Friday, November 12, 2004

A Meditation: What a Praise Chorus This Is!

In Judges 5 is recorded one of the most interesting praise choruses ever! Deborah is celebrating Israel's victory over the Canaanites, and she worships God through a wonderful song recorded for us.

She says beautiful and expected things like:
When the people willingly offer themselves - praise the Lord! (2)
I will sing to the LORD, I will sing; I will make music to the LORD, the God of Israel. (3)
They recite the righteous acts of the LORD, the righteous acts of the warriors of Israel. (9)
But may they who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength. (31)

But she also says things that we wouldn't expect to find in a praise chorus:
Most blesses of women be Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, most blessed of tent-dwelling women.
He asked for water, and she gave him milk; in a bowl fit for nobles she brought him curdled milk.
Her hand reached for the tent peg, her right hand for the workman's hammer.
She struck Sisera, she crushed his head, she shattered and pierced his temple.
At her feet he sank, he fell; there he lay.
At her feet he sank, he fell; where he sank, there he fell - dead. (24-27)

If the Song of Debroah were recorded today and put on a praise and worship album to be sold at Walmart, it would need one of those parental warning stickers because of the content. Deborah did not sanitize her worship, why should we?

Why should I ignore my doubts, my discouragement, my depression, my disappointments when I worship God? Why should I not be enthusiastic when things have gone my way? Why should I not be brutally honest when they haven't? Too often my worship means pasting on a smile and singing, "Now I am happy all the day." But God doesn't want Pollyanna, he wants me. He wants me with blood on my hands. He wants me with my voice trembling. He wants me with adrenaline pumping through me, making me weak in the knees. My worship needs to be less sanitized and more nitty-gritty. If my relationship with God is real, then so too should be my praise of him.

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