The Battle of Jericho is famous as the first great victory in the land of Canaan. Of course what makes it famous is the method of the battle – marching with the Ark of the Covenant, horns blaring, and on the seventh day – the day of worship and rest, shouting, and the walls came tumbling down.
The Battle of Jericho typifies how God would give the land to Israel. Israel would worship and obey, and God would fight for them. This is how the Exodus had happened. God fought for His people. The people put blood on their doorposts, and God delivered them. God did send soldiers into battle — including at Jericho, but God wanted His people to learn the lesson that their victories came from Him. And all of this is to underline a principle that we have emphasized for years: worship is warfare. And to our point today: the choir is the vanguard of the worshiping army of the Lord.
But the exhortation comes from the story that follows, the story of Achan. He disobeyed God, stole some of the dedicated things and tried to hide his sin in his tent. When Israel went out to their next battle at the relatively small city of Ai, they were trounced. With God’s blessing, fortified cities can fall, and without God’s blessing, we cannot stand against one guy and his rake.
Since you are the vanguard of the worshiping army of the Lord, leading by example, inspiring, encouraging the saints in worship, do not hide any sin in your tent. This principle applies to the whole church. There is no secret that God does not know about. Of course this includes the obvious sins: fornication, theft, hatred, but perhaps people who are drawn to sing in choir may be tempted by more subtle sins: pride, arrogance, or a critical spirit. But you are not a better Christian because you sing in the choir, and other members of the body are not worse Christians because they spend their time serving in other ways. But be on guard against all sin: confess it and kill it quickly.
Remember that above all, we need the blessing of God. Beautiful, skillful singing without the blessing of God cannot do anything. And the halting praises of a backwoods chapel lifted up by the Spirit could send New York City into a panic. We do not have to choose between halting praises and skillful praises, but whatever we do, we want the blessing of God. Therefore, be quick to confess your sins, quick to forgive, keep short accounts. This is not only so that you may stay in the joy of the Lord, and God’s blessing may rest upon you and your families. This is also so that God’s blessing may rest upon your musical ministry and upon our whole church, so that our worship may be truly potent and our praises may continue to bring down the walls of unbelief.