The Festal Shout



Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face, who exult in your name all the day
and in your righteousness are exalted.

For you are the glory of their strength; by your favor our horn is exalted. For our shield belongs to the Lord,
our king to the Holy One of Israel.

~PSALM 89:14-18 (ESV)

“Blessed are the people who know the festal shout.” When reading this Psalm in 2014, this really stuck out to me. When I initially read it, it made me laugh. You know how some phrases hit you like that? It just struck me as funny. Can you imagine going up to someone and asking, “Hey! Do you know the festal shout?”

Throughout my journey with God, He has had a habit of dropping certain phrases and sentences into my mind that send me on some sort of quest. This sentence in Psalm 89 fell into that category. I figured that since knowing the festal shout would equate to God’s blessing in my life, I should probably find out what it was.

I discovered that the Hebrew word translated into “festal shout” actually means an acclamation of joy or a battle cry. As I pondered this, I felt God saying that a festal shout is not simply a shout of triumph, celebration or joy during times of victory. Nor is it necessarily a cry going forth into battle against an enemy you are sure to defeat.

Anyone can shout for joy when things are going their way or when triumph is a certainty. But what about when it appears all hope is lost? What about when the odds are not only against you, but victory seems impossible? What about when your unyielding circumstances are washing over you in waves, and you feel you are about to drown?

I believe the festal shout is about faith. I believe it is a choosing—a choice to shout in faith and anticipated victory, against all odds and despite all evidence to the contrary. It is a war stance—a declaration that, “My God is greater than my enemy. And because of His greatness, I will be more than a conqueror.” It is a battle cry that declares, “I will be victorious because my God is The Mighty One Who Saves,” (see Zephaniah 3:17.)

Knowing Him empowers the shout. Joshua understood this. The term “great shout” in Joshua 6:20 is the same Hebrew word translated “festal shout” in Psalm 89.

“So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city.” ~Joshua 6:20 (NKJV)

Joshua understood that a festal shout of faith in a mighty God could take down walls, defeat a massive enemy and capture a city. He knew that, with God, he could do the impossible. And he knew if God was for him, nothing could stand against him, (Romans 8:31.) A festal shout declares, “I know who my God is, so my enemy doesn’t stand a chance!”

As I read Psalm 89, I had a vision of people who faced insurmountable circumstances doing a tribal, festal shout over their trials, diseases, marital problems, financial debt, etc. I saw individuals writing their impossible situations down on pieces of paper and then throwing them on the floor. Then I saw them dancing over the top of them—shouting with a tribal, festal shout—declaring God's extravagant goodness and mighty power over each one. I then saw these papers being thrown into a fire or destroyed in some way. And…the walls came tumbling down.

Yes, I know this sounds awkward and weird. But where's the fun in being normal? And hey! It worked for Joshua! I can't be with you all, and we can't physically do this all together. But we can do it together in spirit. I encourage you to pray about doing this with your husband, wife, family, friends, prayer partners, home groups, churches, etc. 

Wouldn't it be something if people all around the world sent up a festal shout, as a sweet-smelling fragrance to the Lord—declaring Him good, all-powerful and victorious over every trial they faced? I, for one, refuse to let the enemy cause me to retreat and cower in fear, pain and hopelessness. I am choosing the festal shout! Will you join me? 

“Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples!
Shout to God with the voice of triumph!
For the Lord Most High is awesome;
He is a great King over all the earth.”

~Psalm 47:1-2 (NKJV)