I love that we have a God who reveals Himself to His people. He is so personal with each of us.
As I studied Genesis and Exodus a couple of years ago, I couldn’t help but notice all the names of God that are introduced and how He spoke so personally. In Genesis 17, He said to Abram, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.” This was the first time God used the name Shaddai for Himself. To Hagar in Genesis 16, He revealed Himself as El Roi, the God who sees. And in Exodus 3:6, God revealed Himself to Moses as “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Later in verse 14, God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM” declaring Himself to be the Eternal One, uncaused and independent (according to my Bible notes).
Those are just examples of the ways God revealed Himself in those days, and yet today, He is still a God who speaks and reveals Himself. He does this first and foremost through His Word and through His Spirit. And He can do this in innumerable ways because He is so vast and beyond comprehension; God cannot be put in a neat box that we can understand. I am stunned by the personal nature of how He speaks and reveals Himself to His people.
One way God ministers to my heart is through music. This is something that began in April 2005 after I really surrendered my life to Him. I was so thrilled by what I was discovering about God and so sick of being “lukewarm” and having a faith that God would want to spit out of His mouth, that I went around ecstatically proclaiming what God had done for me everywhere I went. I remember our small group meeting at our house, and I just went on and on about it! I started to wonder if I was being a little overboard with all my gushing. The only thought that kept going through my head though was “If you don’t praise Me, the rocks would cry out” (a reference to Luke 19:40).
I traveled to Memphis that next week in May 2005 for Mother’s Day and to see a friend whose son had just been diagnosed with leukemia and was being treated at St. Jude. At church that Sunday morning, the anthem was about this very thing that had been on my heart all week:
“If we keep our voices silent,
All creation will rise and shout,
If we fail to praise you, Father,
Then will the very rocks cry out!”
I’d certainly never heard this song or an entire anthem declaring this message. In the past, I would have questioned “coincidence”? But God had been revealing Himself so clearly in so many ways, that I didn’t doubt this was from Him.
I flew back home and was feeling led to do a neighborhood Bible study that summer. As I prayed about it, there were so many ways that God answered and led so clearly. I did though wish after my quiet time one morning, “I’d love to have a song for this, but I know there aren’t really songs about your neighbors!”
As I went to start breakfast, I turned on the radio in the kitchen, and the words to the song that were playing by Steven Curtis Chapman were: “Wake the neighbors! Get the word out! Come on, break out the music, climb a mountain and shout. This is life we’ve been given, made to be lived out… so live out loud!” That became my neighborhood Bible study song.
I literally have a song for most major events in my life. And when I hear them, I can remember how actively God revealed Himself during a time in my life (my grandmother dying, selling our house, my son’s broken wrist, etc.).
One last quick song story. I have a benign kidney condition where my kidneys are misshapen and I therefore have lots of stones and diffuse calcification throughout. After being diagnosed a few years ago and finally figuring out the source of the pain, I was told I’d need lithotripsy every year or two to manage this. Each checkup revealed more stones and more concerns from the tests they had done.
As I was preparing for my next visit, my quiet time that morning was in Habakkuk 3. As I finished, I decided that whatever I learned at my doctor visit, I would need to give the Lord praise. I then started ahead on my day, but then realized, no, I need to know specifically what I am going to say because otherwise, I will forget to praise Him, especially if the news isn’t good (which is what I expected because I was hurting). I went back to Habakkuk and noticed 3:2: “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day…” So the phrase I took to remember was “I stand in awe of You.” No matter what I’m told, Lord, I will say “I stand in awe of You” for You have done great things for me.
Later at my doctor visit, I sat waiting. The doctor rushed in with one of my reports and sat down. He then proceeded to tell me how wonderful it was: “What are you doing? How has this happened?” He went over every level, with each one saying how great it was! I felt like a school kid being praised for doing well on a test. He kept saying how great this was and how this was the best report he had seen from a patient with this condition, on and on. I just started saying in my heart, “I stand in awe of You! I stand in awe of You.”
I left and went to get my kids at a friend’s house. As I was telling them the story and how we needed to say thank you to the Lord, and I was describing to them how I praised God with “I stand in awe of You,” I could hear the music playing on the radio in the background. It was playing an old, but familiar song “I stand in awe of You:”
“Yes, I stand in awe of You, Jesus,
Yes, I stand in awe of You.
And I let my words be few… Jesus I am so in love with You.”
Now, I did still have stones, and I’ve not been healed, but each subsequent visit has held a good report: “This is awesome!” a nurse told me at the next visit. Awesome, indeed.
I love it that God speaks through songs. I’d love to hear the ways He speaks to you, too. He is so personal, so real, so near. I praise the God who speaks in such personal ways!