WORSHIP THE LORD
The Hebrew word for worship is shaha. It means to bow low or to prostrate oneself. Worship involves our bowing low before the Lord, bowing our hearts. It involves a reverential fear of God. (Discernment Ministries)
Psalm 96:8-9 New King James Version (NKJV)
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of [His]
There is an underlying humbleness and awesome fear of the Lord involved in worship – an acknowledgement that He is King of Kings, God above all gods, El Shaddai, One Who has no equal. Man cannot look upon His face and live. Yet He, our Father, allows us to respectfully and gratefully come intimately into His Holy Presence. Worship is a most solemn event, a reverential one. On the one hand we realize He is the glorious Creator of the Universe, the Omnipotent, Omniscient, Divine God. While on the other hand, He is also our Abba, Daddy. We dare not treat our worship of this awesome God in a frivolous manner. It is only fitting and proper for us to study Biblical examples of the use of music in worship that we might be deeply grateful for His role in our lives and humbled by His awesome power in His creation.
The Bible is replete with musical interludes, filled with people bursting forth to honor and glorify the God Who has done wondrous things in their behalf. The following are just a few examples exalting His mighty works.
The Parting of the Red Sea
Exodus 15 records the joyous song of God’s people who have seen the Hand of the Almighty as He parts the Red Sea to save them from Pharaoh and his soldiers:
Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying:
“I will sing to the Lord for He has triumphed gloriously!
The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!
2 The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my [victory];
He is my God, and I will praise Him; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.”
Exodus 12:37-38 states that 600,000 men crossed the Red Sea. If you extrapolate that according to a normal Jewish family at that time, the estimate would be approximately 4-6 million people praising the Lord with all their hearts in the most melodious a capella choir imaginable! Surely the entire countryside – every living thing — was filled with the symphony of this glorious praise! http://lavistachurchofchrist.org/LVanswers/2004/2004-07-10a.htm
Jericho: Praise Used in Warfare
Incredibly, however, this massive choir of praisers did not all remain faithful to the Lord. Joshua and Caleb were the only adult Israelites in that first generation who crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land (Numbers 14:24). Only they had a “different spirit” and wholly trusted in the Lord. Here we see God’s method of separation at work, separating the profane from the holy, those who simply “profess” the Lord with their mouths from those who commit their whole hearts to Him.
Unlike Joshua and Caleb, the other Israelites followed the Lord’s calling out from Egypt, but they did not follow Him into the land. Many Christians repeat this same error today. They have followed the Lord as He led them out of the spiritual death of sin and guilt. They are “out of Egypt.” They are forgiven of their sins. They have new life in Christ. However, they do not follow the Lord on “into the land.” They do not follow by faith into abundance of life. They do not follow the Lord in humble dependence for transformation, for fruitfulness, for a life of spiritual victory. https://www.blueletterbible.org/devotionals/dbdbg/view.cfm?Date=0830
There were only 601,740 family men suggesting a total population of two and a half million including women and children who went across the Jordan into the Promised Land and fought this first battle at Jericho.
Joshua 6:1-27 is a glorious account of what was to be the Israelites’ first test case of absolute obedience to their God. Their goal: to capture Jericho.
Jericho (Joshua 6:1)…was an unconquerable, walled city. Excavations there reveal that its fortifications featured a stone wall 11 feet high and 14 feet wide. At its top was a smooth stone slope, angling upward at 35 degrees for 35 feet, where it joined massive stone walls that towered even higher. It was virtually impregnable. https://www.gotquestions.org/walls-of-Jericho.html
However, the Israelites’ Commander-in-Chief, the Omniscient, Omnipotent God had a strategic weapon in mind to defeat this unbeatable foe: praise —loud, obedient praise. For six days the entire army would lead the procession accompanied by the priests blowing their trumpets continuously in front of the Ark of the Covenant — the Presence of God — and the people were to remain totally silent. They would do this one time for six days exactly as commanded. However, on the seventh day their orders changed. On that day they walked around Jericho seven times. Then, on command, the priests blew one long blast on their trumpets, Joshua commanded them to “Shout” and when they shouted, the walls crumbled and fell! One mighty shout of victorious praise brought down the virtually impregnable foe! Shout to the Lord all the earth let us sing, power and majesty praise to the King…
Joshua 6:2-5 New King James Version (NKJV)
And the Lord said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. 3 You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. 4 And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5 It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.
Take a good look at verse 2 and notice that God gave them the city before they even marched around the walls! The only requirement was that His people obey His instructions to the letter – which they did.
What caused the strong walls of Jericho to collapse? The most likely explanation is an earthquake. But the nature of the earthquake was unusual. It struck in such a way as to allow a portion of the city wall on the north side of the site to remain standing, while everywhere else the wall fell.
Rahab’s house was evidently located on the north side of the city. She was the Canaanite prostitute who hid the Israelite spies who came to reconnoiter the city. The Bible states that her house was built against the city wall. Before returning to the Israelite camp, the spies told Rahab to bring her family into her house and they would be saved. According to the Bible, Rahab’s house was miraculously spared while the rest of the city wall fell.
This is exactly what archaeologists found. The preserved city wall on the north side of the city had houses built against it.
The timing of the earthquake and the manner in which it selectively took down the city wall suggests something other than a natural calamity. A Divine Force was at work. In the New Testament, we read,
By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days. By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient (Hebrews 11:30-31).
Notice the instruments of warfare that were used in this battle: the priests carrying the ark of the covenant blowing their trumpets with the people shouting praises to their God! Such is the power of Godly praise — it can demolish a city! God went on to duplicate this method of propitiously sending an earthquake once again in the Bible in the book of Acts. Yet, before we discuss that event, I have something for you to ponder. Here we have an army of “rookies”who have wandered in the wilderness for 40 years and have finally been confronted with the reality of their first “battle” which seems like an impossible win to the naked eye. The question must be asked: why would the Lord put them in such a seemingly impossible situation for their first battle in The Promised Land – why not give them an easier task to grow their confidence? I think it was simply because this way they could see that with God nothing was impossible; or, to use the vernacular, after this, everything was a piece of cake. If God could show them how to take Jericho by His power and with Him on their side, He could show them how to take any city, win any battle. I also think that’s why He didn’t use conventional weapons. We simply see God being God; His people obeying Him to the letter and praising Him with such faith in the victory that they praised before the walls collapsed. After all, verse two tells us that He told them they would be victorious before they shouted…so why not SHOUT! Isn’t this a beautiful lesson for us to learn too? When the Lord gives us the promise of His Word, we should believe it with such certainty that we, too, can shout with praise before our natural eyes see the fulfillment of that promise. Isn’t that the definition of faith (Hebrews 12:1) and, come to think of it, isn’t that the exact reason why the Lord called this glorious new place “The Promised Land”?