Have you ever seen the 2012 movie “Battleship?” I guess it didn’t do as well as expected at the box office and had some less than spectacular reviews! There are some parts of the movie though, that I really enjoy. The best being toward the end of the movie when the Navy survivors from an American and a Japanese destroyer that were both sank by some not too friendly alien forces, seek for a last ditch effort to stop the enemy when they spot the USS Missouri Battleship Museum sitting at permanent dock in its Hawaiian berth. There are a few scenes in this dramatic ending that really move me both physically and emotionally!
After the Captain of the American destroyer enlists the additional help of the docents and guides aboard the floating museum, who just happen to be veterans of WWII who you suppose actually served on the Missouri during the war, he sets things in motion to get the ship under power one more time. Every time I see this event it stirs me up… the interior of the huge ship as the lights come on in the various corridors, the engine room, the bridge and the close up of the ship's armaments. Then my heart skips a beat when they fire up the boiler and the command is given: “All ahead full power!” (I was a little disappointed when I later read that since the ship has not actually sailed under its own power since the 1990’s, that three tugboats were used to move the ship in the open water scenes!)
But the one scene that really moves me is when they fire her sixteen inch guns for the first time! And while our home entertainment system does not have true surround sound, we do have large stereo speaker boxes in front of the room with quality speakers in the ceiling behind the couch and the effect, at times, is incredible! So when those big guns go off, the sight of the flames bursting from the turrets grabs your visual attention and the resounding “boom!” usually causes me to rise up off the couch as the living room floor shakes under my feet and the walls vibrate!
Now I have an even better idea of what Francis Scott Key must have been thinking and experiencing when aboard the British armada that was bombarding Fort McHenry at the Battle of Baltimore during the war of 1812. It gives me an even greater appreciation and respect for our armed services every time I stand for the American National Anthem that he wrote that fateful morning!
One similar thing that I’ve been learning as I read through the Old Testament book of Psalms is that our verbal celebration of Thanksgiving and Praise should leave, in many cases, the same lingering effects that the firing of the USS Missouri’s 16” guns in that movie have on me, with those around us when we worship the Lord! In studying various Psalms and in particular Psalms 98 and 107, I discovered that the Psalmist is clearly implying the kind of expression of Thanksgiving and Praise that results in audio, physical, spiritual and emotional stimulation.
The Vision translation of the Bible tells us in Psalm 107:1 to “Erupt with thanks to the Eternal, for He is good…” The exclamation to “Erupt” is defined as to “break out or burst forth suddenly and dramatically.” (Oxford online dictionary) Now one might counter this thought saying that this is a modern translation that does not truly capture the original idea. But the old standby, the King James Version, tell its readers “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good…” to which Charles Spurgeon in his classic “The Treasury of David” explains that “The Psalmist is in earnest in the exhortation, hence the use of the interjection ‘O’ to intensify his words. Let us be at times thoroughly fervent in the praises of the Lord, both with our lips and with our lives.”
Likewise The Voice translation says in Psalm 98:4 to “Raise your voices; make a beautiful noise to the Eternal all the earth. Let your joy EXPLODE into song and praise.” To “Explode” means “to undergo a violent expansion in which much energy is released as a shock wave.” (Oxford online dictionary) That definition reminds me of my physical and emotional reaction to the sights, sounds and vibrations of the scene I described at the firing of the USS Missouri’s 16” guns.
I came across an actual picture of the Missouri firing her guns in warfare and noticed that the sea under the guns looks like it is being blown by hurricane force winds! Think about your praises having the same effects on your circumstances and in the lives of those around you when you begin to utter heart felt Thanksgiving and Praise unto God! Talk about a positive shock wave! The enemy of our souls won’t know what hit him!
So… does any of this make you want to change the way you worship the Lord with Thanksgiving and Praise? Remember, that there is the right time and place for everything including proper expressions of worship, we just have to be sensitive to that small still voice inside of us. But I would bet that there are many more times when he is telling us to let loose and praise as the Psalmist proclaims in Psalms like 98 and 107 than we actually respond to!
With everything going on in my life… I’ve learned to listen to, obey and respond exactly as He TELLS me to… exactly WHEN He tell me to do so! How about you?
Have a great rest of the week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “When am I expecting to speak, sing and/or shout out a Shock Wave of Thanksgiving and Praise today?”