Let the Worshippers Arise
Let The Worshipers Arise by Stephen Bailey
“And there, as soon as you come to the city, you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre before them, prophesying. Then the Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man.” – 1 Samuel 10:5-6
When we get to verse 5 of 1 Samuel chapter 10, we find a very beautiful picture of worship. Saul had just been anointed as the King of Israel and Samuel gives him a list of signs or events that will take place to verify to Saul that he has indeed been anointed to be the King, at least for a season.
In verse 5 we see a group of prophets coming down from a mountain top and they are playing various instruments and they are prophesying. Prophecy in the Old Testament is often, though not exclusively, associated with the giving of a message. An example would be Aaron’s role as Moses’ “prophet” found in Exodus 6:28-7:2. God’s prophets were his messengers and in some cases prophecy is particularly associated with music (Exodus 15:20-21; I Chronicles 25:1). The prophecy we see in these verses seems to also be of this sort (i.e., praising and exhorting with musical accompaniment).
The passage goes on to say that when Saul was to encounter these prophets, the Spirit of the Lord would rush upon him, and he would begin to prophesy with them and that he “would be turned into another man.” If we continue to read to verse 9, scripture tells us that all of the things the prophet had spoken to Saul came to pass that day.
When I read this passage, I get to this point, pause, and think to myself, “this is the worship team I want to be a part of.” And honestly, this is the worship team you want to lead you. And this is the worship team you want to have leading in your church. The people who are meeting with God in the high places so often that when you encounter them, in your weekend services, the Spirit of the Living God rushes in and people are changed. This is just as important as the prophet who stands to deliver the Word of God to the flock through the spoken word. How? Why?
The answer is simple…because you have broken marriages in your church, you have prostitutes in your church, you have addicts to porn, alcohol, drugs, and all other sorts of atrocities that our minds can’t wrap themselves around not having struggled like they have. You have homosexuals in your church, you have swindlers in your church, you have liars in your church, you have revilers in your church, you have adulterers in your church, you have idolaters in your church and the list goes on and on whether you realize it or not. The simple fact of the matter is that in your church you have a gathering of broken people who need to be changed by the Spirit of the Living God. I’m not just talking about the change that happens at salvation by being born again. I’m talking about the process of sanctification. The ongoing change that is being worked out in us daily by the power of the Holy Spirit that he will ultimately bring to completion (Philippians 1:6).
This may sound shocking to some reading this, but leading worship doesn’t happen from a stage. If you are a worship leader, your primary goal isn’t to lead people into some emotional experience by utilizing your talent and perfectly timed music. Your primary goal isn’t even to try to enter into an emotional experience yourself in the hopes that your genuineness before the Lord will prompt others into also pouring themselves out before Him. Your primary goal is to serve the church.
This doesn’t happen by practicing a lot and standing on a stage once a week or once a month or however often you get to lead and singing some songs in an excited, passionate way. It happens by spending time alone with God. It happens by living on the mountain top day-by-day until the time set apart for you to come down and prophesy. It happens by pressing on to know the Lord. And when you do, the Spirit of God will indeed rush in and people will be changed. You have a high calling; do not neglect it (James 3:1).
“Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is as sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” – Hosea 6:3
“He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:24
It doesn’t end there though. If you aren’t a worship leader, you too have a responsibility. For many of us it is easy for us to fall into a routine and forget or even fail to realize the great privilege it is to worship the Living God and therefore, we aren’t eager to enter into his presence. We don’t come believing or expecting that He will meet you in your place of need.
I’ve been leading worship for some years now, at least 13. I can’t remember exactly how long, but I know that I had hair that wasn’t gray when I started and now I have less hair and that hair is gray. My point is that I’ve led well and poorly over many years. I’ve also had the opportunity to be able to go to conferences, mission trips and other events that sharpen and help me. When I first started traveling, I made an agreement with my kids that on the day I get home after I’ve been away for some days, no matter what time of the night it is, I will go into each of their rooms and let them know that I am home. I remember one time, before FaceTime, Skype, and other video chatting (I think I still had a flip-phone), I left to go to a 4 day conference. My son was about 3 at the time and my daughter was around 7. I knew I would have long days and by the time I would even be able to call home to talk to my wife it would be late and they would more than likely be in bed. So during the weeks leading up to my trip, I did my best to prepare them for the fact that they probably wouldn’t hear from me at all for at least 4 days. But, I also ingrained into their brains the day they could expect to see me.
The conference came and went and I was on my way home. I remember it being about a 7 hour drive into the early hours of the morning and as pumped up as I was about the things I had seen, heard, and learned, I just wanted to kiss my wife and hug my kids. When I finally arrived home about 1 a.m., I walked in to find my wife dozing off on the couch. I kissed her and scratched the dog’s head and made my way to my sons’ bedroom. I left the light in the hallway off but turned the light in the bathroom on so that not much light would enter his room as I assumed he would be asleep. Just as I entered and my eyes adjusted to just the smallest fragment of light coming in, I see the silhouette of my son spring up in his bed. When I saw he was awake, I ran to his bed, sat on the edge, and held him as tight as I could. “What are you doing awake, buddy?” I asked. His reply, “I knew you were coming, so I kept myself awake so that I could see you and hug you.” “It’s ok,” I replied. “I’m here, you are safe, and you can rest now.”
That moment broke me. I actually walked out of his bedroom, sat on the floor in the hallway outside of his room and wept bitterly. In that moment I heard the voice of the Lord say, “The way you ran to hold your son, is the way I long to run to you. Why do you so often enter without expecting me to do so?” Or, as Jesus put it, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
Throughout scripture we see the proclamation of God’s goodness! All that he does is good (Psalm 119:68) and He extends eternal steadfast love that we do not deserve (Psalm 107:1). He blesses the one who takes refuge in Him (Psalm 34:8) and is the source of everything that is good and perfect (James 1:17).
So, whatever your role in a weekend service at your church, press into him, expect to experience him, and let the worshipers arise.