After being at the school for about 10 minutes while Jacob played, Jenni told him that she needed to go. He thought that he was in control at this point and started to explain to her how he was not staying there. When he realized he was not going to win, he stood against the wall, pouted his bottom lip, and began to cry, wail, and scream. “Mommy, don’t leave me here!…I will go to work with you!…Please take me with you!…” Needless to say, this ripped his mother’s heart out. She gave Jacob one last hug, handed him over to the teacher, and left, as he continued to scream, cry, and shout at the top of his lungs.
I couldn’t help but think about Jacob’s story when I read Joshua 6: the battle of Jericho. The Lord instructed Joshua and the Israelites to walk around the city once a day for six days. Then on the seventh day, they were to march around the city seven times and then the priests would sound the trumpets. When the people heard the trumpets, they were to shout with a “great shout” and then the wall of the city would fall down flat. (Joshua 6:2-5)
The nation obeyed the Lord’s Word through Joshua regarding all of the marches around the city. After the seventh march on the seventh day, the priests blew the trumpets and Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for the LORD has given you the city!” Verse 20 says, “As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat.”
As I studied this passage, I was drawn to the word shout. I thought about my little Jacob screaming. When is the last time you heard someone screaming their head off? When is the last time you shouted until your voice was gone? I honestly can’t remember. The Holy Spirit convicted me with this thought: when was the last time I screamed, shouted, or cried like my victory over sin and my enemy hung in the balance? That’s exactly what the Israelites did–they shouted because they knew the collapse of the walls of Jericho depended on it! Three-year old Jacob believed his mother was the only one who could save him so he screamed like his entire life depended on it. Do we do that with our Heavenly Father? How desperate are we for victory and salvation? I believe there is a biblical precedent to shout out to God.
The Hebrew word for “shout” is ruwa (“roo-ah”). It is typically used for three different types of shouting: 1. war cry 2. alarm 3. joy, triumph, praise, applause.
An example of a war cry shout is of course in Joshua 6, but also in 1 Samuel 17:52, “And the men of Israel and Judah rose with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron.” This is written after David defeated Goliath. We are in a battle every day against spiritual forces of evil. I know I am not shouting a war cry, like I could be. What if we screamed a declaration of war on our enemy every day before we got out of bed? What would that do for our daily walks with Christ and victory over sin?
An example of a shout of alarm is Hosea 5:8, “Blow the horn in Gibeah, the trumpet in Ramah. Sound the alarm at Beth-aven; we follow you, O Benjamin!” Both the horn and the trumpet were used to alert the community to danger. “Sound the alarm” is the translation of ruwa in this passage. We know when the Holy Spirit has given warning signals to our hearts about certain situations. What would happen if when we received those divine alerts, we shouted the name of Jesus and prayed Scripture verses loudly to arm ourselves for the pending attack?
An example of a ruwa of joy, praise, triumph, applause is Psalm 47:1, “Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!” Ladies, picture yourself seeing a close girlfriend you haven’t seen in way too long. The squeals, the shrieks, the tears. Men, you know that scene too. I’m sure you have seen it–and heard it–many times before. For you, men, this shout is the final score of a close ball game coming out in your team’s favor–jumping to your feet, screaming, arms fully extended to the sky, giving high fives and chest bumps.
As I continued to dwell on that question: “do I shout out to God like my life, victory, and joy depended on it,” the Lord showed me the coolest thing. Zechariah 9:9 says, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is He, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Yup, same word: ruwa. Man, I love Scripture.
We know this is a fulfilled prophecy of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Since He is our King and He is coming again, I believe the mandate to shout applies to us. Why don’t you have a good scream-fest with the Lord? Whether it’s a battle cry for walls to come down, a shout for victory over sin, or a shriek of unspeakable joy, I believe Your Heavenly Father will be glorified. RUWA!!