“If all you have is a hammer, it is amazing how every problem begins to look like a nail.” (Pop culture proverb attributed to many sources)
There are two stories of Jesus healing a blind man by spitting. First directly into the mans eyes and then secondly into a mud mixture:
- Mark 8:23 ESV – 23 And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?”
- John 9:6 ESV – 6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud
What would you think if we started a theology that said every time you want God to heal someone you had to spit simply based upon these two examples? What if we wrote worship songs based upon Jesus spitting? You would say I was crazy. God uses a variety of ways to heal people.
But today we have a theology that says worship is how I fight my battles:
Fragrance To Fire
First it was fragrance
Then it turned to fire
My worship is my weapon
That is how you win your battle
I Raise a Hallelujah
I raise a hallelujah, my weapon is a melody
I raise a hallelujah, heaven comes to fight for me
This is How I fight my Battles
The Word says for the spirit of heaviness
Put on the garment of praise
That’s how we fight our battles
This theology is taken from
- 2 Chronicles 20:18-23 ESV – 18 Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the LORD, worshiping the LORD. 19 And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice. 20 And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.” 21 And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the LORD and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, “Give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures forever.” 22 And when they began to sing and praise, the LORD set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. 23 For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.
Note that they were both to sing to the Lord and to say thanks to the Lord. They did not just sing to the Lord to accomplish his purpose. Something greatly missing in the “worship is warfare” pop theology.
But how did God command other battles to be won? Let’s see just how many ways God sought to accomplish victory in battles:
- Ex 4.21 – God fought for Israel to leave Egypt with signs and wonders (plagues)
- Ex 14.18-28 – God fought for Israel vs Pharoah at the Red Sea with a pillar of fire and cloud of darkness, and then drowned Pharoah’s army
- Num 13.2 – God sent scouts to spy out the promised land the first time
- Jos 2.1 – God again sent scouts to spy out the promised land the second time
- Jos 6.3-5 – God command his people to march around Jericho silently for 6 days and after the last march around Jericho silently 7 time then blow the trumpets once, then shout and take the city.
- Jos 7.2,25 – God sent scouts to spy out Ai and then orders repentance to win the battle
- Jos 8.7 – God commands an ambush and diversion to be sent against Ai
- Jos 10.8-11 – God command an complete frontal assault to take Jerusalem, and completed it with a hail storm
- Jos 10.12 – God causes the sun to stand still against the Amorites
- Jos 10.29 – God orders a complete frontal assault against Libnah
- Jos 10.31 – God leads a siege against Lachish
- Jos 10.34 – God leads a complete frontal assault against Eglon
- Jos 10.39 – God leads a complete frontal assault against Debir
- Jos 10.40 – God leads a complete frontal assault against the Negeb
- Jos 11.3-9 – God leads a complete frontal assault against the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Hivites under Hermon
- Joshua 11:23 ESV – 23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had spoken to Moses. And Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal allotments. And the land had rest from war.
Many early Christians were thrown into the lion’s den and died despite their worship of Jesus instead of the Roman emperor or their false gods. This only came to an end through a vision by the Emperor Constantine. And sad to say, there were many who died in Nazi concentration camps though they did not cease worshiping God. (See the life of Corrie ten Boom and her autobiography The Hiding Place.) The sad reality was these and other prisoners were only freed in great cost of lives on D-Day and further invasions.
The unspoken theology of most of these contemporary songs are written is that music is worship, and worship is warfare. Worship is declaring God’s worth with your whole life. This may take the form of song, but may also include repentance, obedience, giving, reading Scripture and many other forms of living.
- Romans 12:1 NASB95 – 1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, [which is] your spiritual service of worship.
It is true that we should not refrain from using music to worship God:
- Ephesians 5:19 ESV – 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,
- Colossians 3:16 ESV – 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
But notice that our musical worship is to and for God, not to and for our circumstances.
When we seek to use worship for anything other than declaring the worth of God we are literally perverting it as a means to meet our needs instead of declaring God’s worth. (The word pervert has at its root to bend, twist, and turn). Anytime we reduce how God moves to a cliché or formula we have placed God in a box. And placing an infinite God, with an infinite ways of accomplishing his purposes to a single means of action, it is again like trying to fix all problems with a hammer. My suggestion to you is to approach each situation as a unique opportunity and ask God how in your particular situation does he want the battle to be won. You just may be surprised what God can do when we do not pigeon hole Him.
So as always, love much my friends.
Editors Note: The pop theology and not for our circumstances emphasis was added after being written to help emphasize the nature of taking illustration out of context.