With a flash 2020 is in the past. Alas, I felt quite nostalgic reading through my 2020 New Year’s post – the launching pad of a new decade! Perhaps you, like most of us, anticipating great things, were armed with potent plans for 2020. Needless to say, 2020 turned out to be a strange year indeed – mainly because a horror pandemic and all its crushing side-effects distorted the entire year.
Perhaps you kicked off 2020 with heartfelt worship on your lips – exalting God for a new year, a new decade, and a pocketful of dreams.
Then COVID-19 struck…
The repercussions of the virus, in the life of every person reading this, are different. But none has been left unscathed. Leaving me to wonder: has the worship, that launched your 2020, turned into a lament? Or perhaps you have lost your song altogether?
HAVE YOU LOST YOUR SONG?
I’d like to direct you to a similar tragic story:
“By the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept as we thought of Jerusalem. We put away our harps, hanging them on the branches of poplar (willow trees). For our captors (Babylonians) demanded a song from us. Our tormentors insisted on a joyful hymn: “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!” But how can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a strange land”Psalm 137:1-4
These people went from a happy life in Jerusalem to being captives of the Babylonians. Quite suddenly their circumstances changed drastically. As a result, they now faced an indefinite future of enslavement in a foreign country. The Bible tells us that these people felt so crushed and defeated that they lost their worship, they lost their song. Their defeat was clear when they hung their harps (primary worship instrument) up in the willow tree (a symbol of weeping and sorrow).
When circumstances change from positive or pleasant to total uncertainty and negativity – questions arise. Where is God & why would He allow this to happen? Why doesn’t He do something?
The enemy is right on cue at that point. Whispering, “Just hang it up, just throw in the towel, you’ll never sing again, you’ll never be happy again.” This is the point those people have reached. Have you reached that point?
Your discouragement and defeat in the trenches of 2020 might be so great that you’ve lost your song altogether. Are you facing 2021 with discouragement? The devil knows his greatest weapon against the believer is discouragement. Because you are never really defeated until you are defeated on the inside.
WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR WORSHIP, YOU LOSE YOUR FIGHT
Worship is not just something we do. It’s so much more – worship is a weapon (Ps 149:6). In fact, it’s a decidedly mighty and powerful weapon in our offensive operation against Satan’s power. When we worship, we invade the devil’s territory.
The Bible is clear on this. 2 Chronicles 20 tells the story of Jehoshaphat who was about to fight a battle. He was alarmed because they didn’t have spears, swords & the weapons of war. The prophet informed him: the battle belongs to the Lord – You will not fight with weapons of war but put the praise singers & the musicians out on the frontline. Worship will be your weapon in this battle. The Lord, exalted in the praises of His people, annihilated the enemy.
“Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered; let those who hate Him flee before Him” (Ps 68:1). The way that God will rise in your defence is when you begin to praise Him – He inhabits the praises of His people (Ps 22:3).
WHEN THE SONG SIMPLY WON’T COME
1. HOW BIG IS YOUR GOD?
“Greater is He that is in you, than He that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). With a firm faith-grip on this promise no tribulation ought to knock you permanently off your feet. However, when the rubber meets the road, your concept of the size of your God is determined by the size of the thing it takes to discourage you.
Goliath was an enormous warrior compared to small-statured David with no real fighting experience. But David was not discouraged, in fact he was bold, because he compared Goliath to the size and capabilities of his God.
The 12 spies infiltrated the Promised Land to check things out. Ten spies came back and reported of giants compared to whom they appeared like grasshoppers – in their minds the fight was hopelessly lost. They got discouraged because they compared their enemies with themselves and not with their God.
Measure your problem against God and not yourself! And then remember that Jesus said:
“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”Matthew 19:26
2. BE ENCOURAGED!
God is greater than your discouragement! Call on the power and the name of Jesus to release new faith, vision, hope, confidence, determination, new zeal, new enthusiasm. Baptize us in Courage Jesus!
God is greater than depression, financial problems, loss of a loved one, illness – no matter what you’re going through your GOD IS GREATER.
“And David was greatly distressed…but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6).
THE POWER OF EXPECTATION
“Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not. John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Luke 3:15 – 16 NKJ)
The key to verse 16 taking place (baptism with Holy Spirit & Fire) is really in verse 15:
Now the people were in EXPECTATION
We need to understand that if God is going to do something, He looks for people with eager expectation. We need to start expecting God to do the impossible again: Praise in expectation, sow in expectation, pray in expectation – expect miracles!
1. YOU CAN EXPECT MIRACLES
No, let me rephrase that: You should expect miracles. “He blotted out the ordinance against us, He took it away and nailed it to the cross.” (Col 2:14)
Therefore, I want to announce to you that there is nothing between you and your miracle or breakthrough. He removed it and nailed it to the cross. You need to have an eager expectation, believing that God is ready to move! Expect pain to leave your body, expect to be healed, expect to be delivered from alcoholism, anxiety, drug addiction, depression – EXPECT a miracle!
2. THE BEST IS YET TO COME
Your greatest miracles are NOT behind you – don’t look back – look ahead! The Lord is saying, (referring to the miracles of the past):
“But forget all that– it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.”Isaiah 43:18 NLT
Obviously, that being the case, it is imperative for you to live with eager expectation. Can you rejoice in agreement that God is about to do something NEW, something you haven’t seen yet? Of course, God’s done great things for you before, but that’s not all that He’s got. I hear the Lord saying:
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”1 Corinthians 2:9
All things considered, what could possibly preclude you from getting on your tiptoes with expectation believing that the best is yet to come?
3. BELIEVING IS SEEING: BARTIMAEUS
There was a blind man named Bartimaeus (Mark 10) who wore a cloak/official beggar’s garment, issued by the rulers to legitimate beggars. The garment certified, to passers-by, that the person begging was blind or ill and deserving of aid
When Bartimaeus heard Jesus was in the vicinity he not only cried out to Him, but he did something amazing. He took his beggar’s garment and cast it away. “I know I can’t see yet, I know I’m not healed yet, but if Jesus is near, I’m casting it away! Expecting fully that I will never go back to that life of begging again. Jesus is going to give me a miracle TODAY.” And immediately he received his healing because of the power of expectation coupled with faith.
When Jesus departed from the Ruler’s house (where He raised his daughter up from the dead – Matthew 9 from verse 18), two blind men followed him. After the blind men cried out to Him, Jesus confronted them with the question, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They replied, “Yes, Lord” Subsequently, Jesus put His hands over their eyes and said, “You will have what your faith EXPECTS.” (verse 29 TPT). And immediately they could see again..
TIME TO SING AGAIN
To summarise, we’ve looked at stirring worship in you again, enabling you to face 2021 head on.
We resolved to meet 2021 with eager expectation that the best is yet to come. In addition, we laid down discouragement because we serve a God that is greater. The past isn’t tying us down. That doesn’t mean that we’re ignorant of COVID-19 still ravaging the globe and the ruins that we are faced with – but those are NOT greater than our God.
However, our trump card lies in the fact that we are stepping into 2021 as warriors. Our worship is our weapon of war and we are no longer defending our territory from the attacks of the enemy. On the contrary, with a lifestyle of worship we are on the offensive and invading enemy territory, taking back what’s ours.
THE LORD’S CHALLENGE
I believe God meets us with a challenge at the dawn of 2021:
Sing a NEW SONG of praise to him; play skilfully on the harp and sing with joy.Psalm 33:3 NLV
Everyone loves old music. Our favourite tunes are unavoidably the ones we already know. I guess the main reason is music’s strange power to capture thoughts and feelings from the past and send them streaming into our present as the familiar melody fills the air.
Barry Manilow, in his song “The Old Songs”, captures the sentiment: “And maybe the old songs will bring back the old times”
But the Bible isn’t similarly inclined. In fact Proverbs 4:25 admonishes us to look to the future “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” Are the “good ole days” really better than today and our hope for the future?
Do not say, “Why were the former days better than these?” For you do not inquire wisely concerning this.Ecclesiastes 7:10
Scripture does not, at any point, command us to “sing old songs.” We’re not being disobedient in singing old songs; it simply isn’t something God needs to remind us to do. On the contrary, Scripture calls upon us, repeatedly, to “sing a new song.”
NOT JUST ANY SONG
In six distinct verses Scripture exhorts us to Sing to Him a New Song.
- Consulting a Study Bible, a note for Psalm149:1 elaborates that the ” ‘new song’ usually signifies dynamic intervention not previously experienced.”
- Notes for Psalm 33:1 say the new song “might be one newly composed for a special occasion.”
- New songs of praise are appropriate for new rescues and fresh manifestations of grace – this is EXACTLY what I am expecting for 2021, and that is why 2021 requires a New Song!
I believe we are challenged to leave the old behind us (Isaiah 43:18 above) and approach 2021, looking to Him with eager expectation and faith that the best is ahead of us – no eye has seen, nor ear heard…
We might not have received the dynamic intervention yet, but like Bartimaeus believing doesn’t require seeing. It’s undoubtedly real because the One whom we worship is faithful and true.
Let’s take our instruments off from the tree of sorrows and, according to our expectant faith praise Him for “a new rescue and a fresh manifestation of grace”:
“Sing a new song to the Lord, for He has done wonderful deeds.His right hand has won a mighty victory; his holy arm has shown his saving power.”Psalm 98:1
Our new song will be our new war cry, placing God (instead of COVID or our giants) back on the throne, and exalting Him with expectation for our mighty victory and for saving us from whatever giant we are facing as we enter 2021! Hallelujah!
CRY OUT TO THE LORD FOR YOUR SONG
On the other hand, I am fully aware that words on paper, even if rooted in Scripture, and albeit encouraging might still not stir positivity in your spirit when facing 2021. Maybe your giants are too many and too big. Perhaps your loss, too crushing, your abyss of hopelessness too deep.
God knows the way forward. He offers an opportunity to begin again. Your current circumstances will not get the final say in your life.Max Lucado
If you’ve altogether lost your song, then gather all your energy and cry out to the Lord. The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Ps 34:18)
I encourage and urge you to be eagerly expectant – He will not only “save” you in the limited sense of the word. He will do exceedingly, abundantly beyond that. Providing you with a mighty testimony that will touch the lives of others. And to top it all, He will bless you with a new song. How can I be so sure?
Because He says so!
Take heart and expectantly lay claim to this powerful promise:
” I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.Psalm 40:1-3