I listened to a message, by Nick Drake from St Paul’s church in Hammersmith, London, with the title ‘Sing when you’re losing’. He made this point ‘sing when you winning, enter His gates with thanksgiving in your heart, but sing when you’re losing as well’.
He went on to say ‘the Psalms command us to sing over forty times, so what’s going on when we sing? We declare that we believe there’s a different reality to come in which the Lord reigns. We get ourselves into a place where God’s power can come to change the reality of our circumstances, although it’s sometimes us he wants to change rather than the circumstances’. He asked whether we sing outside of Christian meetings. Do we sing in the city? Do we sing just before going to work on a Monday morning?
Paul and Silas were given a beating and put in prison but they were singing hymns and praising the Lord until the circumstances were changed dramatically. ‘About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone`s bonds were unfastened’ (Acts 16:25-26).
King Jehoshaphat ‘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” (2 Chronicles 20:21).
Soon after hearing this message I was re-reading ‘Miracle on the River Kwai’ by Ernest Gordon and was amazed to find that one of the first things to happen which indicated a change in the dreadful atmosphere of the prison camp was that Ernest heard the men singing a hymn together. It was a sound which hadn’t been heard for years as they had been suffering extreme starvation and violent abuse at the hands of their enemy. They had been living constantly with death, despair and hopelessness, but had asked Ernest to help them explore whether there was anything in the Christian faith which could possibly help them in their situation. They had experienced the worst and were saying ‘there has to be something better’.
King Jehoshaphat had called out to the Lord saying ‘O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you’ (2 Chronicles 20:5-6). Later he had prayed ‘O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you’ (2 Chronicles 20:12).
Prayer: O Lord, May we remember to keep on praising You when our circumstances are going well, and may our eyes be on You in the worst of situations that we find ourselves in. May we make a joyful noise to You, and break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Amen.
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