The inspiration behind this post came put of a conversation from one of the singers in one of my choirs. This person had been been singing the song ‘Our God is an Awesome God’ – sung by several artists including Helen Baylor (whose version I heard first) but ‘updated’ for a ‘younger’ audience by the redoubtable Kirk Franklin – and his version is how most of the people I know who know the song hear it. As for who actually wrote the song, a search on google would suggest that it was Michael W. Smith…
Having heard the Kirk Franklin version of this song, the singer in question came to me with the observation that the lyric “He reigns with wisdom, power and love….” is in fact quite profound. OK, most Christian believers accept that God is all-powerful (omnipotent), so that’s not telling us anything. However, some (including so-called ‘Christians’) do doubt that God is omnipotent. They feel that if He really had all the power, He’d make different decisions about the bad things in our world. And as He doesn’t sometimes, He obviously can’t do anything because if He is a loving God as well as a powerful God, then…
OK, that’s a can of worms. I’ll leave that for now. Next – I just flagged it – this idea of God being a God of love. The Christian world is constantly bombarded by accusers inside and outside the church who have serious grievances with God because things have not gone their way and they are experiencing various forms of pain and suffering as a result. So they ask: If God is a God of love, how come….?!?
OK, more worms. Moving on: Wisdom!!
Fun, fun, fun! So, is God actually wise? And before those of you who would say yes start cussing me for asking obvious questions, how is your faith in God? Are you serenely calm at all times, trusting in God’s providence? OK, providence is not wisdom, but how many of us give God the steering wheel, only to yank it back when we feel things are not moving the way in which we would expect?
It’s easy to say that we believe in the wisdom of God – but to LIVE a life that reflects and manifests such belief is not as easy as it looks…
I’m not finished.
Anyone see a monarch with no palace or castle? No security guards? No extensive cohort of servants?
Fine – God is a Spirit – and His kingdom is not like earthly kingdoms. But there are (at least) two levels of thought we need to deal with. God does not require our obeisance and acknowledgement and worship to reign. That He reigns is an immutable, transcendent reality. But if we say that He is everything to us – does He actually reign in our own lives? Is He ‘everything to us?’
Do our lives actually reflect and manifest the kingship and lordship of God Almighty? Or do our lives ultimately reflect other priorities and values?
Here’s the bottom line – some people would dismiss this song as just another contemporary praise song that doesn’t have ‘solid theology’ – but they would really have missed an opportunity to learn something about God through the combinations of word use employed by the song.
I am NOT prioritising contemporary songs over hymns. But as a serious hymn-lover, I used to detest the witless, unwarranted polemics against all contemporary worship music. Now, as I have grown and continue to grow in patience and compassion, I despair more than I get angry. People just don’t know, and they just don’t think, but they think that they think!
Bottom line – what I am saying is: let’s be very, very sure that we know what messages are being given out by the songs and hymns we use in our worship services. Sometimes the most profound blessings come from the most unexpected – and simplest – sources…