Why do African Americans shout in church?

Isaiah 12

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Have you ever wondered why some African Americans shout during their worship services? Scholars agree that while shouting likely has roots in African culture, in America, it was a way to cope with oppression and anticipate a day of freedom. In this respect, people who shout are like ancient Israelites who looked past their suffering to God’s deliverance. God charged Isaiah to warn his people about coming judgment. But the prophet also encouraged them by looking beyond the judgment to a day of freedom. He wrote in Isaiah Chapter 12, “In that day you will sing, ‘I will praise you, O LORD! You were angry with me, but not any more. Now you comfort me. God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The LORD God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.’ In that wonderful day, you will sing: Thank the LORD! Praise his name! Tell the nations what he has done. Let them know how mighty he is! Sing to the LORD, for he has done wonderful things.” Isaiah could comfort ancient Israel based on the sure promise of God. And today, despite our struggles, we have God’s sure word. If our faith rests in Him and in His Son, who has reconciled us to God by His atoning sacrifice, one day we will say with all of God’s redeemed people, “The Lord has done great things for us and we are glad.”

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