Down below, a perimeter of soldiers on guard detail stood watch as we neared the outskirts of the camp. They seemed unaware of our approach, as well as the men behind them in the rows of blacksmiths' tents. Due to the ringing hammers and searing heat, these tents were quartered further away from the main sections of the camp. The skilled artisans forged tools and weaponry on their anvils and coals of fire. For each sword, they sharpened the edge of the blade until it hummed through the air. Each arrow and spear tip was honed for pinpoint accuracy to hit the mark. Racks of shields and other armor cooled down, hand-crafted in the heat of the flames.
Further within the camp, the servants' quarters quickly emptied as the servants ran down the main road leading into the center square. The ram's horn calling for worship sounded throughout the camp. The main battalions had just returned victoriously from winning a battle over a formidable foe. Following behind the servants, the blacksmiths made their way to the center square while the guards stayed in watchful position, protecting the camp perimeter. All of the other divisions of the army began streaming out of their tents as the rhythmic flow of music and dancing started. The fresh enlistees, foot soldiers, armor bearers, flag bearers, slingshot marksmen, archers, spearmen, swordsmen, warriors, elders, and commanders all came together to passionately worship.
The angel driving the chariot I was standing on pointed at one of the lead dancers in the center ring of the army of worshippers. He was dancing with such might and freedom that it was stirring up the entire army to a new level of energy. The golden crown on his head indicated that he was of the highest royal rank in the entire army. They were all making such a joyful noise that the surrounding trees of the forested hills seemed to echo with thunderclaps of praise, resounding for great distances in every direction.
Above the rising timbre of the music, the angel said, "Here is King David, anointed of Abba." We stopped in midair. Some of the other chariots gathered with us in a small circle to join in with the worship like pioneers circling their wagons. I could see some of the ancients: forefathers and foremothers in these other chariots. Some ancient men closest to us dressed in white, with green and gold emblems of royalty embroidered on their garments. The ancient women wore blue and gold sashes over their white gowns. Their chariots clustered in family clans, and each clan chief wore a bejeweled crown matching the color and style of his or her clothes. Each pillar of the faith was accompanied by an angel driving his or her chariot. We all watched in anticipation as the extravagant celebration of the worshippers beneath us rose like an ocean swell. Some of the servants lit a blazing fire near the drum circles. As the beating of the drums increased, the flames grew higher and higher.
In the midst of the worship, King David motioned with his hand toward the musicians. A new flag raised, and a hush came over the army of worshippers as he danced with all his might to only the booming of the drums. He burst forth in a new psalm of praise; the poetry of the psalm in perfect rhythm with the movement of his dance. King David rejoiced in the Almighty as his protector and shelter, shielding and delivering him from every evil attack and snare. After he finished, the entire army of worshippers began repeating the psalm with one voice as the music and dance resumed. They repeated the psalm until the level of praise reached a high crescendo and fever pitch.
While some continued echoing the psalm, others began dancing in an unusual way that I had never seen before. They started stomping and making war cries as the percussive bass drums grew even more militant. With strong motions that were poised, fluid, and rapid, they engaged their arms and legs in the acts of warfare, preenacting the very thrusts, jabs, and blows that they were preparing to deliver upon their foes. They called out to the distant battlefield, prophesying their victory and the demise of the enemy army.
The blast of the ram's horns accompanied the army of worshippers as they gave a final shout of triumph. A great wind stirred upwards in the heavens and some of the chariot horses began to prance in anticipation of the impending battle. I was not expecting such a violent sound to emerge from this army of worshippers. They cried out with a fierceness as the roar a great lion. It seemed as if the ground itself shook with an earthquake caused by their high praise. I gripped the edge of the chariot to keep from falling backwards.
The angel steadied me with his hand. He said, "These worshippers are not only praising Abba for the victories they have already won; they are praising him for the one they are about to win, and for the victory he has already given them. They are dread warriors, and their praise is also prophesying the release of the dread warrior angels at the chosen time of victory."
"How can this be?" I wondered aloud. "They have only recently returned from what appears to be a fierce and thick battle. Even though they have returned in victory, won't they need to rest and heal from their wounds for a time before returning to the battlefield?"
"That is the secret to high praise," the angel answered. "The key is to know when it is time to fight and when it is time to rest. It is true that the time to rest and recover is just around the corner. Yet Abba leads his worshippers from victory to victory. He gives them grace upon grace and strength upon strength. He always leads them in triumph. High praise is the place of breakthrough, and there is a high level of victory that can be found in not turning back in the day of battle."
"But where will they fight next?"
"In the valley of Rephaim. Watch the messengers," the angel replied, pointing toward the edge of camp. Several scouts on horseback returned with fresh intelligence reports, making their way toward the king's quarters. Some of the soldiers from the center square grabbed torches and lit them in the fire as they returned to their tents. King David also took a torch before returning to his quarters along with the scouts, and all of his top military leaders and advisors.
The angel took up the reins for the horses again, indicating that it was time for us to move on. "What are they fighting for?" I asked impulsively, unable to contain my growing sense of curiosity.
"You will soon be joining them. Your mission in this fight is to help as many wounded as you can. Now is the time for you to meet ..."