Worship is the reason why we are saved, 1 Pet 2:9 makes that clear. In fact, the first catechism states that “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” (Side note: that’s the only catechism I remember from my elementary school days!)
So worship is highly important, there’s no doubt about it. But my question today is, is worship warfare? More specifically I should say, is worship a weapon?
I clarify that, because I do believe that worship is integral to spiritual warfare. There are many examples in scripture of this, all the way from Judges 7:15 (Gideon) to 2 Chronicles 20 (Jehoshaphat) to Acts 16 (Paul & Silas) with many others. When people worship God, great things happen.
But, is worship a weapon?
I recently tuned into a live conference stream over the internet, and in their free worship session, they were repeating/singing the phrase “Jezebel is coming down” over and over and over. A few moments later, they were repeating “her blood will be on the walls.” It sure seemed to me like they were using worship as a weapon directed against the enemy… or was that worship?
I also came across a pastor who called worship a weapon, saying that every time you beat a drum, it’s like beating the demons over the head. Hmm….
Is that really what we’re called to do, and how we’re called to do it?
Music is not automatically worship, and worship doesn’t have to be musical.
Worship has to do with giving praise, reverence, and adoration to God. Alone.
Worship is not pointed at any other being in this universe; therefore it is not a weapon, per se. Swords get pointed at the enemy, and you can engage the enemy with a sword. Jesus, when tempted by Satan, used the Word of God (a two-edged sword, Heb 4:12) to counter the attack.
So if worship is not a weapon, what role does it have in warfare? 2 Chronicles 20 does indeed make it clear that it has a highly significant one.
Psalms 22:3 says “But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.” (NKJV).
Does our worship materially change God’s position in the universe? Does our worship actually put Him on the throne in an absolute sense? I would argue it does not. God doesn’t rely on humans or any other being to put Him on the throne; He simply is on the throne. However, I believe this verse is saying that when we worship, God is enthroned in our hearts; our position toward God changes, and we are brought into His throne room, and into His presence. God’s presence is magnified in our lives, and by our closeness, made more powerful in our situation.
Therefore, worship describes our position in warfare. Paul calls this standing in Ephesians 6.
What can happen to you while in the throne room of God, the most powerful being in the universe? Romans 8:35 puts it so eloquently. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” None of these things have much affect on us, when we are in the presence of God, because nothing else matters.
That’s a strong statement, but Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego lived it. So did Stephen. Shadrach & co lived, Stephen didn’t, but both had a glorious testimony of God’s mercy and grace.
I believe that is the secret (if there is one) and the power of true worship.
God has given us each a measure of authority over our own lives, and He respects that. If we don’t surrender to Him, He’s not going to force our hand. When we’re in tough situations, He looks to us to see what our response is.
True worship is complete submission to God, bringing glory to Him simply for who He is, because He is worthy, because He has saved us from darkness (1 Pet 2:9). True worship can be offered in any situation, bad or good, because it is a complete relinquishing of our personal desires for that situation, it releases all control and expectations of a certain outcome, abandoning all to God.
Paul and Silas weren’t sitting in prison praying for an escape route; they were there locked away in the most secure cell, praising God. They were praising Him despite their situation, over and above it. They were not imposing a certain outcome on Him, they were just in His presence, praising God, leaving everything else to Him. Of course we know there was a great earthquake, and all the prisoners were released. That was the outcome of their worship!
Stephen worshiped God while he was being stoned… and he died. He also released every outcome to God, worshiping Him for who He is, and even forgiving the very people that were stoning him. By his total surrender to God’s outcome, he gained a great testimony that is repeated today.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego also worshiped God – alone. They refused to bow down to the idol, and as such were told they had to pay with their lives. I’ve always loved their answer to the king:
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18 NKJV.
That my friend, is true worship. A complete death to self (our own desires and expectations), and living towards Christ. When we reach that place, God is powerful to save, and loves to glorify His name in us.
Revelation 12:11 says:
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
That describes a total death of the flesh and its desires. This site is called “End Time Answers.” I can’t think of a more appropriate answer for any and every situation we may find ourselves in than simply worshiping God.