Unite in Praise

Indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying: “For He is good, for His mercy endures forever,” that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.

—2 Chronicles 5:13–14

The dedication of Solomon’s temple was the scene here as the ark of the covenant was placed in the Holy of Holies. The scene was both solemn and surreal. At last the ark had a home in the city of David, a cause for great celebration.

Over the years, I have often used these verses to remind worship leaders and Christian artists of their mission as musicians unto the Lord. The key is in verse 13, and I paraphrase: “When the band and the singers were united in the purpose of praising and thanking God,” then the house of the Lord was filled with His glory. We might well say that when the people were united in the right purpose, then God joined in the service. What a lesson for us today!

God desires that we remember our purpose in life is to bring Him glory. All the division and distraction that we introduce into praise and thanksgiving keep us from the fullness He wants us to enjoy as those united in Him. When a church that practices one style of worship attacks a group that is either more contemporary or more traditional than they are, this detracts from the true purpose of worship, which is to give thanks and praise to God.

This division, I believe, is the leading cause of not seeing the Lord’s glory in His church today. Far too often Christians divide over just about anything, from style of worship to the color of the building. I have a style of worship music that I prefer, but that doesn’t mean every other form is wrong or “of the devil.” But the fact is, worship has little to do with singing anyway; it is more about unity than the actual music. Being one as we lift praise and thanks to God is what God wants from us.

I have often said that churches are like toast: some people like it dry, others like it with a little butter, and still others want butter and jelly. But regardless of what accompanies it, it’s still toast. Now that’s not to say anything goes in a church service and that we are to unite for unity’s sake alone. But it is to say we are not to divide over matters of taste but rather should unite in praise and thanksgiving to God. That’s the kind of church the Lord wants to be a part of and His glory will settle on. That’s the kind of church so filled with His glory that the priests (pastors) cannot minister and the Lord of heaven becomes the center of attention!

Excerpt from “Body Builders” now available on Amazon.

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BARRY STAGNER

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