The Bible records the response that people have when confronted with the presence of God in His holiness and might - they tremble in fear, usually sink to the ground prostrate, and seem to wish they were dead (Daniel actually almost died). But the Bible also records the tender and reassuring words of angels and the Lord Jesus to those lying in the dust before them: "do not fear." We will all face times of fear, whether it be times of acute awareness of our own sin before a holy God or times of struggle through life's difficulties. In the midst of these "waves of trouble," we need the anchor of that powerful voice that was able to calm the seas with a word, the voice of our loving Lord reminding us to take heart and do not fear, for He is near. We need to remember who God is - the sovereign ruler of the universe who is also our loving father. He has a wise and loving plan in every difficulty, and reminds us to trust and hold onto Him even when we can't understand the reason for our suffering. As you listen or sing, may you be encouraged with the beautiful truth that if you have put your trust in Jesus, you need not fear anything or anyone, for God has you securely in His hand.
Posts Tagged ‘Style: Contemporary’
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.
God uses the raw power and life-sustaining abilities of rivers for several key metaphors throughout the Bible. Even from the very beginning of the Bible, in the account of creation, we see God setting Adam and Even in a garden that is fed and surrounded by four rivers. When man sinned and was banished from the garden, his access to these rivers and the precious tree of life fed by them was cut off. Psalm 36:8 compares experiencing the joys of a restored relationship with God to drinking our fill from a river – one with an inexhaustible supply. A river is also used as a picture for the extent and pollution of our sin. When God turned the Nile River to blood, fish and vegetation died because the water would no longer support life. This is a picture of what sin does – it pollutes, corrupts, and brings death. But even though sin flows from all of our hearts like a mighty river, the river of grace that God poured out in Jesus' blood is able to overwhelm it. The promise at the end of the book of revelation stands as a strong encouragement for all those who put their hope in Jesus: " Then [the angel] showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him."
Jesus called God’s command to “love the LORD [our] God with all [our] heart and with all [our] soul and with all [our] might” (Deuteronomy 6:5) the “greatest commandment” since all of the aspects of the law, including our duties to God and fellow man, stand or fall on the depth of our love to them. The depth of the love that God requires and deserves is staggering. The Pentateuch records the elaborate duties that God gave to His people that were to be an expression of their love for Him. And those rituals are indicative of an even more pervasive, all-of-life, kind of spiritual service that God requires of us. Horatius Bonar understood this love and desired to give all of himself, including His heart, to God. But he also realized that our hearts are naturally deceitful and desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9) and incapable of loving God on our own. We naturally orient our lives around, find security and satisfaction in, and spend our time thinking about the things of this world. We were made to be satisfied in the only truly satisfying object of our love – God Himself. This song is plea, both with our hearts to leave the empty things of this world, and with God who alone has the power to draw out our affections to drink from His “fountain of delights.” (Psalm 36:8)
The Lord Jesus Christ has called his people on earth to be involved in taking the Gospel to all the nations. Every believer is to be involved, whether through going, sending, or praying—and probably some of each. Yet we know that this task will be difficult. It calls us to leave behind our family, the comforts of home and enter into suffering. It requires that we sacrifice our money, our time and our reputations to point others to Christ. Unless we value Christ more than these things, we will not go or send or pray. Therefore, this song is a prayer that the Lord would move us, his people, to go and keep going until every people group on earth display the worth of Jesus Christ. It is a prayer that the Lord would free us from the shackles of our idols so that men might be set free by the truth. It is a prayer that Lord would empower us to go to every land. It is a prayer that the Lord would encourage his missionaries in difficult situations through the promise of the triumph of his Kingdom through the preaching of the Word. May the Lord be pleased to answer this prayer as it is sung from the hearts of his people!
This song is a paraphrase of Psalm 95 and can function as a wonderful "call to worship," but thankfully doesn't just stop at encouraging the singers to stand and sing (like many contemporary worhsip songs). It goes much deeper, and reiterates the reasons why we worship Him and the means by which we can even worship to begin with. We give God thanks for His grace shown to us by Jesus "fixing our place" through His death and resurrection applied to us thorugh faith. To Him belongs a thousand joyful worship songs because He is the sovereign King over heaven and earth. And His sovereignty ultimately moves us to more than simply singing - in the last verse we sing about falling to our knees (either metaphorically, in our hearts or physically) because of the awesomeness of God's power and might.
Praise God for His sovereign grace! John Kent, the hymn writer from the late 18th century, draws our attention to several things that God's sovereign grace accomplishes. First, he explains that it is the delivery method for God's limitless love. He draws from Ephesiams 3:18 when he speaks of the breadth and length of God's sovereign love that no man can know. Second, sovereign grace binds us to Christ by everlasting chains (bands) so that no one can snatch us from His hand (John 10:28). Third, God's grace gave us status as joint heirs with Jesus even before we were born (Eph 1:3-14). Fourth, sovereign grace fills us with the question "why, O Lord, such love to me?" We are given no other answer as to why God chose us to be saved other than the "kind intention of His will" (Eph 1:5). The song helps us to properly respond to this love by answering simply "hallelujah" - Praise the Lord! The chorus was added to the historic lyrics to summarize what the song is teaching us about God's grace and add a plea for God to pour it out even more abundantly in our lives so that we will passionately worship Him.
A vital part of our worship must be that of confession and repentance, for if we are not maintaining a healthy, reconciled relationship with God, our time of praise and adoration will be hypocritical and contrived. Different traditions insert a time of confession in their gathered worship at different times and in different ways, but all seek to focus our attention on our sinfulness in order to remember and enjoy the forgiveness God has applied to those very sins. Robery McCheyne said that "for every one look at your sin, take 10 looks to Jesus." We can spend the rest of our time of worship celebrating and enjoying God's glory - his name and works. Our fresh experience of the forgiveness of sins will make the rest of our time of worship more real, intimate, and exciting. This song is a song of desperation - because of our weakness, fear, vileness, and worthlessness, we have nothing left to except cry like the tax collector in Luke 18:13 "God, be merciful to me, the sinner!"
"I Sing the Mighty Power of God" is one of the most beautiful hymns we have that describes God's glory and power displayed to us in creation. Romans 1:20 (NASB) says "since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made." God has displayed ample evidence of his nature and his power so that unbelieving people are without excuse. In fact, creation speaks so loudly of a creator that men often end up worshiping the creation (Rom 1:23). Meditating on God's goodness to us, shown even in creation, will help us worship God as he intends. The whole testimony of scripture is filled with evidence of worship as a result of beholding God's creation (see Psalm 8 for example). In this song, a chorus was added to add emphasis to the fact that God is not only our creator but also redeemer. He hasn't simply left us with the testimony of creation, but has furnished his son, the Lord Jesus, who came to redeem us, as proof of not only His existence, but his lovingkindness.
"I Will Follow You" is a great song of dedication. The desire of the believer's heart is to faithfully serve his Lord all the days of this life - and then on into eternity in His heavenly kingdom. This song has an original chorus that focuses our attention on the great theme of serving God not simply because He commands it but because He is also our friend.