“O Lord, My God! When I in Awesome wonder, consider all the works Thy hands hath made, I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
(refrain) Then sings my soul, My Savior God to Thee; How Great Thou Art; How Great Thou Art! Then sings my soul, My Savior God to Thee; How Great Thou Art; How Great Thou Art!” (emphasis mine)
Any time I hear this song, or see the words to it, I can’t help but visualize George Beverly Shea singing it at a Billy Graham Crusade over the many years. He was born in Canada in 1909, and died in 2013 in North Carolina. He became a naturalized citizen in 1941; and is buried at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was a devout Christian all his life, and used his magnificent voice for the glory and honor of our Heavenly Father.
Now, about the Hymn. “How Great Thou Art” is a Christian Hymn, based on a Swedish traditional melody. The melody was applied to a poem written by Carl Boberg in 1885, and is considered second in popularity only to “Amazing Grace.” There are several other verses than the one at the beginning of this message; and if one would take the time to read them slowly, a new reverence for our Father, Son and Holy Spirit takes place.
(verse 2) “When through the woods and forest glades I wander, and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees; When I look down from my lofty mountain grandeur, and hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze.” (Very peaceful setting)
(refrain then V. 3) “And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing, sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in. That on the Cross, My Burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away My Sin.” (this is almost overwhelming to me; Jesus was on that cross because of me!)
(refrain then V. 4) “When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation, and take me Home, what Joy shall fill my heart! Then I shall bow in humble adoration, and there proclaim, My God, How Great Thou Art!” (the hope and joy we have in anticipation of the Rapture – taking up – of all Believers!) (Refrain again.)
We’re told in John 3:16-18 that God loves us so much that He sent His only Son to earth for us. I have heard and read these verses all my life, and they give a sense of Awe regarding our Heavenly Father. However, until we really stop and consider what was involved here, we’re only skimming the surface. Some are even put off because verse 18 says we’re condemned if we don’t believe in the Savior. There are several other verses in the New Testament that amplify this, such as 1 John 5:12, “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
To put this in perspective, God sent a part of Himself, 1/3 of the Trinity, to a sin-filled world to provide a perfect sacrifice for people who don’t deserve it. He could have forced us to accept and worship Him, but that would not be the nature of a loving God. It should be noted that the Trinity had never been separated before.
We see other “religions” that have so-called “gods” that require devotion, or the followers are required to use force to gain compliance. Problem is, they never are certain they’ve done enough “works” for their “god” to give them a place in “paradise.”
The Lord God Jehovah, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, actually wants a true relationship with each and every one of us. He has gone way above and beyond to give us the opportunity to be with Him forever. He does not use force on anyone, but will allow everyone to choose to be with Him. He gives us free-will that is not present in any other earthly religion.
Think on this just for a minute. I don’t know how many billions of people have ever lived, or will live, until the end of the Millennial Reign of Jesus. Yet, our Creator knows each and every one thoroughly. He knows our very thoughts, needs, wants (greeds), our good acts, and our sins. Yet, He wants to give all of us a chance to have eternal life in a Paradise that cannot be fully described.
Matthew 10:30 and Luke 12:7 tell us the very hairs on our heads are numbered; He even knows when a sparrow falls to the earth. With our limited mental abilities, it’s hard for us to understand that Our God is Omnipresent – everywhere at once; Omnipotent – all powerful; and Omniscient – all knowing.
Why would anyone care for us this much? Answer: only God Knows! He does have requirements, which only stand to reason. We must believe Jesus came to earth so we could have a pathway to the Father (John 14:6). We must believe Jesus and God are one (John 10:30). Jesus was not forced to be our sacrifice, yet He chose to die for us willingly (John 10:18). He orchestrated His own death, burial and resurrection through the power of the total Trinity.
To take advantage of the free offer from Our Father, we must confess that we are sinners as everyone on earth is. (Romans 3:23) The only sinless person to have ever lived was Jesus, despite Satan’s attempt to cause Him to sin. We must believe Jesus died for our sins, and His blood shed for us covered the sins of all who will accept Him. There is no way we can buy or earn our pardon for our sins, and we are definitely not worthy of the sacrifice our Heavenly Father provided. However, all who call on Jesus for forgiveness will be saved (Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13; also Joel 2:32).
If we believe our “works” can save us, Isaiah 64:6 puts this in perspective by stating all our works are as filthy rags in the eyes of the Father. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us we’re saved by “grace” not works. Does this mean we can just go on living the same old sinful life as before? Paul said in Romans 6:2, “May it never be. How shall we who died to sin, still live in it?” Our goal is to live so as to honor the Savior; and the sin in our lives should be the exception, not the rule.
If we have truly accepted Jesus, if we have asked His forgiveness and for Him to be our Savior, He will send the Holy Spirit to be within us until we leave this earth – either by death, or by the Rapture that is soon coming. How Great is that! As verse 3 of the song says, “I scarce can take it in!”
For those who choose not to accept Jesus, or think they can obtain heaven by other means, Revelation 20:11-15 is very specific about their outcome. They will be with Satan and his demons in the Lake of Fire forever. They will “know” at the Great White Throne that this is the only way a true and righteous creator could respond to their choice.
God gave us blessings that He never had to, yet He would like very much for everyone to repent and accept His Son (2 Peter 3:9). Some may believe He puts roadblocks in our paths to trip us up, but the Father is not the one doing that. It’s the act of Satan that tries to pull us away with many lies that he has used all along.
To wait could be too late. Jesus will come soon to call up all believers, and then this world will go through a wrath that has never happened before. The Bible calls it the Tribulation.
If you have accepted Him beforehand, when Jesus calls, you too will be able to proclaim – “MY God, How Great Thou Art!”
Come Lord Jesus!