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What Are We Singing: How Great is Our God

  • Eva Marie Everson Contributing Writer
  • 2007 8 Aug
  • COMMENTS
What Are We Singing: <i>How Great is Our God</i>

As a speaker, it is one of those moments I’ll never forget. I stood behind the podium facing several hundred ladies, their faces revealing an anxiousness to know more about what I have come to tell them. About God. About His power in their lives. About what He has done in mine and in the lives of those we read about on gold trimmed pages set between soft leather. About what He continues to do…

I felt the time was right. “There is something I’d like to share with you,” I said. “Something that blows my mind every time I read it. Turn with me, if you will, to Ezekiel 1.”

Bibles casually spread across laps were reached for, pages fanning this way and that, trying to find one of the 66 books of the Bible less read. When all eyes were back on me—an indication that the desired scripture had been located—I read, “ ‘…while I was among the exiles…the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God…I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north—an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures… Each of the four had the face of a man, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle…Their wings were spread out upward; each had two wings, one touching the wing of another creature on either side, and two wings covering its body…As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each creature with its four faces…They sparkled like chrysolite, and all four looked alike. Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel…Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When the creatures moved, they also moved; when the creatures stood still, they also stood still; and when the creatures rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. Spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what looked like an expanse, sparkling like ice, and awesome… Then there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man…I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.[1]

I felt my heart exploding in joy as I read; I’d just read scripture describing the near indescribable greatness and awesomeness of our God. But when I looked up, the faces staring back at me had gone from anxious to near terrified. Later one of the ladies came up to me and said, “I’m not sure we’re ready to know just how wonderful God is.”

The Wonder of God

Singer/Songwriter Chris Tomlin’s[2] song How Great is Our God has inspired this generation of believers by reminding us that God is no ordinary being sitting on a common throne dressed in rags. God’s very being, according to the Word, expresses magnificence our words strain to capture.

Isaiah wrote: In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: with two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory. At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.[3]

This paints a powerful picture of who God is and how His Spirit reveals Himself to those who are “ready” to see how wonderful—which is surely a weak word for describing the Almighty—God truly is.

From the beginning of time, God has urged us to glimpse into his greatness. In Genesis 28, the patriarch Jacob—who was not quite a father himself but a son on the run—lays down to sleep while traveling from Beersheba to Haran, his mother’s hometown. While sleeping, Jacob dreamed of a stairway stretching from earth to heaven. The angels of God ascended and descended on the ladder, but at the top stood the Lord, who spoke to Jacob, making a lasting covenant with him and his descendents.

The prophets’ writings (such as those found in Ezekiel and Isaiah) are filled to overflowing with visions and elements of God’s majesty and sovereignty. The New Testament story begins with God’s display of greatness. Glory to God in the highest, the angels sang above the shepherds' field. And on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.[4] Jesus' ministry was filled with miracles, His death resulted in the darkening of the sky[5], an earthquake[6], the tearing of the veil in the temple[7], and the opening of graves; the occupants of those graves filled again with life. Three days later He returned from the grave Himself, fully alive.[8] Forty days after that, He ascended before witnesses just outside of Jerusalem.[9]

This same Jesus revealed Himself to John, His beloved disciple, approximately 40 years later in what has become known as John's Revelation. John's description of the Christ is much like those of Ezekiel and Isaiah in detail.

His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters…When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”[10]

God displayed his power and will to Paul on the road to Damascus[11] and, at some point, took the apostle (or so theologians believe it was Paul) to “the third heaven.”[12] Is it any wonder then that Paul wrote:

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How Unsearchable his judgments and his paths beyond tracing out. Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever![13]

How Great is Our God!

And is it any wonder then that Chris Tomlin penned his words in tribute to the greatness of God? Or that even with the sheer beauty and imagery of the lyrics and the Scriptures, we cannot come close to knowing… to understanding… to reaching the full definition of His greatness.

Perhaps, like the ladies who sat before me as I read from Ezekiel at the women’s conference, none of us, really, are ready to know just how wonderful God truly is.

Eva Marie Everson is the author of a number of works such as Oasis, her recently released title from Baker/Revel. A seminary graduate, she speaks on a number of topics and can be reached by going to:  www.EvaMarieEverson.com  

[1] Excerpted from Ezekiel 1. When reading at the women’s conference, the passage was read in full.

[2] www.christomlin.com

[3] Isaiah 6:1-4

[4] Luke 2:14

[5] Luke 23:44

[6] Matthew 27:51-53

[7] Luke 23:45

[8] John 20

[9] Acts 1

[10] See Revelation 1

[11] Acts 9

[12] 2 Corinthians 12:2

[13] Romans 11:33-36