As promised in the last blog where we looked at the general vision of SHINE, we mentioned the ‘High praises of God’. This phrase is taken from Psalm 149, where it says:
Praise the Lord.
Sing to the Lord a new song,
His praise in the assembly of his faithful people.
2 Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
let the people of Zion be glad in their King.
3 Let them praise his name with dancing
and make music to him with timbrel and harp.
4 For the Lord takes delight in his people;
he crowns the humble with victory.
5 Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor
and sing for joy on their beds.
6 May the praise of God be in their mouths
and a double-edged sword in their hands,
7 to inflict vengeance on the nations
and punishment on the peoples,
8 to bind their kings with fetters,
their nobles with shackles of iron,
9 to carry out the sentence written against them—
this is the glory of all his faithful people.
Praise the Lord.
This Psalm gives us insights into the wisdom of God and how He works through His people when His Name and Kingdom is lifted high for all to see.
The repeated phrase, ‘Let Israel rejoice… Let them praise… Let His faithful people rejoice…’ (Let is spoken many more times in other translations) is a cry from the Psalmist and indeed from God to remove any limitation from God’s people in their unrestrained worship of their God. It is as the people glorify and reveal God in this passionate, powerful and Kingdom focused praise, that God inhabits as a Man of war against the kingdom of the enemy. It is through the decree of God through praise, releasing the declaration of the Word of the King, through preaching and true Spirit anointed prophecy the Psalmist sees the enemy bound and overcome (as was patterned after David’s life). Such a powerful demonstration of the Kingdom of God is witnessed not only among the people of God, but to the nations.
Praise and worship is rightly firstly God centered, for it is only in Him do we live and move and have our being. But there is a Biblical truth about praise that involves ‘announcing’ to powers of darkness and to the peoples of God’s greatness.
It is worth noting that in the book of Revelation, (as well as each stage in Biblical history) upon every decree and action of the Lord and His Kingdom there is thunderous and Christ glorifying praise and worship before the Throne and that which goes forth from the Throne to the World. This comes either preceding the action of God or following it. Even the wicked city ‘Babylon the great’ falls in the midst of Kingdom focused worship! The point is this: God’s people must sing and speak the thing that heaven is singing or saying, and they will see the thing that heaven is doing on the earth. Thus, reminiscing of the old revival songs or trying to invoke the spirit of a past revival by singing one of the key songs of that time will not always bring His Kingly presence into our midst (unless of course He asks us to) rather as Spurgeon says of the song of Ps 149:
This is “a new song”, evidently intended for the new creation, and the men who are of new heart. It is such a song as may be sung at the coming of the Lord, when the new dispensation shall bring overthrow to the wicked and honour to all the saints. The tone is exceedingly jubilant and exultant. All through one hears the beat of the feet of dancing maidens, keeping time to the timbrel and harp.
At my home church we still sing the powerful hymns by the Wesleys and so on, as well as many new songs of substance and anointing. However, we do not sing hymns or old songs because we have to fit them in or feel nostalgic; we do so only if the Lord wants us to sing them at that particular time of His moving. (And often He does.) Many of those hymns are powerful truths about redemption and salvation. I believe they are akin to what Revelation talks about as ‘The Song of Moses’ – the song of rescue and redemption of Christ for His people.
But also the people of God in Revelation are to sing ‘the Song of the Lamb’, which newly announces His final and ultimate victory at the centre of Throne over nations, powers and peoples.
So, how does this apply to SHINE? It applies in everyway. There is now a new season of grace upon the Church of Jesus to fulfill Ps 149. To go in the spirit of Jehoshaphat, Gideon, David, Israel and many others, with a sword and a cry. It is Judah, the tribe of praise and war that had to go first in the OT. And Jesus is the Lion of Judah in the Kingdom of God. It is for us on mission to go with a song of praise in our mouths, declaring ‘The Lord God almighty reigns!’
How can we do such a thing in Swansea? Because we are living in the time of Christ’s finished victory and ascension, and anticipating His return; this is our mandate – to proclaim His triumph over the cities of the world. Ps 149 says it is the ‘glory of His faithful people…’ to do so! SHINE is an appeal to the corporate Church of Jesus to bring that Christ-glorifying song through the unified thundering praise of the saints in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is a cry to hear the worship of heaven fill the atmosphere of a city and a nation once again. The results? It will make way for God to move in power and for the Gospel of the Kingdom to be loosed over the region to the saving of many souls. This is not some triumpalistic notion, but it is the very heartbeat of how heaven works as it rejoices in and announces the finished work of Jesus in these final days.
As I conclude may I say something to those who think that a new song is about being ‘relevant’. That is not the point. (Although we can fall into this trap also!) It is not about singing the latest worship song doing the circuit; it is about singing the heavenly song coming from His Throne, from Mount Zion, the song of the elect worshipping in Heaven right now, which is the song of Moses and the Lamb. And it is not about what we plan for the event to be sung, but rather what He – Jesus, is about to sing over Swansea and Wales, to the loosing of many places and lives. The true spiritual and heavenly at work in our midst through the Gospel’s power will not condemn us to irrelevancy but make us all the more relevant to a world that does not know of the touch of Jesus Christ and is crying out for an alternative to what it has – the Kingdom of Heaven. As one man once said:
‘The only thing that pleases God, is what He does Himself…’
May the sound of praise and the sound of war be heard through the Welsh Church in the land once again, to the glorification of Jesus the King and God the Father, through the power of the mighty Holy Spirit.