Judah Goes First (Sawka)


You cannot go higher than your level of praise and worship. I have seen this again and again with churches and ministries around the world. Those who embrace the new forms of praise and worship change and grow. Those who resist or remain fixated on the styles of yesteryear simply do not grow or shift spiritually. Truthfully, they do not even continue to remain the same at the same level, but gradually begin to lose spiritual momentum.

The name Judah means “praise.” It seems that whenever the Lord wants us to move ahead, we have to begin with praise. Whenever the camp of Israel would begin a journey, Judah was the first tribe to move (Num. 10:14–16). It was only after the tribe of Judah (along with Issachar and Zebulun) proceeded forward that the tabernacle would be moved. In order to move ahead with God, you have to start with praise.

Judah means “praise,” Issachar signifies “prophetic” (the tribe of Issachar understood the times and seasons—1 Chron. 12:32), and Zebulun means “gift” or “honor” (Gen. 30:20).

Praise also must come first when we engage in spiritual warfare. When it was time for the tribes to take their inheritance, the Lord stated that Judah needed to go first (Judges 1:1–2).

one of the key ways of dealing with strongholds is through creative worship.

God is not static, and that He is moving ahead and is prompting us to move with Him.

In his book The Day of the Saints, Bill Hamon establishes the connection between the foundational truths restored to the Church and the corresponding move of God that allowed that truth to be ushered in. A partial list follows: Salvation by faith / Protestant Movement Water baptism / Evangelical Movement Holiness and sanctification / Holiness Movement Healing / Faith Healing Movement Baptism of the Holy Spirit / Pentecostal Movement Restoration of prophets, activation of spiritual gifts for every believer / Prophetic Movement Restoration of apostles / Apostolic Movement

Martin Luther not only taught on the doctrine of salvation by faith, but he was also led by the Holy Spirit to write many songs expressing these convictions. The dull and somber chants of the Gregorian monks were replaced by powerful songs of faith declaring the might and power of God. The music of the Reformers then gave way to the more joyful songs of Isaac Watts. The Holiness Movement led by John Wesley was accompanied by hundreds of new songs, many of which were written by his brother Charles.

The hymns we used to sing were about God and about His love and greatness. They were good songs. But after experiencing the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we found a new love in our hearts for Him. We found that we wanted to sing directly to God, and we wanted our songs to express our feelings for Him.

I began to notice a definite limitation to this kind of worship. When a group consisted of a majority of spiritually hungry, faith-filled people, it was easy to come into the presence of God. The Holy Spirit was manifest. On the other hand, when we were just a minority, the praise and worship session would be a struggle. This was especially true on Sunday mornings. No matter how I prayed or prepared in advance, it proved difficult to get the praise and worship to a place where we could sense the presence of God. When spirit-filled and spiritually hungry visitors would occasionally show up, I found we could break through into God’s presence.

As we allow Him to change our praise and worship, it will bring us personally into the new things of God. But much more than that, it will bring about a great increase in the harvest.

the Holy Spirit came mightily upon David when Samuel anointed him. David’s transformation from shepherd to warrior began. This is what happens when the prophetic anointing is poured out on someone—they begin to change into a warrior.

The charismatic movement brought a profound shift to praise and worship. The two main changes were as follows: (1) praise and worship was sung directly to God, instead of about Him; (2) the revelation that praise brings us into the presence of God and releases His power was more fully understood.

Perhaps the most commonly quoted verse in a 1970s–80s praise service was Psalm 22:3, “The Lord dwells in the praises of His people.” As we praised Him, we could enter His presence, and His presence did great things.

if charismatic praise brings us into the presence of God, then why isn’t that good enough? What is different that we need such a thing as “warfare praise”? Simply put, prophetic warfare praise brings about a change in attitude that allows us to easily break through into God’s presence.

Warfare praise changed my perspective. My previous mindset was something like, “Lord, I love You and hope You show up to bless this meeting so our praise can be worthy of You. I hope I can do this right. Please help me.” (Notice the emphasis on me and my feelings.) My attitude shifted to one of faith-filled confidence. The focus went outward; it didn’t remain introspective. Rather, it seemed as if I were declaring, “Hallelujah! I don’t care if anyone or anything else praises God—I will. Nothing is going to keep back the praise that needs to rise to God.”

I have learned that I can be confident in the Holy Spirit any-and-all the time.

an “antiwar movement exists within the Church.”1 There are always some who question the need for warfare and if we Christians should engage in it.

Moses’ generation gave in to fear and spent forty years wandering in the wilderness. That is a sobering thought. Fear and not wanting to do warfare can keep us out of our destiny

it’s not as if the “Moses generation” never engaged in warfare, because they did. But, their battles were limited in number and were mostly defensive actions. You could say they gradually learned warfare and grudgingly became soldiers. However, when Israel crossed the Jordan River under Joshua’s command, everything changed. Beginning with Jericho, they fought battle after battle. They had to conquer the land.

Psalm 149 is possibly the best passage in the whole Bible illustrating what warfare praise is and how it works.

Armies constantly strive to upgrade their weapons and invent better ones. Modern soldiers do not go into battle with WWII-era weaponry. The same principle applies to spiritual warfare.

– Songs of Declaration…
music and lyrics declaring the power and goodness of God. One might ask what is the difference between that and the old chorus, “God Is So Good”? The answer is attitude…

– Dancing…
I have also discovered that the ease (or difficulty) with which people will (or won’t) dance operates as a kind of “discerning of spirits.”
…Dance is a weapon! Interestingly, perhaps the most famous dancer in the Bible is David, who is also described as Israel’s greatest warrior.

– Shouting
Here are some things that happen when we shout: It changes defeat into victory.
It results in a disabling of the enemy.
We move into our inheritance.
Shouting releases the word of God.
You start to receive honor.
Shouting breaks intimidation, and releases anointing and the boldness of the Lord in you.
Shouting brings angelic help.
Shouting dethrones the usurper.

– Prophetic ActsR
Elisha told King Joash to shoot an arrow out the window and then strike the ground with some other arrows. The king shot the arrow and Elisha declared, “The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance.” But for some reason the king held back on the second part of this prophetic act. Maybe he was embarrassed. Regardless, he only struck the ground three times. Elisha berated him and told him he would only obtain three victories against Syria instead of the complete victory he would have achieved had he struck the ground several more times.

– Gestures of Brandishing

Most of us know what hymns are, and some of us know about singing from the psalms. Spiritual songs, however, are probably less familiar to many Christians.

When we learned how to sing the psalms prophetically, we used a different kind of music. The simplest way is to use a key that would fit the average voice, play only the first and fourth chords in that key, and keep a steady 4/4 rhythm. For example, if the key of G is used, then use the G chord and the C chord. If the key is C, then play C and F.

I have noticed one very consistent result that occurs every time I activate or lead people in the prophetic singing of the psalms. The singer is amazed at the revelation that opens up while they are singing that psalm. A certain phrase will just come alive with meaning as the Lord speaks directly to them.

the third type of praise: spiritual singing. This final type can be divided into two groups—singing in tongues, and “the song of the Lord.”

You can never run out of words because there is an endless supply as we either pray or sing in tongues. Also, since these are words given directly by the Holy Spirit, the words always edify (1 Cor. 14:4) and are always pure. Note how this is expressed by the prophet Zephaniah: “For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord” (Zeph. 3:9).

his excellent training tool, Manual for Ministering Spiritual Gifts, Bill Hamon

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