Sing in the Battle
God loves music! It is the most beautiful thing we can do with our breath; to worship Him in song. It’s easy to lift His name in exultation when we are on the mountaintop of life. When things are going well and our hearts are full of joy, it is an outpouring of gratitude for all that the Lord has done.
However, it can be extremely difficult when we feel drained, defeated, and discouraged. How can we muster up the will to sing when we feel like we have no ounce of joy, peace, or praise within us? Perhaps you’re even angry for the circumstances you’re in. Do we just lay our emotions aside? Do we sing through gritted teeth? What good is it going to do anyway? If anything, we’d rather crank up some secular music that so perfectly explains the hurt and anger that we feel and shout those lyrics out at the tops of our lungs. Yet, to sing to the Lord in the darkest and hardest moments of our lives can actually prove to be the most liberating and powerful thing we can do in those moments.
I was going through a rough year. There were so many changes happening in a couple areas of my life, and yet, seeming like there would never be a change in others. By the time my summer holiday rolled around, I was exhausted! I slept half of my holiday away, spent a quarter of it in tears from the exhaustion and the inability to process everything, and the other quarter feeling like I just existed. How was I going to move forward?
Then came September … The craziness of working 2 busy part time jobs as 1 full time position was getting to me. The worst hit when my husband and his family all left to the west coast for his brother’s wedding. I was stuck at home, unable to fly, because of my concussion symptoms and the busyness of work. I really had nothing left. I crashed into bed each night in tears after trying to manage even more responsibilities with my husband away.
His mother sent me a text while they were away asking how I was doing. In all honesty, I told her I was struggling, though I didn’t want to explain anything else in fear of ruining their time away. She let it be that night, and took some time to ask the Lord for a verse to share with me. Instead of receiving that, she felt the Lord tell her that I was in a spiritual battle and needed to sing.
I had been thinking that week that I hadn’t really listened to any music lately. Worship music always seems to speak to my soul and empower me. Yet, I wasn’t interested nor felt like I had any strength to sing anyways. Then I received her text encouraging me to sing. I forced myself to find a couple of songs I had previously connected with and try. I asked God to give me the strength and the voice to do so.
It didn’t come immediately, but within a couple of weeks, I felt God’s strength return. I felt the power and clarity of the Holy Spirit return to my soul and give me joy, strength, and peace to know what changes needed to happen and what areas I needed to surrender. Part of the clarity that came was the drive to pursue this very moment; sharing His working through me to you.
I came across two stories as I researched Scripture to validate the reasoning of singing in the battle.
Paul and Silas had been teaching others about Jesus in Philippi. A demon possessed slave girl was following them around and taunting them for days. Paul was so irritated that he eventually called the demon out of the girl. This stopped the flow of money that her masters were making on her fortune-telling. Because of this, her owners had Paul and Silas seized, dragged before the magistrates, and turned the crowds against them. In the rash attacks and decisions everyone was making, Paul and Silas were stripped and “beaten with rods. After they had inflicted many blows on them, they threw them in jail, ordering the jailer to keep them securely guarded. Receiving such an order, he put them into the inner prison and secured their feet in the stocks.” (Acts 16:22-23)
A few verses later, it shares Paul and Silas’ response in the midst of pain and adversity:
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.” (Acts 16:25-34)
How amazing is this story! These men were treated unjustly. There was no court appearing, no defense, just straight up violence and abuse! Yet, Paul and Silas saw it for what it was and chose to worship in the midst of their bodies aching, having no idea what the future held for them. They chose to look to God rather than their current circumstances. Because of this, a man and his entire household came to believe in Jesus!
It is through moments like this that we are reminded of our testimonies. People learn from others. They find hope and power through the stories of others overcoming trials. They are even more amazed when others can do it joyfully. It is not easy! It is not the first choice that we often make. Yet, what a powerful reminder that if we choose to worship Jesus through our afflictions, it can be a life changer for those observing our lives.
So what is it about singing that makes the difference? What is it that empowers us to sing praises in the midst of suffering, and that offers strength when we have none? I think the story of King Jehoshaphat can explain this a little further.
The land of Judah had been divided and was struggling. Three nations were coming against them in battle and it looked hopeless to Judah. They were being cornered and didn’t have the fight within themselves to overcome. King Jehoshaphat called all of the people of Judah together to pray and fast. They sought the Lord in their distress.
Then “the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel, and he said, “Listen carefully, all Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat. This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast number, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow, go down against them. You will see them coming up the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the valley facing the Wilderness of Jeruel. You do not have to fight this battle. Position yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. He is with you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Tomorrow, go out to face them, for Yahweh is with you.’”
Then Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord to worship Him. Then the Levites from the sons of the Kohathites and the Korahites stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel shouting with a loud voice.
… Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
‘Give thanks to the Lord,
for his love endures forever.’
As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.” – 1 Chron. 20:15-22
King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah learned the importance of seeking the Lord and fully trusting and surrendering to Him. Through heading into battle in worship, the battle was won, in more ways than one.
When we give ourselves to God in worship, it causes us to surrender all of ourselves in that moment to Him. We are declaring that He is bigger and mightier than whatever battle we are facing. We are allowing the Holy Spirit to gain more ground, to knock down barriers, and free our souls. When we move into a state of worship, we allow the Lord to minister to our deepest hurts and bring healing.
Judah could have carried on in doubt after Jahaziel prophesied. They could have chosen to let fear cripple them and be defeated. They could have waved the preverbal white flag and become slaves to these nations. However, they surrendered to the King of Kings. They chose to believe the prophesy and to praise God before He showed the results. They surrendered in praise and thanksgiving to their Sovereign God and the results were amazing. They didn’t fight a single man in battle. They worshipped and God fought for them.
Therefore, when you’re facing hard times and walking through your own battle, choose to surrender and worship. Choose to give everything over to the Father and praise Him for who He is. Allow your heart and soul to stay vulnerable so that the Holy Spirit has the freedom to minister to you. Through this, your soul will be restored. You never know what God can do with a faithful and vulnerable heart. Maybe someone else will come to have a relationship with Jesus because of the life of worship you choose to live.
Psalms 59:16 states: “I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.”