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Watch 2022 online sermons » Jentezen Franklin » Jentezen Franklin - Worship is a Big Deal to me

Jentezen Franklin - Worship is a Big Deal to me

Jentezen Franklin - Worship is a Big Deal to me
Jentezen Franklin - Worship is a Big Deal to me
TOPICS: Worship

I want you to look with me in Psalms 137. "By the rivers of Babylon there we sat down. Yes, we wept when we remembered Zion". Here's what I want you to focus on. "We hung our harps up in the willows in the midst of it. For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, And those who plundered us requested mirth, Saying 'Sing us one of the songs of Zion!'" Verse 4, "'How shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?'" The King James says, "'How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?'" But what touched me about this story is we have a picture of some people who had a wonderful life in Jerusalem and wonderful worship, and they played their harps, and they had a choir that would sing in the temple, and people would shout and praise God in the temple, but now circumstances had changed, and they were taken into Babylonian captivity.

They were about to enter across the river. They would go and be enslaved for many years, and they knew it. And the Bible said in desperation... there's my saxophone, and I love to play it. It's a part of my life. It's a very big part of my life since I was 12 years old, and I picked it up for the first time. But I can't imagine anything so bad happening in my life that I would say, "I'm never going to pick that instrument up again. I'm never gonna play it again. I've been so hurt. I've been so devastated. I'm so defeated that I've lost my song. I've lost my music. I've lost my worship, and I'm gonna hang that instrument of worship up in the willow tree which is a sign of weeping and sorrow because of what's happened in my life, and I'll never sing again, and I'll never play again, and I'll never worship again with joy of the Lord".

But that's what had happened to these people. The primary instrument or musical instrument that that they had was the harp, and they said, "We're putting our harps. We'll never sing again". Circumstances have changed, and this is so important. When conditions change, that's when the enemy whispers, "Hang it up". When things change from very positive and very delightful to total uncertainty and mystery and where is God and why would He allow all this to happen and why doesn't He do something, that's when the enemy comes and says, "Just hang it up. Just give up. Just throw in the towel". And you'll never sing again. You'll never be happy again. You'll never play that song again, and this is a point that these people had reached.

I want to remind you today that worship is not just something we do. Worship is a weapon. The devil's desire is to make us more defensive than offensive. Lucifer was the archangel of worship. He was over heaven's worship, and he knows more about worship than any of us including me. He knows that if he can defeat us individually or as a church or as a people, the only way that he can do that is to first defeat us in the arena of worship. Satan knows that your worship is a weapon, and he wants you to get so discouraged that you lose your song. You lose the heart of worship. You lose your love for God. When I think about how the most potent weapon that we have in our offensive operation against Satan's power is worship. When we begin to worship, we invade the devil's territory. When we begin to worship like Aaron did. He took a censor and when a plague broke out in Israel, the Bible said he ran and stood between the living and the dead, and he would swing that censor, and those incense would burn up, and the Bible said the plague stopped.

Psalm 68:1 says, "Let God arise, and His enemies be scattered". When you begin to praise God, and the next part says, "Our God has gone up with a shout". The way that God gets aroused, the way that God will rise up in your defense is when you begin to praise Him. He inhabits the praise. And notice when God arises, the enemy starts running. Two things happen when we begin to praise the Lord. God rises, and the enemy runs. He runs from the worship of God's people.

Listen, when you worship God, what you're doing is you are redeeming the thing that Satan stole from heaven. Satan was the worship leader, and you become his replacement. When you begin to praise God, you are restoring and redeeming what Satan stole from heaven. He hates to hear you worship. Worship is so much of a weapon that in 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat was about to fight a battle, and he said, "Where's the spears and where's the sword and where's the weapons of war"? And the prophet said, "Thus sayeth the Lord, you will not fight with those weapons, but you put the praise singers and the musicians out on the front line, and he said worship will be your weapon in this battle".

Praise births the presence of angels into the battle zone of your experience. When you begin to praise God, praise is God's address. Praise brings revelation. Listen carefully to this and don't ever forget what I'm about to share with you. When Joseph was there in Egypt as a powerful man who had all the wealth and the food when the nation and the world was starving to death and his brothers came, the same brothers that had done him so wrong, do you remember he disguised himself, and they did not know it was Joseph their brother? But the Bible says something that you'll read right over. Do you know what made him reveal who he really was to them? He had all that they needed, and they didn't even know who he was, and they were in a famine, and they had come just to get some scraps.

But do you know what made him reveal? He said I want you to go back to your father, and I want you to bring the youngest son back with you. And the Bible said and suddenly one of the brothers named Judah stepped forward, and he said, oh, that would break my father's heart if I have to go get my younger brother and bring him to you to enslave. He said I'll tell you what, take me instead and when Judah, which means praise. That's the Hebrew word for praise. When Judah stepped forward, the Bible said Joseph broke, and he went behind the curtain, and he began to weep, and he took his disguise off, and he came out, and he said I am Joseph. I am your brother. If you really wanna see who the King is, when you begin to worship, worship is revelatory. Worship brings revelation. You will see who God is only when you begin when Judah in your life steps forward and begin to praise Him. From that day forward, Judah and Benjamin were inseparable. They were always together.

Every time you read in the Old Testament, when the kingdom split, Judah stayed with Benjamin. Benjamin, according to Genesis 49, the prophesy over him as he would be a warrior, a ravenous wolf. Praisers and warriors go together. If you praise, you become a warrior. You've got to be a worshipper and a warrior in times like these. The Bible says in Psalms 50, "Praise Him in the sanctuary. Praise Him in the firmament of His power". It seems backwards. It seems like the praise should start in Heaven, and it should fill the earth, but God says, no. He says it starts on Earth and when you praise me and remember your body is the temple, your body is the sanctuary, and when you praise me in the sanctuary, He says, then I will turn around, and I will begin to send the blessings. If nothing goes up, nothing comes down. If you don't release worship, miracles do not come down. Praise Him in the sanctuary. Praise Him in here, and He'll go with you out there. Praise Him in here, and He'll fill your week all week long. Praise Him in here in your heart, in your life.

Ezekiel saw the throne of God, and he saw it as wheels. It had wheels. He said, "I saw the throne, and it was a mobile throne," and he said, "It was like wheels in the middle of a wheel". He said, "I saw a flashing light. I saw living creatures. I saw all of these things enfolding upon themselves," and He said, "I saw wheels turning on the throne as God was moving from heaven to Earth". And then he said, "The only thing human that he saw in all of this flashing and lightning and glory was human hands". The tremendous power of God's presence is in our hands when we begin to worship God. We've got a rolling throne. He gives us somewhere to praise God. Praise Him in the sanctuary. That's your temple. And then he says something to praise God for. Praise Him for His mighty acts and for His excellent greatness. And then he gives us something to praise God with. Praise Him with a trumpet. Praise Him with the stringed instruments. Praise Him with the tumbrel and the dance. Praise Him with the cymbals and the high-sounding cymbals.

"Well, I'm not a musician, Pastor Franklin". Well, can you breathe? Do you breathe because he then finishes it and says, "Let everything that has breath praise ye the Lord". I'm right where I wanted to get. So, these people have been taken captive, and here's the lesson. Look at me, everyone. It's so important. They're prisoners of war because they have hung up their harps in the willow trees. You're either gonna be a P.O.W., meaning a person of worship, or you're going to become a prisoner of war because when hard times and bad things happen to you and you hang your harp up, then I'm gonna tell you something. You become a prisoner of war, to hopelessness, to depression, to addiction, to defeat, to lies, to fear, to worry, to depression. I refuse to do that. I have a choice. Which one do you choose? You're gonna be a P.O.W. You're either gonna be a person of worship or you're going to become a prisoner of war, and you decide.

When your mouth is silent, when you hang your harp up, your worship up because of what you've been through, you lose the victory. I want us to understand that the Bible said that they were in a strange land. And this is the problem; they were dealing with things they didn't plan for. It's not the things we never saw this year coming. We never saw the coronavirus coming. We never saw and dreamed the things that we've seen; the division, the pain, the hurt in our Nation, the unemployment, all of this stuff, all of the division, all of the hurt, and now being out of church for almost six months. We didn't see. It's the strangest! The Bible said they were in a strange land. You talk about, this is the strangest year of my life. I have never seen anything like this in my life. It's the strangest time for the church. It's the strangest time for people individually. It's the strangest time in our families and in our lives. But that's when the enemy whispers, "Give up your worship. Lose your song. Hang up your harp in the willow tree".

But if I'm reading this text, it's when the unexpected happens, you have to determine you're not going to let it steal your song. You've got to learn how to sing when you are in uncertainty, when things have happened that you never saw coming, and you never planned for. That's that strange place, that strange time, and you have to make a decision, and here's how you do it. The thing you have to do is you have to remember that you don't allow your identity to be defined by circumstances. I'm still a child of God no matter what I'm going through. My circumstances may have changed from being blessed in the temple to a situation where I feel like I'm at the river right next to Babylon and all hell is breaking loose, but that doesn't change. Where you are does not change who you are. Your geography does not change your genealogy. Who you are is who you are, and it's not determined by where you are.

You may be watching me in the hospital with COVID right now, but that does not change the fact that you're not here and you're there in the hospital, and that doesn't change the fact that you are still a child of God. You may be sitting here today, and last week you were employed, and this week you're unemployed, but where you are does not change who you are. You're still blood bought. You're still called by His name. You still have Him as your Savior and your Redeemer. You're God's child no matter where you are, no matter what you're going through, and that's why you ought not to hang your harp up, but you ought to praise Him even more that you're not alone, that you won't face it by yourself. Shout amen, somebody. Tell somebody I'm still a child of God whether I have COVID or I don't have COVID, whether I go through high times or I go through low times. I'm still a child of God, and that makes me wanna praise Him.

Don't allow where you are to hinder your worship. Paul and Silas started praising God in the jail cell in the midnight hour. They sang praises unto God. If anybody had a right to hang their harp up... now, I'm getting a little stirred in my spirit because I don't believe that you're hearing what I'm preaching to you, but you better hear it 'cause it's critical in these times. We're in a strange time, and the voice of the enemy is saying to believers, "Hang your worship in a tree of weeping and lose your song". But notice what they did. In the midnight hour, backs beaten, chained to the wall, Paul starts going "Do-re-mi, mi-mi-mi, re-re-re," and Silas says, "What are you doing"? He says, "I'm getting ready to sing my song of joy in this filthy prison house surrounded with rats, surrounded with guards and captives. I'm gonna lift Him up in my midnight hour". And he began to sing praises unto God in that horrible circumstance.

The Bible said, "They hung their harps in the willow trees". They hung their praise and worship up because they got in discouraging circumstances. The Bible said what got them to the place of giving up and hanging their instrument into the trees of sorrow was, first of all, that first part of the verse in Verse 2 it tells us they hung their harps up, but in Verse 1 it tells us why they did it. It said they sat down and then they started weeping, and then the next thing you know they lost their song. They hung their harps up. It all starts when you sit down. They got tired of standing. You have to keep standing for what's right. You have to keep standing on what this book says. You have to keep standing. You can't get your eyes on people. You can't get your eyes on what so and so is doing. You just keep standing when you know what is right and you do what God... and when you feel like sitting down, that's when you need to stand up and start praising God, and when the enemy says sit down and cry, you need to say, "No, I'm gonna stand up in praise 'cause I know my God is still on the throne".

Give God a mighty praise and refuse to sit down and cry. Boo-hoo-hoo or praise the Lord. You choose. You're gonna have to choose. Don't trade your harp for a handkerchief, have a pity party. When you send out the invitations, nobody comes but the devil, and he says, "Yes, you're right. You should". No, no, no. Stand up to life. We reign in this life as kings, the Bible says. We reign in this life. God has not made you a trampling mat for the devil. Weeping may endure for the night and when it does, that's when you sing. Sing through the weeping. Sing through the sorrow. Sing through the depression. Sing through the dark days. Weeping endures for the night, but the devil needs to know that my sorrow and your sorrow has an expiration date already written.

Before you ever got in it, he already had something coming down the road, and He says, "If you make it through the night, joy comes in the morning". And the only thing that's gonna get you from a weeping night to a joyful morning is praise the Lord. Hallelujah. Let me put some worship on. Let me get into the book. Let me lift my hands even when I don't feel like it. Hallelujah! God, makes this more than words and just another sermon. It's gotta become who we are. You don't understand. I am a praiser. Before I was a preacher, I was a praiser. Before I was anything, I was a praiser. There was something in me in my DNA My mama and my daddy put praise in my DNA, I do believe, and I can't help myself. I can't go but so long and I'll start singing praise. And you say, "Well, I don't know no songs".

Well, sing this, "Hallelujah! I don't have the coronavirus today. Praise the name of Jesus. I'm not in the ICU Hallelujah! If I'm in it, I'm coming out of it 'cause He set up an end to darkness, Job said. I don't have cancer. I've got food today. I've got a roof over my head. I've got all that I need". And if you do have and you don't have, praise Him, and that'll build the bridge. I want you to notice in closing this. The Bible said that the enemy required of us a song. Did you read that?

Notice that the Babylonians when they saw the Israelites who were famous for their worship hanging their harps up in the willow trees. These are God's people, and the Babylonians are a type of the world's people, and the world's people are going through the same thing that the church people are going through. They've just been up on their holy hills so long that they can't relate to those people down there, but now we're all going through the same thing. Can't even half come to church. Go for five months.

So, we're in the same boat as the Babylonians, and the only thing that the Babylonians said to them is they said, "Would you please sing for us? If we ever needed to hear your song, we need to hear it. I'm looking for something. I worship 400 gods across the river over there in Babylon, but they just don't, they just don't meet my need. If I could see. I've heard you people sing. I've seen the joy that you have, and would you? I require of you. Please give me your song 'cause we're all going through the same thing". And if ever there was a time when the world needs to hear our joy, hear our faith, hear our love, hear our praise, hear our worship, it's now. People need hope. People need it.
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