Archive for Creation


Mystery Revealed

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The Unknown about the Lord and Being Known Ourselves

Last time I blogged I looked at some things which we just don’t understand about God’s ways, and the reasons that things happen in our lives that He doesn’t reveal. Although some things remain a mystery, on the other hand we are completely, utterly known to God.

Is that always comfortable, that God knows absolutely everything about me while I cannot begin to fathom Him? In Psalm 139 King David is completely comfortable with this and finds it beautiful and wondrous.

“O Lord, You have searched me and you know me…You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely, O Lord.”(Psalm 139:1,3b, 4) David contrasts his thoughts about how well God knows him with verses about how the full knowledge of God is beyond him. And more than that, he rejoices in it. “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”(vs.6)

David says that wherever he goes, God will be there, and moreover, He will be there for David. “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? . . . If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast.” (vs.7,9&10)

If I settle on the far side of the sea

If I settle on the far side of the sea

After David explains how completely the Lord knows his soul, he tells of God’s perfect knowledge of his physical being: “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb . . . Your eyes saw my unformed body.” (Vs.13&15c)

But within these thoughts he again turns to how miraculous and unfathomable God’s works are. “I will praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”(vs.14)

As this section of the psalm ends, David’s praise for God’s immensity and for His closeness to David combine: “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with You.” (vs.17&18)

What a promise that is – He is still with us.

The Secret of Living with the Mysteries

What made David so comfortable? He never directly, but I think between these lines is a deep trust of His Lord. Although God reaches beyond that which David could know about or comprehend, David is sure that He can trust His loving Father with all the intimate details of his life. Does trust like that come easily? Not to me. It grows with time, with experiencing God’s love and provision, with reading passages like this that show me David’s utter trust of God. For me, the more I know of God’s care for me, the easier I can live with my unsolved mysteries.

A Prayer of Trust

Finally, there is the well known ending prayer of Psalm 139 verses 23 and 24. It is a prayer of such trust and such an open heart to the God of the universe.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

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The Mighty Power is Indescribable

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There are two songs we sing that remind me of each other but – they’re about three hundred years apart in the making. First, “I Sing the Mighty Power of God” was published by Isaac Watts in 1715 and was actually meant to be a children’s hymn. To my surprise the words are associated with at least two hymn tunes: Forest Green and Ellacombe. I had only known of Ellacombe. The Forest Green tune seems to me to be a more likely children’s hymn and so perhaps is the more traditional.

Gazing upon the sky

God’s Power Described

Watts declares God’s power, wisdom and authority using examples of creation. And that’s just the first verse! Looking further we see God’s goodness, His care of His creation, and His omnipotence. So while at first glance it may seem that Watts is primarily extolling creation, that’s not the whole story. He is praising the many attributes of God by drawing our attention to His creation.

I sing the mighty power of God, That made the mountains rise;
That spread the flowing seas abroad, And built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained The sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at His command, And all the stars obey.

I sing the goodness of the Lord, That filled the earth with food;
He formed the creatures with His word, And then pronounced them good.

Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, Where’er I turn my eye:
If I survey the ground I tread, Or gaze upon the sky!

There’s not a plant or flower below, But makes Thy glories known;
And clouds arise, and tempests blow, By order from Thy throne;
While all that borrows life from Thee Is ever in Thy care,
And everywhere that man can be, Thou, God, art present there.

These verses are split exactly in half in the way they speak of God. The first verse and the first two lines of the second address God in the third person. Thereafter God is spoken to and praised directly.

Fast Forward to . . .

In 2002, Laura Story wrote the song “Indescribable”. These ten years since it has become beloved far and wide. This song is in the verse and chorus style, the verses holding the main descriptions of creation. One example from the second verse:

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow

It is the chorus which gives us the praises of God, especially how omnipotent and unknowable He is:

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untamable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

This song almost completely speaks directly to the Lord. The exception is the second verse, which asks the question, who has done all these miracles of creation? At the end of the last chorus Story’s praise of the creation of humanity and His relationship with them is personally expressed.

You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same
You are amazing God

What do you think?

Each hymn of praise expresses itself in the style of its day. For myself, “Indescribable” says something to me in my “native tongue”, the language of today. “I Sing the Mighty Power of God” also combines praise for the wonders of God and creation; using the “Ellacombe” version makes it a vital declaration, while “Forest Green” captures the gentle simplicity of the children’s song it was originally.

Which do you prefer?

Categories : Creation, Hymns, Music
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