Corporate worship is a barrier and weapon against the enemy
Numbers 23:20-21 (NIV)
I have received a command to bless; he has blessed, and I cannot change it. No misfortune is seen in Jacob, no misery observed in Israel. The Lord their God is with them; the shout of the King is among them.
Our corporate worship and praise is more than just a physical act of singing songs, or raising hands, or clapping or dancing. It is a spiritual thing, and works in ways we cannot see, but can sometimes feel. The spiritual darkness that has blinded the eyes of our communities continually resists the force of our worship because it understands and fears its strength and its source.
Today’s verse comes from the story of Balaam, who had been commissioned by Balak, king of Moab, to curse Israel. Balak knew he needed a greater edge over Israel if he was to defeat them in battle, so he tried to use spiritual warfare. The problem was, every time Balaam tried to curse Israel it came out of his mouth as a blessing. He just could not curse Israel. The reason: ‘the Lord their God is with them, the shout of the King is among them.’
There was something in Israel as a nation that resisted the spiritual curse. They weren’t praying against Balaam; in fact, they had no idea any of this was going on at the time. They were just doing life, day to day, week to week, going to work, fixing the sink, teaching the kids, making bread, feeding the livestock. The outflow of their corporate praise, their unity and sense of oneness and purpose as God’s people, brought a protection that they were completely unaware of. That’s the power of corporate worship. Praise that started in the house of God destroyed the power of the curse, and that’s still true today.
Loudness has been one of the most disputed issues in churches over the years, mainly because the spirit of religion that pervades much of how we worship together would seek to keep the people of God quiet as much as possible. There’s nothing wrong with quietness – there are times when it is essential so we can hear God’s voice and express depths of worship that are beyond words. But I’m not talking about individuals shouting, or wanting the freedom to be as noisy as they want (see yesterday’s devotion); I’m talking about a corporate loudness, a unified shout of praise. There is a shout waiting to be heard from us, that starts as a physical noise and becomes an incredible spiritual shout that causes strongholds to fall, prison walls to crumble, demons to flee, and God’s glorious light to shine upon our communities.
Let’s be bold with our praise when we come to meet together. Let’s not allow self-consciousness, or pride, or religious piety, to rob us or our communities from the incredible, overwhelming and life-changing presence and glory of God that He desires to pour out over His people. Be selfless, look to serve and honour others, put aside personal preference in pursuit of a united expression of worship.
Let’s let the shout be heard!