Read His Words Before Ours!
This week I battled shame-filled thoughts, lies, and doubts.
There were moments when, honestly, it was hard to breathe.
In those dark moments, I remembered what my worship pastor once told me about the power of worship music.
She said, “It’s not about trying to feel happy again, it’s pushing back darkness with worship. When all feels lost, sing to Him a new song”.
Taking her advice, I searched for the first song that came to mind:
How Deep the Father’s Love by Stuart Townsend.
With Scripture-saturated lyrics, my mind was called to the redemptive love Christ demonstrated through His death on the cross.
How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
Townsend begins by echoing Paul’s prayer in Ephesians. In it, Paul expresses his desire for the Ephesian church to know “with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love”.
God’s love is truly too vast to measure, yet He faithfully makes His love known. What’s the greatest evidence of His love?
That he would give his only Son
To make a wretch his treasure
Townsend calls us wretches; despicable or contemptible people. If that seems harsh, Paul goes one step further in Romans 5:10, declaring us enemies of God, willfully opposed to Him.
Once saved, we are no longer wretches or enemies of God, rather we are His beloved treasures. In Deuteronomy 7:6, Moses speaks of Israel’s identity and worth, “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns his face away
Again, Townsend calls us to consider the incredible sacrifice God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ, made for us. In these lines, Townsend references Jesus’ final moments on the cross, when He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
As Christ hung on the cross, He bore the full weight of our sin. Father God, in His holiness could not look upon God the Son in those final moments as He bore our guilt and disgrace in our rightful place. (Isaiah 59:1-2) Undoubtedly, these must have been the most painful moments for Father, Son, and Spirit as they had never experienced anything, before or since, other than perfect love and unity between them.
As wounds which mar the chosen One
Bring many sons to glory
Here, Townsend reveals why Christ would willingly subject Himself to separation from the Father. These wounds, His broken body, fulfilled the debt the Law demanded for sin. Because He lived without sin and willingly died, Christ became the way through which many sons would come to glory. This particular phrase, “many sons to glory” is used in Hebrews 2:9-10, where the author discusses the salvation we receive through Christ’s suffering.
Behold the Man upon a cross
My sin upon his shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
These are my favorite lines of the whole song. Every time I sing them, I’m reminded of the part I played in putting Christ on the cross. While I would love to think I would not be a scoffer like those in Mark 15:29-31, I know even Peter denied Christ. I know I too have made a mockery of the Cross by my actions or words.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
Mark tells us these scoffers called for Christ to come off the cross. They dared Him to use His powers as the Son of God to save Himself. He could have done exactly that! Instead, for the sake of love for us, He chose to stay, breaking the power of sin over us if we trust in Him.
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
John 19:30 tells of Christ uttering the words, “it is finished” and breathing His last.
Powerful words to sit with.
Even more powerful words to live out.
Because Christ died, the law has been fulfilled and eternal life with the Father is made possible! (John 3:16)
We no longer must strive or seek to earn favor with God!
Christ has paid the debt we could never pay, and through His death, we have life! (Galatians 2:20)
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no powr, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
his death and resurrection
As he closes, Townsend again echoes Paul’s words, this time to the Galatians, “But as for me, I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (6:14) As Christians, everything we have inherited spiritually is possible by the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit. We had no part in our salvation and so cannot boast in anything except His strength.
Why should I gain from his reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
his wounds have paid my ransom
Townsend concludes by wondering out loud something I have often pondered within my heart.
Why would Christ be willing to leave heaven to die a death I deserved?
Why save a wretch like me?
Townsend could have ended the song with another repetition of the chorus, but chose instead to end here, utterly unable to fathom why God would choose to save us while fully believing He did exactly that!
Such perfect love driving out all fear!
After spending time meditating on the truth reflected here, those dark thoughts and enemy lies dissipate. Suddenly, it’s easier to breathe.
This is the power of worship!
This is the power of His truthful Word made alive by His Spirit!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!