Song Theology

Declare | Theology

By November 29, 2018September 26th, 2019No Comments

Declare

Why I am excited about this song

  1. It declares the truth about not just what God does, but His character as revealed in scripture. We understand God’s character through His actions, for sure, but we also must understand that His character is great, unchanging and is in itself, worthy of praise.
  2. It deals with character realities that sometimes get ignored, like God’s jealousy and wrath, it assumes them and I think this is a really good thing. If the congregation reads their bibles in their own time (and I hope they do) they will come across these themes and it makes sense that songs would reflect the reality of God as revealed in scripture. If they don’t, then I would say something has gone seriously wrong.
  3. It has great teaching in it and is memorable enough that people could potentially memorise a ton of the attributes of God more easily than if you were to pack them in Sunday teaching. Also, this great theology is packed into a tune which is fun to play and gets me excited to sing among the congregation, clapping or whatever, we had such a fun time recording it for this reason.

 

On knowing God…

I want to address one issue I have come across, on the front end here. Some people say “I don’t want to know about God; I just want to know God”. There is a flaw here. Imagine a guy and a girl on a date at a coffee shop, sipping lattes, making eyes and small talk, the girl decides to speak up and tell him about herself and open up about the things she likes, the things she doesn’t, who she is, what’s important to her. Imagine if the guy says “listen, things were going so well, I don’t want to know about you, I just want to know you, like authentically, like, ya know”. It’s pointless to say you can know someone without knowing about them, if you don’t want to know about God, then you won’t know God, however authentic you are, however honest and raw. It doesn’t work. I could go on for days, but I would encourage you to read Exodus 33:18, Moses asks to see God’s glory and what we get is this beautiful description of God’s amazing character.

 

Justification

All knowledge

1 John 3:20 says, “God knows everything” this is talking in relation to our sin. Matthew 10:19 says God knows the hairs on our heads (more amazing for some than others). Psalm 139:4 claims that God knows what we are going to say before we even say it. This doctrine is well established in the Christian tradition. Throughout the bible, it is clear that God has all knowledge. This should be quite amazing to anyone since I can’t imagine that any single person would have even come close to having 1 per cent of all the knowledge.

 

All wisdom

Similarly, God is all wise, as we see in Job 12:13, wisdom, counsel and understanding belong to Him. Simply put here, God knows how to use His knowledge and He knows how in the highest way anyone could know how to use the knowledge He has.

 

The truth is in you Lord

So God has the Knowledge and the wisdom, but that doesn’t mean He would necessarily tell the truth. Numbers 23:19 says that “God is not a man, that He should lie” thankfully. This is important, otherwise, how could we trust what He says?

 

All goodness, all loving

Psalm 119:68 says God is good and God does good. He is also loving, in fact, He is the very definition of love (1 John 4:8).

 

You’re patient and merciful

God’s patience is a consistent theme of the scriptures, like in Numbers 14:18 where it says “The LORD is slow to anger”. Exodus 34:6 and Psalm 86:15 reference this also. There are many more that could be referenced.

 

You’re gracious, – You’re holy

Exodus 34:6 in one of the great character statements of God it says that He is Gracious. Leviticus 20:26 says the Lord is Holy, and Israel was to make themselves holy (sanctify themselves) because of God’s holiness and this is echoed in 1 Peter 1:16 and now surely applies to us. God’s holiness has great ramifications for us as it should cause us to want to be holy, like Him, it’s not just an Old Testament thing.

 

You’re full of righteousness

Psalm 145:17 says “The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.”

 

Jealous for – Your people

Exodus 20:5 says that God is a jealous God, people often do not like this, and they don’t like it because jealousy is seen as being inherently bad. Short story is, it can be, in fact, most of the time it is bad in humans. However, there are some cases when it is not bad, like when a wife is (correctly) jealous of her husband being to close with another woman. This kind of jealousy is right within this kind of relationship, there is a whole book which conveys much of this called Hosea, but it is clearly right for God to be jealous of the church which He has purchased by Jesus’ blood and we should like this and get past our aversion to see how beautiful this really is. If we think love is good, we should like this kind of jealousy, because God’s jealousy comes from His love for His people, like a husband for his wife or vice versa.

 

Wrathful, yet you are peaceful

If you didn’t like jealousy, you probably aren’t going to like the wrathful thing. Romans 1:18, John 3:36, Ezekiel 25:17 all attest to this and many more do as well. Fact is, “God is a righteous judge” (Psalm 7:11). If He is this righteous judge, there must be punishment for evil. God hates, He hates a lot of stuff and even particular people, as God hates, there are many things you should also hate. For instance, do you love kids? Do you care for them? Do you hate child abuse? If you answered yes to the first two you should answer yes to the third. And if you love righteousness, you should hate unrighteousness. For God to be right and just He must hate the things which He should hate and He does and I am thankful there are things God hates. However, God does this better than us, so be careful with your hating, please be a good hater, Christians should know the things they hate, like injustice and they should do something about the things they hate, to stop those things from happening also.

 

Comment

Before we get to the chorus I want you to notice something. These attributes of God—so-called—do not exist in a vacuum apart from one another, they all work together and are needed by one another. Sure God is all-knowing but does He know how to use that knowledge wisely? And is the stuff He tells us about Him (like His knowledge and wisdom) actually true? is He going to use this knowledge and wisdom to do good stuff? Or bad stuff? I could go on, but understanding how these all work together is really important for understanding God. The chorus changes things up a little from the verse. The whole thing is praise to God, but this section is really a response, overflowing from excitement about the amazingness of God’s attributes and because of God’s greatness, we choose to live lives which declare His grace, which bring Him praise with our whole being.

 

Let Our lives declare aloud, Your amazing grace

This is a request in some sense to God to help us in this task, to live as lights (Matthew 5:15), but also a declaration to the congregation as we sing to one another as an exhortation which I hope will bring conviction to some and pure joy as well, that it would ultimately all bring glory to God.

 

With our hearts and minds and strength, we’ll live to bring You praise

Matthew 22:37 says “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Of course, this is about loving God. The idea really could be considered with your whole being. And we say that we will live to bring God praise with our heart, mind and strength, i.e. our whole being. There’s a larger discussion which could be had regarding the heart and soul and what the difference is in the original languages (even in Deuteronomy in the original commandment of this) but I’ll leave it there for now and perhaps come back to it another time).

 

God who is – forgiving

Another excellent characteristic of God (for our sakes). Isaiah 43:25 says “I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” There are a ton of verses related to God’s forgiveness, but this is most noticeably shown in our salvation in which God forgives us of our sins.

 

Your justice is perfect

We already discussed God’s righteousness which is similar. It is much like how wisdom and knowledge pair together. God’s justice is perfect, and He enacts it perfectly (in His righteousness).

 

You are in, full control

Psalm 135:6 says “Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.” Luke 1:37 says “For nothing will be impossible with God.”. So He does whatever He wants and He has the ability to do so. He has full control over everything. We believe, even over salvation itself. Romans 3:11 says “no one understands; no one seeks for God.” Thankfully God predestines those who will believe. Ephesians 1:5 “He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will”. It is easy to believe that we choose God, for our purposes, but this simply is not the case. We hold high the sovereignty of God.

 

And yet you give us freedom

Clearly though, we have freedom of some kind. Adam and Eve ate from the tree (Genesis 3), People chose to crucify Christ and it is their fault that they did, (1 Corinthians 2:8). It seems as if God uses our freedom to accomplish His purposes, perhaps best seen in Joseph’s profound statement at the end of the book of Genesis, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50:20).

 

Your power is complete

Revelation 19:6 calls God “The Lord our God, the Almighty”. It’s similar to saying God is in full control, He is in full control because of His great power, and because of His great power, we can feel safe, because nothing is out of His hands.

 

You’re perfect, without need

God’s perfection is very important to understand and is missed by many well-meaning individuals when talking about God. The song said earlier that God is jealous, this shouldn’t be confused with God having an unmet need. God needs nothing. Acts 17:25 “And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything. Rather, He Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.” It’s easy to start believing God needs us, but the reality is He doesn’t (thank the Lord because you could not possibly please a needy, all-knowing, all-powerful, eternal God, could you?) but God does want you, He chooses you actually, and that is pretty amazing really and we should focus on that. Matthew 5:48 says “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” God is perfect and He doesn’t need anything from you, and that is a good thing.

 

Your beauty, your glory, creation sings your majesty

Psalm 19:1 says “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” When we sing this song we do just the same thing as that, all the things God makes, a warm summer’s breeze, swaying trees, multi-coloured sunsets, all display His beauty and His glory. Can’t see God? Look around at the things He has made, they tell of his glory and Christians should be the last people to become numb to this stuff, buy a telescope, get your prescription updated, don’t miss out!

 

Surely you oh Lord are our delight

Psalm 37:23 says “The steps of a man are established by the LORD when he delights in his way;”. Can I encourage you, be this person, be the one that delights in the Lord as revealed in His scriptures, as revealed through His creation, be this person, declare this, it’s just so important and I can’t state it enough to you.

 

We will turn to you in day or night

Psalm 37:5 says “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and He will act.” This is for those who delight in the Lord. If we delight in Him we also trust in Him.

 

Clothed in confidence we shall not fear

As it says in Psalm 37:7 “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him” we have a confidence to be patient because of all that we have said in this song so far.

 

The earth is in your hands but still you’re near

God is both powerful and mighty, as we have said, but also close to us, so we can trust in Him to be near to us in trouble. He still holds the earth in His hands, He is powerful to be able to save us.

 

Conclusion

I hope this has all been helpful to you, I enjoyed writing it and consolidating in my mind what this is all about and how scripture points us to a God this great. This God is worthy of our praise because of who is and out of that, what He has done and I am glad to know this God, I feel confident to place my trust in this God and I hope that you do also

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