These chapter reviews from Iverna’s out-of-print book, Another Look at Worship, appeared on the Lion Cubs page of the ITM website during 2007. This is the compilation of the chapters 4 and 5 of the book. The rest of the chapter reviews (6 and 7) are currently appearing on the "Insights from Iverna" page, updated each month.
Another Look at Worship
Iverna Tompkins (1994)
Edited and condensed by Jane Vaughn
Review Part 2
(Chapters 4 and 5)
Chapter 4 – Discussion of Worship –
Talking about the Lord;
Talking about Worship
“One generation shall praise Thy works to another,
and shall declare Thy mighty acts.
I will speak of the glorious honour of Thy majesty,
and of Thy wondrous works.
And men shall speak of the might of Thy terrible acts;
and I will declare Thy greatness.
They shall abundantly utter the memory of Thy great goodness, and shall sing of Thy righteousness.
My mouth shall speak of the praise of the Lord:
and let all flesh bless His holy name for ever and ever.”
Psalm 145:4-7; 21
Part 1 – Expressing our Worship
As we grow in our ability to experience the Presence of the Lord, and thereby experience deep-seated joy in spite of our circumstances, we continue to learn how to praise Him even more. Looking at Jesus, seeing Him in ever-increasing vistas of His character, appreciating every facet of His beauty – our hearts simply over-flow in praise. When I reach the end of my English vocabulary, I’m delighted to know that the Holy Spirit carries on (Rom.8:26,27) and describes to the Lord the beauties I cannot express in my own ability. I surrender to the moving of the Spirit from within my being and break forth in the unknown tongue He provides.
That is very good, but we need to use our own vocabulary – not for Him, but for us. We need to hear what we’re saying. When I verbalize to Him, “I love You,” and hear my own voice, I feel something real within and I respond. “Oh, yes, Lord, I really do love You!” Many people object to the instruction to praise aloud, believing they have been praising the Lord in their hearts for years. That’s worship, but it isn’t praise until it’s actually expressed. Praise is the “fruit of our lips” (Heb.13:15).
We can read the Psalms to discover a whole new praise vocabulary. Basically, what the psalmists say is, “Lord, You’re so great!” We’ve been using Psalm 145 to guide us along, and we can see that the writer sees God as great and vast and mighty and an expanse beyond everything. He speaks directly to the Almighty: “I will extol Thee, my God, O king…” And some of the praise Psalms go into great detail as they literally speak of the Lord.
Talking is actually quite important. “I believed, therefore have I spoken” (Ps.116:10). What is truly relied upon in our life comes forth in words. Romans 10:10 declares, “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” The heart and the mouth function together. Or, look at Psalm 106:12 – “Then believed they His words; they sang His praise.” The Israelites counted on what God said.
Jesus, our Beloved Bridegroom, longs to hear what we’re saying to Him. In Song of Solomon, the King says, “…let me hear thy voice, for sweet is thy voice…” (2:14). Are there not times when you feel you simply must hear someone special’s voice – not read the email? The love in me hungers for that. And it pleases Him when we talk to one another about Him.
In Malachi 3:16 it says, “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name.” He wrote down in a book what they said about Him! From this we can surely see how significant our talking is to the Lord.
A particular benefit of talking about the things of the Lord is that it helps us to clarify what we know. The Bible tells us that in the last days, there will be many false prophets and teachers spewing forth a lot of words that are not truly from the Lord (Mt.24:11; 2Pet.2:1; Ac.20:30). We need to be exercised in discernment (Heb.5:14) and confident in what we know about the Lord so we will not be ones who fall for the false doctrines (Mt.24:24).
We also want to be secure in the knowledge of God so that if He moves us from one location to another, we will not falter in our walk with Him. It is important that we learn the difference between what God says to us and what others tell us He is saying.
Worship can be man speaking to God – “I love You, Lord.” And He responds, “I love you, too.” Glorious communion. But it can also be man talking to man about God. That is praise. Have you ever noticed that it is easy to strike up a conversation with a stranger if one person has a difficulty to mention? That elicits much conversation. But when there is nothing in particular to discuss, we find it most difficult to carry on any sort of conversation, and may even become uneasy in the silence.
We surely can talk about how good the Lord is and share something He’s done – which would remind us of something else good that He did. Or, we could speak of His power, wisdom, truth, and grace – and they are certain to spark further discussion. We are discussing worship. We’re talking about the goodness of God and it’s one way we can way-lay the negatives of life and bring benefits to others.
Humans are by nature extremely self-centered. When we are born again, we learn to put Jesus first. Then He said to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Mk.12:31; Mt.22:39; Lev.19:18), so we also must learn an appropriate kind of self-love. As we get our discussions of worship with God into a rightful place, our proper self-love (i.e. concern for good) is going to be developed so that our desire to benefit (love) others will come from the awareness of the goodness of God to ourselves. Then we won’t be pouring out the negatives, but telling the wondrous works of God and declaring His greatness.
The discussion of worship will also cause guilt to be alleviated. Guilt is an effective tool used by the enemy in the church. He uses both guilt and depression to bring believers low and render them ineffective witnesses to the power of God. Discouragement will produce depression so all the enemy needs to do is water down a beautiful work God begins in the community, church, or individual. The negative thoughts begin to flow. Depression then feeds itself with guilt for being depressed and leads to digging up past guilts as well. Guilt-ridden people will not praise or pray with faith and without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb.11:6).
The Holy Spirit comes to remind us that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from ALL unrighteousness (1Jn.1:9) and that because of the price Jesus paid for our redemption, there is now no condemnation (Rom.8:1). Let’s realize when the Holy Spirit speaks to us: He instructs us, encourages us, and brings us the truth that will set us free from all bondages (Jn.8:32). When necessary, He will bring conviction which leads us to confession and cleansing. Condemnation comes from the accuser and just hangs on us making us feel the weight of guilt.
One of the greatest truths we need to embrace is that when a thing is forgiven by God, it is blotted out of the record (Ac.3:19). There is no need to bring back to the altar of forgiveness the same old sins. Once we have confessed and repented and begun on a new path, God forgets (Heb.10:16,17). If we honestly believed our position in Christ (Eph.2:6), we would pose a tremendous threat to the forces of hell! Let’s remind ourselves of this great fact by praising the Lord for His wonderful provisions of mercy and grace, and then encourage one another by talking about the fullness of His forgiveness, the certainty of the meaning of the cross, and the incredible love of Jesus as He gave Himself for us that we might walk in freedom from guilt and depression! (Gal.1:4;2:20).
* * * * * *
Chapter 4 – Discussion of Worship –
Talking about the Lord; Talking about Worship
Part 2 –
Personal benefits gained from
There are five other benefits to us, ourselves, in discussing worship. We will discuss the first three in this message.
1. It will stir our faith.
As we talk with one another about the goodness and faithfulness of God, even over the telephone, it pumps up our faith. We may not be feeling strong in our own faith, but when someone else calls with a negative going on their life, we can either commiserate with them and both of us go deeper into the mire, or we can encourage each other by discussing how good God actually is. It’s just impossible to communicate about the goodness of our God without stirring our own faith.
On a certain occasion, the Apostle Paul wrote to his “son in the faith,” Timothy, to stir up the faith that was in him (2Tim.1:6). Why do you suppose Paul wrote so stiffly to him? Paul had left Timothy in charge of furthering the works they had begun together, by helping the new churches to become established and grow. Paul well-knew of the negatives of life and the difficulties that faced Timothy (i.e.1Tim.4:12-16). He also knew Timothy had within him everything he needed to be successful in growing up the new converts around him (1Tim.4:14). And Paul knew Timothy would have to stir up his own faith.
We also must exercise the same operation daily. Humans are so easily affected in a negative way, even by the weather. When we begin the day by offering a sacrifice of praise (Heb.13:15) – “I will praise You!” – it may be difficult, but it will activate our faith and the Presence of the Lord will come. Pressures of life arise to perfect something in us (Ac.14:22; Rom.5:3f). We need to have developed proper habit patterns that will work to help us focus on what edifies.
The ministry of the Word will definitely stir our faith: “Faith comes by hearing, hearing the word (rhema) of God” (Rom.10:17). Not just the written word (logos) but the spoken word (rhema) – alive from God to us. But there will be times when we cannot get to a place where someone with an anointing speaks the word of the Lord. The Holy Spirit within us will teach us as we look to Him and say, “Lord, I will stir up my faith today. I will extol You, my God.” As we speak it, the Holy Spirit bears witness to that word and our faith is stirred.
The development of this habit pattern cannot take place when we hit our lowest “lows.” Faith does grow. As we stir it right now, we can let it settle back down to nothingness for two or three days and then stir it again, and it will go a little bit higher. But if I stir it today and I stir it tonight and I stir it in the morning, then my faith is on a continuing increase. I don’t have to hit that low point. I can believe today because of what I saw God do yesterday.
When we talk about how God has walked us through a situation, it builds our faith, it builds the faith of those who hear our testimony, and it ministers to God as worship. Giving testimony helps us to see how God was with us through the details of each step. “I was prayed for, I still felt the symptoms of the illness, and I didn’t know whether I was moving in presumption or in faith. But it was God!” Discussing in this way with others will bless them because so many times there is a person in our hearing who has felt the same way, but was afraid to say so, condemning themselves for some of the feelings they have had.
We need to be able to share honestly because the truth is, none of our situations is that unique – at least in principle (1Cor.10:13). Let’s learn to communicate on every level. “I was discouraged and this is what happened. God did this…” We may have to mention the negative circumstance, but we are to speak the truth in love (Eph.4:15) and faith works by love (Gal.5:6), so there is a beautiful balance. Every bit of our conversation is to give glory to God. It stirs your faith, but mine as well.
2. It stimulates hunger in both directions.
When I begin to tell you about what the Lord has done in my life, it makes me want more. It’s like deciding to go on a diet. We start thinking about what we can and can’t eat and just the discussion makes us feel like we are going to die of hunger! It doesn’t matter if we’ve just eaten, all we have to do is simply talk about yummy food and we’re ready and eager to eat again.
When we begin to discuss worship, we say something like, “Oh, last night, the Presence of the Lord filled this temple. First, it was in each one of us as the Temple of God (1Cor.3:16;6:19) and then collectively in this place. There was an atmosphere of His Presence. What a glorious night! How thrilling it was to stand in His Presence and worship Him!”
Some people don’t want to hear that because their churches are so dead. But we need to hear it! We need to get so hungry that we get ourselves into His Presence and begin to eat and fill up so that fullness in us will make the “dead church” respond and hunger to come to life in Him.
When we share our personal testimony, people become aware that if He did it for us, He can (and will) do it for them. That’s His mercy and grace as we discuss the worship (worth-ship) of the Lord. What it does is to create a hunger in both directions.
3. It selects for us a proper perspective.
When we begin to discuss worship instead of the tragedies in the land, and we begin to make this a reality in our lives, we’re no longer afraid of anything (2Tim.1:7f). How can we fear when we are talking about the greatness of the God we serve? When we adopt a God-focused perspective, or His perspective concerning all the details of our lives, we can trust Him with everything.
Psalm 145:5 and 6 say: “I will speak of the glorious honour of Thy majesty, and of Thy wondrous works,” because “…men shall speak of the might of Thy terrible acts…” He didn’t just mean unbelievers, but He meant that many people are still only caught up with the terribleness of the acts of God.
This makes us think of the fact that God will be our Judge. But we must remember that He is the just Judge, and the only One who can judge with equity (Jn.5:30). Thus, we can trust it all to His hands. He will judge fairly and rightly and in the meantime, isn’t it wonderful that we are in the hollow of His mighty hand! (Is.49:16; Is.54:17). We simply look at Jesus – this is communicating worship.
The danger is that we want to leave this type of discussion to the leaders. It is our responsibility as well. This is the hope that a hopeless world, and unfortunately too many hopeless Christians, are looking for. They need a hope-filled person who can relate to them a reason for living (1Pet.3:15).
Perspective. We can look at the terrors in our land, or, we can see that this is a time when the Church is coming into greater power than she has ever had because God is revealing His ways to us. “He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel” (Ps.103:7). God is no longer just making known His acts – those explosions of dunamis-power. He is teaching us His ways even as He did Moses.
Could this mean then, as we are living in this day of revelation and power, that God is giving us greater responsibility to be deliverers of His people as He teaches us and fills us with His Spirit? He doesn’t give us the Holy Spirit so we can go around being the proud possessor of Him, but for the same reason He placed His Spirit on Jesus. Look at Isaiah 11:2 – “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord…”
God has given us His Spirit that His work might go on (Jn.14:12) and that we might deliver His people. As we begin to discuss worship, talking about God’s goodness and the many things He has become to us, the perspective, the eye, what the body will be filled with, will be the light of the Presence of Jesus Christ. Jesus wants this in us: that we know Him and His ways so well, no matter what anyone says, we will know if it is so.
* * * * * *
Chapter 4 – Discussion of Worship –
Talking about the Lord;
Talking about Worship
Part 3 – More Personal benefits gained from Discussing Worship
1. The discussion of worship secures deliverance.
Remember when Paul and Silas were in prison? (Ac.16:19-40). We need to imagine ourselves in their place. So often when we read the Word of God we place the people involved in positions that makes them seem super-human. We think, “Well, that was Paul…” But the truth is, they were people just like us, doing the work of the Lord to the best of their understanding – exactly in the place of God’s choosing.
How might we react to similar situations? We might talk “big”: “Here we are – God’s anointed, God’s chosen. When they mess with us – they’re messing with God! I feel sorry for them when God steps in here. They are going to be in big trouble!” What is speaking there is actually fear. Our fear.
The secure person in Christ would say, “They’re not going to get me down. I will praise the Lord no matter what.” God wants us to come to such a point of confidence, even though there may be times when He permits our “captivity” for the moment. Will we be like Paul and Silas? They talked worship. “Isn’t God good? Do you realize we’re getting the whole night off?” :-) When you talk about the Lord you often just end up praying as well – talking to God, Himself.
Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God. “Oh, Lord, You are great! Hallelujah! Thank You for this opportunity and thank You we can share this time together - we’re roommates. :-) Your love is unfailing. Your ways are perfect. Lord, You are so good!” As they sang, it was as if the Lord said, “That’s it! Here’s liberation for My kids if they’re going to make that kind of effort and believe Me to be their deliverance.”
Can we understand that when God delays His divine response to our troubles, it is for our development? What we need to come to in understanding is that we already have what we need from Him, we just have to use it. Paul and Silas said, “We worship You.”
And God’s response was, “There’s deliverance in that for you.” Many of us today are bound in certain areas of our lives and we need the true deliverance that comes to us as we begin to talk worship to God – and then to those all around us.
2. It supersedes the enemy attack.
One time when Paul was shipwrecked (Ac.28) the crew and prisoners swam to an island. Being cold and wet, they built a fire. As Paul was reaching over to put some sticks on the fire, a poisonous viper took hold of his hand. What did he do? Did he stand there and say authoritatively: “In the name of Jesus, if I eat any deadly thing it shall not harm me, and You’ve given me power and authority over the enemy, and in Jesus’ name, I mean it, in Jesus’ name…” No, he did not do that. That’s what we do! :-) The Bible says he merely shook it off.
The Church has moved through a time when we were so focused on exorcism and demons. I assure you, I believe they are real and on occasion they do possess people. But while the Lord has granted us power to release people from the hold of the enemy, He has never called us to specialize in throwing out demons! We are not to focus on them. Remember, what you gaze upon is what you become full of… and demons are usually associated with fear.
The Bible tells us that if we worship and praise Him, we have a covenant with God that “There shall no strange god be in thee” (Ps.81:9). Some people are so afraid that a demon has jumped on them or that they are possessed and they’re fearful of this and of that. First, if one is possessed they wouldn’t be afraid of it. “It” becomes their “friend.” Second, demons cannot come against the blood of Jesus Christ. If we don’t have that protection, we don’t have any protection!
My personal opinion is that a believer can be influenced in areas of their lives by demons, but I truly believe we need to learn to shake it off. Instead of making such a big deal out of each time we hear from the enemy, who will shout and scream at us, we need to recognize that the only power he has left since Jesus came forth in Resurrection Power and stripped him (Col.2:15), is the power of deception. And he certainly exerts it over the child of God who will listen, and that is tragic.
The enemy accuses us, to us: “you are powerless.” And so we agree with his lie and say to ourselves, “I am powerless.” Why do we go on believing him? Jesus said there was no truth in him (Jn.8:44). But satan will twist the truth to suit his purposes. And a good liar will stick as close to the truth as possible and deviates only where necessary to accomplish his purpose. He even used God’s Word to tempt Jesus in the wilderness (Lk.4:1-13).
The enemy is particularly subtle in projecting thoughts into our minds – negative, lewd, evil, vengeful, “poor-me” thoughts. It displays his cowardice as he waits, patiently, for the child of God to tire and become relaxed. Note that he cannot read your mind and therefore does not know what you do with such thoughts. Once we give voice to what we’re thinking, however, he is privy to that. This certainly shows the importance of what we say! So, let’s give all glory to the Lord alone and combat such thought-implants with praises to God! Shake off the enemy and extol our God!
The same benefits that come to us will come to others. Hebrews 10:24 says, “Consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” We must learn to restrain the temptation to talk about our “lows” and think about the effect that will have on the listeners. As we turn from these very real negatives and begin to share the goodness of God with others, we are stimulating our own faith and the faith in our hearers. We stir up a new perspective in us and give a new perspective to them. Even if the situation doesn’t change, we are delivered from the negative of it. We have superseded; we’ve gone over; we’ve been greater in this than any attack that the enemy could ever bring on us. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” (Rev.12;11).
Ephesians 5:18 and 19 gives us a means of communicating and discussing worship of the Lord: “Be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” He wants us not only to speak it, but to begin to sing it to Him. In Colossians 3:16, Paul says it just a little differently, but it is the same instruction – we are to “teach and admonish one another” with psalms and hymns… We minister to ourselves and we encourage others at the same time.
Why the importance of singing? When we become comfortable singing what is called “the song of the Lord,” we will find it difficult not to sing because it is the highest expression of praise. It is conversation placed to music and it brings us into the Presence of God (Ps.100:2). Whether or not we sing “well” is not the point. When we sing to the Lord, our desire is not to sound beautiful, singing lovely harmonies. It is to minister to the Lord, not worrying about what the person next to us thinks or hears. To God, our voices are lovely.
When we allow the Holy Spirit to be the leader, corporate worship will rise and fall as He directs. He will bring it to a stop when it’s time, and as we are sensitive to Him, we won’t try to keep it going when He says it’s over. We won’t try to mentally figure out what should be done, we’ll simply respond to Him.
* * * * * *
Chapter 5 – Deliverance of Worship –
Being Victorious Through Worship
“All Thy works shall praise Thee, O Lord;
and Thy saints shall bless thee.
They shall speak of the glory of Thy kingdom,
and talk of Thy power;
To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts,
and the glorious majesty of His kingdom.
Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and Thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.
The Lord unholdeth all that fall,
and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.
The eyes of all wait upon Thee;
and Thou givest them their meat in due season.
Thou openest thine hand,
and satisfieth the desire of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all His ways,
and holy in all His works.
The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him,
to all that call upon Him in truth.
He will fulfill the desire of them that fear Him:
He also will hear their cry, and will save them.
The Lord preserveth all them that love Him:
but all the wicked will He destroy.
My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord:
and let all flesh bless His holy name for ever and ever.
God wants us to praise regardless of how we feel because He knows the power of the sacrifice of praise. That sacrifice is basic to the deliverance we find in worship. Read the passage above again, slowly and with thought as you discover the ways He protects us, revealing the defensive part of deliverance.
This is a true statement: “I cannot live the Christian life!” We cannot. No one can live a Christian life but Christ, Who is “in you, the hope of glory” (Col.1:27). Paul qualified it: “I can do it, I can do anything. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil.4:13). So, the conclusion is, we cannot live the life without Him, but with Him we can succeed in all things.
It is only as He delivers us with His provisions that we can walk a straight way for Him which others can follow. We don’t have to worry about becoming prideful when we accomplish great things by His power within, for the Lord takes care of it when we continually recognize Him as the source of our ability and walk.
In the Psalm above, it is as if the Lord is saying, “If you will praise Me and worship Me, I’ll protect you and lift you up.” Verse 14 tells us the Lord upholds and sustains, or keeps, us all. He does this beautifully in us first, and then through us, His Church. God wants to teach us how to lift up others as He lifts us.
In our own minds, we may seem so unworthy of His love, and as sinners, we are. But what He sees in us that is of worth – is Himself: “I believe in Me – in you.” As we continue to praise Him, we will find His opened hand satisfying, delivering from the lacks, and providing the fullness of His salvation.
We must not confine our conception of God’s provision for us as solely defensive. There are definite times when He wants us to take the initiative in warfare. He wants us to move in wisdom and in His power. I can imagine Him coming back and asking us just how much “land” we have “taken” since we left Egypt. I believe we bow out of some battles because we haven’t seen God move in the past in just the way we figured He would. When we prayed for healing and it didn’t come immediately, we walked away figuring we just “didn’t have the power.” And that prevents us from entering the fray from then on.
We must bow to His Lordship – and His ways. Why does He heal one and not another? I don’t know, but I do know He is Lord of all! And I know that the Word says to “lay hands on the sick and they will recover” (Mk.16:15). I can only rightly conclude that my concern is not to testify of the experiences that have happened, but rather to tell what the Word of God says.
We can testify over and over again to the move of God in services, and that would excite us – at least for that church where the “move” was experienced. The important thing is for the believer to find the Word of God and to move into that Word for himself – to know the truth of God’s Word. Then when the enemy comes and taunts you with: “It didn’t work for you,” we’ll be able to say with confidence, “It doesn’t matter. That’s not important. It does work! God’s Word is reality.”
This is not mind over matter; it’s not the power of positive thinking. This is reality! If God said it, God is behind it, and it is Truth.
Let’s learn from another Psalm: 68:1-4 says, “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; let them also that hate Him flee before Him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice. Sing unto God, sing praises to His name: extol Him that rideth upon the heavens by Him name JAH, and rejoice before Him.”
There are some things taking place that are important for us to comprehend, as God is already arising on our behalf.
1. God’s enemies will be scattered.
It is amazing to realize that within the confines of our churches, there are enemies of God. These are the ones who want all kinds of religion, or religious practices or church traditions, but they don’t want any true spirituality. They have occupied the pews for years. But, when the people of God begin to worship the Lord and let God arise, on the authority of His Word, these enemies will depart. The enemy flees when the Presence of God arises.
2. Those that hate Him will flee before Him.
This does not refer to sinners. Sinners don’t even know God, so they cannot hate what (or Whom) they do not know. This speaks of disgruntled persons who are blaming God for every misfortune that comes into their lives. They brood over these negatives until it breeds in them and literally possesses them and then becomes hatred toward God.
Remember we said that the devil, our real enemy, can plant thoughts in our minds. Left unchecked by us, they will begin to control our thinking processes completely. When we feed on those negative thoughts about God, we come to stay angry at Him for something that happened long ago.
We may never know why God allows tragedies in lives, but He has been known to allow things in lives that will bring people to understanding of truth. God loves them enough to let them get mad at Him and even vent. He loves enough to put up with that because there will come a day when He can arise in His people. When they see that reality, they will flee before Him. And when they flee before Him, they will realize Who they’ve left!
3. The wicked will perish at the Presence of God.
This is not speaking of the person who acts wickedly. It’s speaking of the wickedness. You cannot stay in the Presence of a Holy God in a state of unholiness. You would be unable to endure it. When we begin to worship and praise the Lord, notice that some people become agitated. They wiggle and squirm and feel silly. Why, now, at this point in the service? Something happens when God has the permissive right (from those who choose to worship), to come forth and dwell in and among His people. The Presence of the Lord is very compelling and it being returned to the Church.
Praise becomes a spiritual weapon that brings victory. As we praise the Lord, evil spirits will flee (Jas.4:7). We have a part to play in all of this, a responsibility in the rising of God. The following is what the Scriptures instruct that we must do. The command is accompanied by the original meaning in the Hebrew language.
- Let the righteous be glad – meaning “to make merry and be joyful.”
- Let them rejoice –- “to jump for joy.”
- Let them exceedingly rejoice – “to brighten up; to be cheerful.”
- Let them sing unto God.
- Let them sing praises – with stringed instruments.
- Let them extol Him – “to cast Him up, magnify Him.”
- Let them rejoice before Him – “jump or dance for joy.”
While this may not seem logical, it is God’s way. He says that if we will praise Him, worship Him, brighten up, be glad in our spirit, and look to Him, He will dwell in our midst and take care of our enemies. We have only to trust Him.
* * * * * *
Chapter 5 – Deliverance of Worship –
Being Victorious Through Worship
Part 2 – The Amazing Ways of God
Praise can be a mighty weapon for deliverance as we recognize the truth of 2 Corinthians 10:3 and 4: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds)…”
I am a great believer in prayer and I believe we have power and authority in prayer that is yet untapped although we are coming into it. But there is also an authority in praise, and the time has come for us to realize this.
When we begin in prayer on behalf of others and move into praise, there is power that goes forth that is different from that when we pray alone. And then, if we move on into worship, maintaining a recognition that we are in still in warfare, bondages begin to disappear. This is not a manipulative tool to use “against” a person’s will. But it is a powerful work that is effective in the spiritual realms, and we must recognize that the battle truly is the Lord’s.
Jehoshaphat, the king of God’s people (2Chron.20), had fearful reports coming to him of armies marching against them. The people, of course, looked to their king for a plan. He realizes they are outnumbered by this great army. What to do? Jehoshaphat stands with his people identifying himself with them and prays to God. “Lord, we have no might against this great company. There’s no way, Lord, that I have any answers. I just don’t know what to do. I have no strategies. So, Lord, we’re coming to You. We are Your people.”
While the people fasted and wore sack cloth as they prayed to God in humility, the Lord spoke through one of the prophets. “Have no fear. The battle is not yours, it’s the Lord’s.” Now that’s an exciting word! But still, here they are and there is the enemy still advancing. When we read this in the Bible, we say, “What a beautiful word from the Lord.” But it’s not any more beautiful than the word we have received in the midst of our turmoil. It is what God says to them, and His point is to encourage them to trust in Him.
In verses 18 and 19, some fell down and worshipped while others stood and others bowed low. All of them had the same word from God, but they all responded differently. Some cried out begging God to act on their behalf; some stood in awesome silence; some were delighted He had spoken; some recognized His presence and were taken by the greatness of God to come. And there were some who shouted, “Hallelujah! We’ve heard from God. Victory is ours! Good night, everybody. Go to bed!" :-)
The next day, when they arose, I’m not sure what may have been going on in their hearts. We could suppose: they awaken with the realization that even though God gave them a word, they can’t help but think, “I wonder what the enemy did all night? I wonder how close they really are.” About that time, Jehoshaphat says, “Hear ye! Hear ye! We have to form a choir!” “A what?” “A choir!”
Now if you knew that you were outnumbered and the enemy was coming closer and closer and your commander-in-chief asked for a choir, wouldn’t you volunteer? Of course – because everybody knows the choir marches behind the army to keep up the morale. The instruction is given: “I want you to sing about how great is our God, and how great is His name.” And they sang like they had never sung before. “That’s beautiful!”
Then, Jehoshaphat orders the choir to the front? “Oh, you mean, to the rear. That’s the normal place.” Jehoshaphat informs them, “No, you are the army.” So, there they are. They can’t back out now, they had volunteered and rehearsed. So, they all get in line and realize no one has a sword – only a song book! :-) “What are we supposed to do?” “Oh, we’re going to sing. Are you ready?” And the rest of the people lined up behind the choir to go down to meet the enemy.
We here in the USA have no idea what it means when the Holy Spirit says, “Charge!” That’s something we do at the Mall! :-) We really don’t know anything about the offensive attack the Holy Spirit wants to lead us in. “God, release us from the fear of warfare and make us willing channels, open vessels, to step forward in Your name, in answer to Your voice, and take back what we rightly possess simply because You say it belongs to us.”
A church that teaches the Word, that knows how to pray, and praises and worships God, and is not frightened of the warfare of today, should be the normal, average, healthy church that the Lord Jesus Christ describes as His precious Beloved.
It’s time for us to see our community as a territory which needs to be taken for God. Not by many tracts being distributed, or many programs being sponsored to attract the multitudes inside the building. We have to learn to let God arise! And as He does, and fills the Temple of the living God, the living waters will flow forth - and men and women will hear and believe and they will come that they might receive – from God.
It’s time to begin to move, like Jehoshaphat’s choir. Motion is the first law of guidance. There are many people sitting around saying, “I’m waiting for a word from God. I’m waiting for the Lord to guide me.” Okay – start moving and as soon as you do, you’re going to hear His voice saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it.” There’s something about movement that as we’re marching along, our faith is stirred.
The choir begins to come into faith and gets lost in praise and worship to the Lord. When they got to the place where the Lord told them the enemy was, one may have nudged another and said, “Look down there. What is that?” “The enemy.” Three enormous armies amassed – only they are fallen flat dead! What happened? They killed each other. And the Lord allowed the Israelites to go and gather the spoil. It took them three days to collect it all.
They had not earned it – it was God’s gift. All they had done was minister unto the Lord their God, so He allowed them the spoil. And what do you suppose they were doing during those three days? Praising the Lord. Of course. And that’s exactly what God has in mind for us! The idea that we just struggle along and survive and beg others to pray for us to hold on till Jesus comes is simply not found in the Word. There’s land to be taken, spoils to recover, and as we begin to move, God is going to guide us into that victory!
We must surrender all our great ideas to the Lord. It is not for us to decide what “land” we will go after. We must follow God’s lead from start to finish. The Lord wants us to know we will be involved in some battles, and they are not ours; they are His. Our involvement is to praise Him, wielding the weapon of praise. And as we do, we will release power in the heavenlies that will cause amazement for the things which will happen when we let God arise in our midst.
Nothing is impossible with God. And He often surprises us with the simple ways He accomplishes things. Even though His ways are so high we can barely know them, He is revealing them to us and we are a part of this army. We must not expect another to fight our spiritual battles for us. Let’s bring those impossible things to God and believe Him to release it now – and praise Him for it.