We have emphasized for many years that worship is warfare, and we have seen that up close this last week. God gave us a wonderful victory specifically through singing psalms and hymns. But it’s worth zooming out a bit so that we do not lose sight of how this works. What happened cannot be rightly understood by a simple snapshot or even a few minutes of video footage. In order to view these events rightly, we need look at this whole moment through the lens of Scripture.
When God called Abram to Canaan and promised to give it to him, Abram did not own a single acre, but he believed God and began building altars, calling on the name of the Lord wherever he went. Later, Joshua had the priests carry the ark in front of the army, marching around Jericho for seven days until the walls came tumbling down. That was the first great victory in Canaan, and it was some four hundred years after Abram had built his first altar in the land. What we need to see is the fact that God did in fact answer the prayers and praises of Abram. But Canaan was always a type of the entire world. God promised Canaan to Abram, but He also clearly promised him the whole world: In your seed, all the nations of the earth will be blessed. And so it is that many centuries later, Jesus, the seed of Abraham, was born, lived a perfect life, was crucified for sinners, and raised from the dead to make all things new, to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.
The method hasn’t really changed in all this time. But the point is that worship piles up. Worship grows in concentration of spiritual force. Blessings multiply like compound interest. Worship is our battering ram, and every Lord’s Day we take another swing at the gates of Hades. But every swing is actually heavier, every swing is pulled back a little further. This is because our worship includes the worship of all the saints. From the worship of Abel to Abraham to Israel at Jericho to David to Paul to Augustine to Calvin to Bunyan to Bonhoeffer to our own parents and grandparents, and all of it is offered up in the perfect sacrifice of Jesus.
God takes the long view, the wide angle view, and that means that the small victory we celebrated this week is part of a much larger picture, a picture that will continue after us and includes decades and centuries of Christians worshiping God every Sunday, Christians obeying God in the little things, Christians confessing their sins to one another and forgiving one another, Christians walking by a faith that is entirely a gift, a faith that overcomes the world.