New Song: Good, Good Father

One of the dangers with modern worship music is that we make the singing all about “me”.  Our singing becomes about how much we love the feeling of worshiping God for who he is instead of worshiping God for who he is.

Period.

The song we are going to sing this Sunday could be one of those songs if you don’t dig into it.  It’s called “Good, Good Father” and over the past year or so has been heard everywhere there is a church or christian radio station.  To avoid the trap of spiritual naval-gazing, let’s dig into the song right now so that we can truly worship our Father, in heaven…first, a question and a comment…

  1. Did you know that God is identified as our Father 265 times in scripture, mostly in the New Testament?  As James 1:7 tells us,

    “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

  2. At the same time, we need to acknowledge that the title, “father”, carries baggage for some of us.  Some didn’t grow up with a loving and faithful father.  Some, instead, carry the scars of abuse or neglect.  But the biblical concept of “father” points not only to a loving care-giver, but also the creator and ruler of all things.  As we read in Ephesians, he is “…the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name” (3:15).  So even if you are one who carries scars, you can think of God, the Father Almighty, as our creator, ruler and sustainer.

Let’s dig in…

VS1: I’ve heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night
And You tell me that You’re pleased and that I’m never alone
When I first heard this song, I thought, “what do they mean by ‘tender whisper’?  Are they singing about God audibly speaking to us?  I’ve never heard God audibly!”  But then I realized, it could be a poetic phrase the author used.  I do hear God “whisper” to me with new thoughts as I read the scriptures or listen to a sermon.  It’s not audible, but I like to think of that as the Holy Spirit whispering to me.  I’ve also had this same experience as other believers speak God’s truth to me.  Or as Matthew writes,  “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.” (10:27)
My second thought was about the word “pleased”.  I think it’s easy to forget why God is pleased with us.  It’s not because we are so amazing.  We’re not.  We’re sinners who rebelled against him like the prodigal son.  Instead, the Father is pleased with his one and only son.

“And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son (Jesus), whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”-Matt 3:17

God is pleased with his son and because of the work of Jesus on the cross and the Holy Spirit in us, he is now pleased with us too.  When we come home, like the prodigal son, he is waiting with open arms.
Lastly, it’s true that he is always with us.  As Jesus told us,

“I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”-Matthew 28:20

Ch: You’re a good, good Father,
It’s who You are,
it’s who You are,
It’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am,
it’s who I am…It’s who I am

But wait, how do we know God is our “father” in the first place?  We know he’s our Father because Jesus told us.  As we read in “The Lord’s Prayer”, Jesus told us to call God, “Our Father, who art in heaven…”.  When Jesus says that, he is also also pointing to the concept of the Trinity which is reflected in the first line of the Apostle’s Creed.  “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.  I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord…”

The second half of the chorus points us to the biblical concept of “adoption”.  God is our Father because he adopted us as his sons and daughters.  We are defined as children of God because of the Father’s love.

“…the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” -Romans 8:15

Vs2: Oh and I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching for answers only You provide
Because You know just what we need before we say a word
God gives us everything that we need.  Jesus points that out when it comes to our basic need of food and drink!  “…do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it…your Father knows that you need them.  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” -Luke 12:29b-31
And then my favorite part of the song…
Br: You are perfect
In all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us
At this climax of the song, we sing about God’s attribute of perfection.  As 2 Samuel tells us, “As for God, his way is perfect:  The Lord’s word is flawless…”(22:31)  We experience God’s perfect plan in our own lives, but we tend to think of it in terms of blessing and not struggle or love and not perfection.  However, as professor Simon Chan reminds us, “such juxtapositions…(of perfection and love)…reveal the mystery of God as powerful yet loving, holy yet intimate.  It is not that God is sometimes one and sometimes the other, but that he is both at once.”*
Vs3: Oh Love so undeniable I,
I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable I,
I can hardly think
As You call me, deeper still
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still into love, love, love
 This is another part of the song that we can easily misunderstand.  So let’s break it down…First, why is God’s love undeniable?  It’s because of the cross.  “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:8  That is undeniable…and what can we say to fully express our thanks?
Secondly, are we at peace when our lives our easy and comfortable?  No.  There are plenty of people whose lives are easy and comfortable and yet they’re miserable!  We are at peace because Jesus made a way for us to be right with God.  As Acts tells us, “You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.” -Acts 10:36
And lastly, what is the deeper love that God is calling us into?  Is it just a warm, fuzzy feeling?  No!  It’s to love God with all that we are and because of that to love others.  This “deeper love” is a call to action.  As Jesus said,

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” -Luke 10:27

  * Content and quote from Simon Chan, “Why We Call God ‘Father'”, Christianity Today, Posted August 13, 2013, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/july-august/why-we-call-god-father.html?start=3
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