This song freshens up a 19th century hymn by George Robinson about the love of God that we experience in union with Jesus, and how that relationship affects our lives, particularly in how we view creation. Robinson says that "something lives in every hue Christless eyes have never seen." Once a person is born-again, or regenerated, it is like they are given new eyes, eyes to see the significance of Jesus in every formerly mundane aspect of the universe. As we experience the beauties of this world, we can truly say that Jesus' loveliness ever grows since we see Him - His beauty, His creative power, His tenderness - in creation. The song closes with the assurance that though "heaven and earth may fade and flee," in His arms we'll ever be. Let us rejoice in the amazing truth that we can say "I am His, and He is mine!"
Posts Tagged ‘God’s Love’
In his classic book Knowing God, theologian J.I. Packer makes the following assertion about the fatherhood of God.
If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. “Father” is the Christian name for God… Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption.
In one of the Jesus' most moving parables, the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32; this could also be called the Parable of the Lost Sons), we see salvation portrayed as the restoration of a family, the reuniting of a wayward son with his loving Father. This song draws its inspiration from this parable and attempts to help us remember what kind of father we have in the Lord - a Father who patiently endured our waywardness, even though it cost Him the life of His own precious Son. The word "Dad" is used instead of Father intentionally. When Jesus prayed, He used the Aramaic word "Abba" which translated literally would mean either Papa or Daddy, and His use of this term to address God would have been controversial at the time. The word is meant to show us the intimacy that we can have with our creator - He need no longer be simply the God of the universe, He can become our Daddy through the redeeming work of His Son.
This song was born out of the author's own experience of the love of God. The Bible portrays the love God has for people using just about every human relationship as an analogy. This is because God's love is so far above man's love that every earthly experience of love shows us just a sliver of the way God loves us. One of the most powerful experiences of love we can have in this world is romantic love - the love a husband and wife share for each other. God uses this analogy for the way in which He loves us throughout the Bible, but perhaps nowhere as pointedly (and explicitly) as the book of Song of Solomon. In 6:3 the wife proclaims to her husband "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine," a picture of the intimacy Christians can experience with Jesus. This song tells the love story of God with His people - how He sought them out when they had rebelled and were filthy (Ezekiel 16), washed them and made them beautiful with His own beauty, and then grants that they might treasure Him and anticipate His return.
This is an original song based loosely on a hymn titled "O Zion, Afflicted" by John Roberts (1822-1877). It is a reminder of God's covenant love and faithful promise to work all things for good for His children (Romans 8:28), a truth we desperately need in times of darkness and peril. Whether you are suffering under great trial or are in a season of relative comfort, this song will remind you of God's love and care for you. Charles Spurgeon (1834-92) quotes from the original hymn in this excerpt from "Beside Still Waters," which serves as a great introduction to the new song as well:
When your faith endures many conflicts, and your spirit sinks low, do not condemn yourself. There is a reason for your season of heaviness. Great soldiers are not made without war. Skillful sailors are not trained on the shore. It appears that if you are to become a great believer, you will be greatly tested. If you are to be a great help to others, you must pass through their trials. If you are to be instructed in the things of the kingdom, you must learn from experience. The uncut diamond has little brilliance, and the unthreshed corn feeds no one, and the untried believer is of little use or beauty. There are GREAT BENEFITS to come from your trials and depression. The one who is much plowed and often harrowed will thank God if the result is a larger harvest to the praise and glory of God by Jesus Christ. If your face is now covered with sorrow, the time will come when you will bless God for that sorrow. The day will come when you will see great gain from your losses, your crosses, your troubles and your affliction. From your affliction this glory shall spring, and the deeper your sorrow the louder you'll sing. - Charles Spurgeon, "Beside Still Waters"
One of the central applications of the Gospel is to imitate it. Israel was to love the sojourner because they were sojourners in the land of Egypt (Deuteronomy 10:16). If they, when fatherless, widowed and homeless, were fed, clothed and sheltered by the Lord, they should display his glory in their treatment of others.
Likewise, James says to Christians (James 1:27), “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction.” James is not content to refer merely to God. Rather, he writes of “God, the Father,” reminding his readers of the privileged relationship they have with God—namely, He has become their “Father.”
As believers, we may call God “Father” because of our adoption as “sons” in Jesus Christ. We were born “sons of disobedience” and “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:1-3). But the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, chose us and predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3-6).
He sent his Son to live a life of full obedience, to die on the cross for our sins, and to be raised from the dead. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are adopted as sons of God and become heirs (Galatians 3-4). Because we are sons, the Father sends the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying “Abba! Father!” To keep us from falling back into fear, the Spirit of adoption bears witness to us that we are children of God, fellow heirs with Christ, with whom we will be glorified (Romans 8:15-17). God the Father graciously makes his home with us until he calls us to his house (John 14).
If God the Father has blessed us with this great and altogether undeserved adoption, we will show like care to “orphans and widows in their affliction.” In application of the Gospel, Christians become people who display the greatness of their Father through their care for those in need.
This song expounds the nature of God's love for us. On the one hand, God tells us that His love "surpasses knowledge," (Ephesians 3:19) while on the other hand that "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:10). Though the mechanics of Jesus' atoning work on the cross are deeply mysterious, it shows the fullest and most explicit expression of God's love for us. Jesus "lays his life down for his sheep" (John 10:11), giving up his life so that "the one who comes to [Him], [He] will certainly not cast out."
This is a powerful, moving hymn about the depth and beauty of God's great love. A very emotional and personal text, this song can help us comprehend "what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:18-19) In verse 1, the vastness, fullness, and envelopment of God's love is explored, while in verse 2 God's love is tied specifically to the work of Jesus on our behalf and the praise that work brings forth from believers. In conclusion, we sing the most amazing thought, that God's love is a "heaven of heavens" to me, as if to say that God's love is so far beyond any other love that it is a heaven's-measure above all.