ark of the Lord carried around the city, circling it once. Then the army returned to camp and spent the night there. Joshua got up early the next morning and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward, marching before the ark of the Lord and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them and the rear guard followed the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets kept sounding. So on the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days.” (Joshua 6: 6-14, NIV)
Here we see something very important: Joshua saught the Lord and was obedient to His instruction. How tempting do you think it would have been for Joshua to take matters into his own hands? I know I feel that temptation sometimes. We occasionally let the emotions of circumstance get the better of us but even when our situation seems incapable of being won, have faith in knowing that God has already won the victory! God is for us so nothing formed against us shall stand. Even when we don’t know how we got there, the Lord will deliver you out, amen!
“On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city! The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to theLord and must go into his treasury. When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.” (Joshua 6: 15-20, NIV)
In these final verses, we see God’s promise fulfilled and Joshua was able to accomplish his goal. If you’re ever interested in reading the rest of Joshua 6, I highly encourage you to do so! It is literally the story of how worship was an act of war. Worship is shown through complete obedience to His instruction, worship through music and shouts, and worship by claiming their circumstance for the Lord. Whenever we seek the Lord, the enemy loses! Satan has no ground to step on because it has already been claimed for the Lord. Does this mean that he will stop trying, no. The enemy will always look for ways to dismantle God’s people but because of Jesus happening into our circumstance, we need not have fear!
Some questions I feel may arise are: 1) What does this story have to do with today’s society and our racial divide? 2) How can we use this story practically to be examples of Jesus’ character in the midst of such hatred and turmoil? Here’s your answer: “Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:6, NIV) Ask the Lord what His instruction is for your life in this battle we’re facing today and do it with complete obedience. You may be called to listen and provide safe spaces for those who feel unheard to open up and express themselves. You may be called to speak and share the Gospel with those who have hatred or anger in their hearts. You could be instructed to serve and give your time to lower income communities to help bridge the gaps of opportunity that are disproportionately sided against people of color. Your role may be to show mercy and grace to those who have racism deeply embedded in their hearts and offer them wisdom to seeing that God created all people and loves each of us deeply and unconditionally regardless of our color. These are only a few examples of what the Lord may have in store for you! The simple act of seeking God in this time is powerful and obedience is an act of worship to the Lord.
There are many instances in the Bible where, in times of desperation, the only thing the Lord’s people could do was to cry out in prayer and worship. If this is where you are, that is ok because God has you right where He needs you. You aren’t always going to be called to do this huge and great act for others. There is power when the smallest of creation seeks the Lord in prayer and worship. One of my favorite passages in the Bible about worship is Psalm 100 (of course it is very long so I won’t write out the whole thing but the beginning verses set the tone nicely). In Psalm 100: 1-3 it says, “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his, we are his people, the sheep of his pasture” (NIV). I worship because it is a declaration of Holy warfare on the enemy. Satan will not win and we as powerful, worship minded women of Christ should have courage in knowing that. It says in Galations 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. One day, we will see this fighting end. We will see this hatred, racism, prejudice, violence, and sorrow end. Have faith in knowing this, sisters! The glory of the Lord shall overcome all evil. It is our job, however, to remember that we were called to be agents of change on behalf of the Gospel and this is something to lift you up, not weigh you down with burden or fear.
It is an honor to be sisters with an incredible community of women who enjoy worship just as I do. Worship is an act of war, ladies! And the sooner we become empowered with this mindset, the more we will see an army of the Lord’s people taking their place as a unified front. Remember, we shall overcome.