Have you ever been to an event like a football game or a competition of some kind where there are two opposing sides pitted against one another? We have one every year at Elevate, our Chili & Pie Cook Off. Competitors bring forth their best chili and pie recipes for our enjoyment on Labor Day weekend. It’s one of my favorite days of the year! At the end of the judges tasting each recipe, they decide on which recipe they think was best and the top three are presented with prizes while the winner is given the holy grail of the event: the apron of glory! During the announcement of each winner, you will hear two main sounds: clapping and shouting.

As humans, why do we shout at all? I see two primary reasons why we do it: in battle and in victory.

Now when I say battle, it can also be in a competition of some sort as well as a literal battle. You see it in football games, basketball games etc. where fans from both sides are cheering and shouting when great plays or horrible plays happen. I remember when I lost my voice from shouting because of the Pittsburgh Steelers' glorious victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL, I can still remember the joy I felt in that moment because of my team’s victory! The Bible shows that we shout in those two primary ways.

Did you know that the Bible mentions shouting (shout, shouts, shouted) 163 times? Many of those times it is used with the Hebrew word rûa, which means “to raise a battle cry; sound a trumpet blast; shout in triumph or exaltation.” That word contains both primary reasons people shout, in battle and in victory. So why would this pertain to our time in worship?


We Shout In Battle

Pastor Steve has been teaching us these past several weeks that we are to become anti-fragile against the tactics of the enemy. God’s intent for us is that as we follow Jesus, we are to become strong men and women of God. Just as a baby grows, they become stronger and their capabilities increase because of that developed strength. We can use a shout of praise as a strength and weapon against the enemy. 2 Chronicles 13 shows how God can use our shout to turn the tide in our favor:

“13 But Jeroboam had set an ambush to come from the rear, so that Israel
      was in front of Judah and the ambush was behind them.
14 When Judah turned around, behold, they were attacked both front and rear;
      so they cried to the Lord, and the priests blew the trumpets.
15 Then the men of Judah raised a war cry, and when the men of
     Judah raised the war cry, then it was that God
     routed Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.
16 When the sons of Israel fled before Judah, God gave them into their hand.”

Things looked bleak for Judah at this point in the battle with Israel in their civil war. Jeroboam had them pinned on both ends. But when the men of Judah raised a battle cry to God, a rûa, God turned the tides for Judah. When we worship and we feel like we are in a spiritual battle with the enemy, we can raise a shout of praise to the Lord and that shout can start the shift of us having victory.


We Shout In Victory

That same shout is also a shout of victory. Not just your victory over the enemy, but the victory Christ won on our behalf. Rev. 5:11-14:

“11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the
     throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number
     of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands,
12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and
    riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”
13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and
     under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying,
    “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and
     honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”
14 And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.”
    And the elders fell down and worshiped.”

That is why we shout. We shout because it is one way of how we empower ourselves against the enemy and how we can turn the tides on the enemy. We shout for the victory God has given us over the enemy, over death, and over sin. And most importantly, we should shout because of the victory Jesus won on our behalf on the cross over 2000 years ago and the final victory when He comes again.