"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth" (Ps 98:4, Ps 100:1)
I can't say there are many times when I've shouted for joy to the Lord, but this week I've found that raising my voice has been extremely beneficial.
Raise a Battle Cry
The Hebrew word translated as "shout" in these verses is "rua" which literally means, "to raise a battle cry". Battle cries have two main functions. The first is to instill courage and passion in those going into the fight. The second is to put fear into the heart of the enemy.
When we're facing the storms of life, the temptation can be to emulate the disciples and cower in the bottom of the boat while we wait for the trouble to go away or for Jesus to rescue us. Whilst it is true that we must turn to the Lord in difficult times, that doesn't mean that we run away from the challenges. Jesus is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah who has triumphed (Rev 5:5) and we are "more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Rom 8:37).
Our enemy wants us all to feel overwhelmed, inadequate and vulnerable so that we are of no use to the Lord. We must raise a battle cry that will strengthen our spirits and enable us to stand and take the fight to him.
Raise God Up
Ps 47:5 says that God has ascended amidst shouts of joy. When we make our battle cry we exalt the Lord and bring glory to Him. In difficult times we may not feel like being joyful but scripture tells us to rejoice in the Lord always (Phil 4:4) because when we do our focus is on El Shaddai, the almighty God who is big enough to lead us into victory in all the circumstances of our lives.
Prayer College Assignment
There are all sorts of ways to raise a battle cry that will help us to stand up under the struggles we face and win the victory. One is simply to "shout for joy to the Lord". Yes, actually raise your voice and shout out praises to God. If that is just a bit too "off the wall" for you, you might try playing some praise CDs loud enough that you can join in and let rip with everything you've got. I've found that the car is an excellent place to do this as it doesn't disturb too many people, though the family hasn't always agreed with me! Whatever you do, give it your all. Just the fact of filling your lungs with enough air to belt out a good praise song will make you feel better and confessing the truth about our awesome God will build you up spiritually.