The UK church has grown so greatly over the past few years. It has been my joy to see this and reflect upon what God is doing in our nation. Yet I have noticed a huge trend over the past year or so, in singing worship songs that speak against struggles, fear and hardship.
“I raise a hallelujah in the presence of my enemies.”
“This is how I fight my battles.”
“Jesus you make the darkness tremble.”
It is a beautiful thing when the church comes together to worship. Worship is a weapon and falling so deeply into the presence of God, where all fear is cast out, realigns us with God’s heart. We wage war with the words we believe as we sing. It is a powerful and wonderful thing that the church is acknowledging struggles and fears, bringing them to God and also declaring the our Mighty God has victory over them.
This idea of worshiping through a battle can be found in the ancient example of King David. It’s no new thing. However, when we look at King David, we may see how our attitudes to just soaking up on worship and ‘raising a hallelujah’ every week, to rid of our own fear and fuel a dream, is a very limited glimpse of reality!
David’s Architectural Calling
King David in the bible was a warrior, worshipper and also an architect. Before David, God’s presence was refined to a tent due to the Israelites (God’s people) constantly moving from place to place.
David however had this huge dream to build a permanent temple – the first ever temple! But this was no ordinary desire. David had a supernatural, crazy gifting to envision such a complex temple. He was able to understand and draw (in his mind) plans, elevations, and details to the most bespoke level. God gave him the ability to design this temple – He was periodically called to be an architect. (1 Chronicles 28:2&19)
Every architect has a dream design. The temple was David’s. All he lived for was to oversee the construction of his design.
Like Gaudi, David didn’t get to see the incredible temple. God told him that He had chosen his son Solomon instead to construct the building. Imagine having the biggest dream of yours taken away. Yet David’s response is not anger or disappointment.
David raises a hallelujah – he worships God for simply using him and he surrenders his desire to God’s will.
Wholehearted and willing
David hands all of his plans over to Solomon and he leaves him with some incredible advice. Our worshipping warrior, has just surrendered his dreams and then says: “have wholehearted devotion and a willing mind. Seek God, don’t forsake him.” (1 Chronicles 28:9)
Solomon was being called to a huge construction project that was to last years and involve hundreds of contractors. He was to be project manager – that’s a heavy task!
It required devotion of the heart: a heart that worships God always, but also the kind of heart that surrendered all dreams. Wholehearted devotion was about being fully satisfied in God, not in the dreams or success we are singing victory over. It also required a willing mind: a discipline of prayer where we share our thoughts and emotions with a God who cares for them.
Do the work – the REAL hallelujah
Finally, David instructs Solomon, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work.” (1 Chronicles 28:20)
We sing “I raise a hallelujah” and we fight our battles with God, equipped with courage from God. But we also do the work. We also have to persevere, project manage, work strange shifts and chase after people with love. We sing and fill ourselves with courage, but not just to feel good. No, we raise a hallelujah that says “God you satisfy my heart, I surrender my dreams, make be bold, so I can go and roll our your justice.”
Yes our weapon is a melody. Yes fear loses its hold on us because of God’s victory. But we also are each called to work and build God’s kingdom in some way. We are each required to look beyond ourselves and serve those around us whether by designing houses, supporting friends, being doctors, campaigning for social justice, striving to live plastic-free, combatting modern day slavery or blessing friends with mental health issues.
Whatever God puts before you.
- If like David, your dream just isn’t coming to fruition, or perhaps has been stripped during lockdown, then take heart. Surrender that desire and worship anyway – for we can not be satisfied by our dreams.
- Perhaps you have been stirred lately for an issue, or person, or calling. Whatever that is, be disciplined in prayer and give Jesus your wholehearted devotion.
- Maybe right now there is a mountain of stress on your desk, or a friend who just isn’t going away. Perhaps you ended up working crazy hours whilst everyone was furloughed. Whatever it is, trust that it’s your calling, sing your hallelujah, use worship as your weapon but most importantly, just keep doing the work. Persevere! You are doing incredibly and God will use it for his kingdom!
Who do you relate to most: David or Solomon? How do you need to respond, and what is the work set before you?