The song caused me pain.
Tremendous pain. My heart ached and I couldn’t even sing it. The song was the popular worship song “Oceans”. And the part hurting the most was the bridge:
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Saviour
“Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”
Joel Houston | Matt Crocker | Salomon Ligthelm
© 2012 Hillsong Music Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
All rights reserved.
CCLI License # 313703
Without going into all the reasons why (it would take more than one blog post!), I couldn’t sing this part of this song. I was struggling through doubts (yes, even pastors have doubts sometimes!) and I felt like I was drowning in the ocean and the only answer I could hear from the Lord was silence.
But our Lord also moves in the stillness and haunting silences. In my personal worship time the next morning, this passage was calling to be read: Ecclesiastes 5:1-7.
1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. 2 Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. 3 A dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the speech of a fool. 4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. 5 It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. 6 Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? 7 Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God.
There is a treasure chest of worship theology and doctrine in the Bible and most of it is found in the Old Testament. What we as the “New Testament People of God” miss is God’s standards for worship haven’t changed between the covenants.
Solomon speaks of approaching God with reverence and expectancy. Our first priority is to listen to hear His voice and not just the sound of our own. As such, we’re warned it’s better to avoid making a promise to God than to make one we will not fulfill (verse 5). Lying to God has dire consequences.
How often do we go to a worship service and sing through the songs of worship with full intention of leaving in the same sinful state we walked in with? How often do the words of our mouths speak (sing) lies to the Almighty?
Do not be so fast to commit to God what you don’t have intention of fulfilling (verse 2). If we say we’ll follow God anywhere, we’d better be willing to actually do it!
Don’t get me wrong: I’m NOT saying we shouldn’t surrender to the Lord in worship. I’m NOT saying we shouldn’t sing songs around commitment, following, surrender, etc. because we’re afraid of blasphemy. Quite the contrary, we NEED to sing them but we need to sing them from our hearts instead of just our lips.
Jesus had something to say about that (cf. Matthew 15:8-9).
More than songs and words, however, we need to approach God more often with silence.
Listening more than speaking.
Reflecting more than reacting.
Less of us and more of Him.
This is what that experience with that song reminded me: He is still God.
I am still human. He is still Lord and I am still His. And it wasn’t in the volume of the song where I discovered this. It was in the silence of the echo in my heart.
Why don’t you try that now? Think of Who He is and reflect in silence.
Lover of my Soul
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”