574

How Great Is Our God

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

In Deuteronomy 5:23-27 we find Moses instructing Israel in this awe. In Psalm 8, 104:1ff, 145:11-21, and 150:1-2 the Psalmists call us to this grateful response.  In Ephesians 1:18-23 Paul prays for the eyes of all believers to be opened to his great love.

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

What we know as the attributes of God reveal his character and being. For these, he is worthy of praise and adoration. Even before he says or does anything, he is praise-worthy. The opening words of Belgic Confession, Article 1 declare that God is “eternal, incomprehensible, invisible, unchangeable, infinite, almighty; completely wise, just, and good, and the overflowing source of all good.”

 
The Lord’s Prayer ends with a doxology, and Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 52, Question and Answer 128 extrapolates: “Your holy name…should receive all the praise, forever.” After expressing our trust in the total care of God for all things, Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 9, Question and Answer 26 declares, “God is able to do this because he is Almighty God and desires to do this because he is a faithful Father.” And so we express our praise and adoration to God for who he is.

574

How Great Is Our God

Words of Praise

Blessed are you, Lord our God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Your glory is beyond our comprehension.
Your mercy is greater than our sinfulness.
Your love is more than we can measure.
Your wisdom is more than we can fathom.
To you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
be all glory, honor, and praise
now and forevermore. Amen.
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Almighty God, before you angels sang for joy
when you created with your voice the heavens and the earth.
Hear our voice this day and accept our praise
and thanksgiving for the gifts of speech and song,
which we on earth share with the heavenly host.
O Jesus Christ, you are the Word made flesh,
the firstborn of many children in the family of God
who have heard your music in their hearts.
Open the ears of our hearts this day, that all we say
and all we sing may reveal you in us and us in you,
whose body and voice we are in this world.
O Holy Spirit, with tongues as of fire you have inspired
the speech and song of evangelists, preachers, poets, and musicians.
Visit us this day to kindle anew the fire of love
and the light of understanding, that your church
may live in the counterpoint of community.
O Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, you are three persons
in one God living in harmony.
As your church, our many voices, our many lives
become one chorus to praise your holy name.
Bless our coming together now
so that we, in communion with your saints,
may hear your voice and sing your words
this day and always. Amen.
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two
574

How Great Is Our God

Tune Information

Name
HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD
Key
B♭ Major

Recordings

Musical Suggestion

For Piano Accompaniment Only:
Preparation:
  • Notice the pattern in the bass, especially beginning with the stanzas. Practice the left hand alone several times to get this rhythmic pattern down.
  • Refrain: If you have difficulty keeping the rhythm as printed in the bass when adding the chords in the right hand of the Refrain, practice by playing 4 quarter notes in the left hand for the chorus, using the first note of each measure as note to be repeated. 
— Diane Dykgraaf
574

How Great Is Our God

Hymn Story/Background

Many of the best-known Christian Contemporary songs were written by a team of people, and “How Great is Our God” is no exception. Jesse Reeves, bass player for Chris Tomlin, brought three verses he had written to Tomlin, who then wrote the chorus after dwelling on Psalm 104. Tomlin brought the song to producer Ed Cash, who added a bridge. Pastor Louie Giglio then joined the group and the four of them reworked the verses into declarations of God’s power, might, and majesty. In 2004, the song was released on the album Arriving. In 2007 it reached No. 1 on CCLI’s top 25 worship charts, and has won a total of five Dove Awards, including Song of the Year in 2006 and Worship Song of the Year in both 2006 and 2008. Reeves notes the power behind the song, saying, “…after we have finished singing this song, the crowd continues to sing the chorus. We then find ourselves joining back in with the audience.”
— Laura de Jong

Author and Composer Information

Chris Tomlin (b. 1972) grew up in Grand Saline, Texas. He wrote his first worship song at age fourteen, and has gone on, according to CCLI, to become the most-often sung Christian artist on Sunday mornings. He joined Louie Giglio in leading the Passion Conferences in 1997, and has toured with contemporary artists such as Matt Redman, Delirious?, Steven Curtis Chapman and TobyMac. Tomlin released his first solo album, The Noise We Make, in 2001, and his 2013 album Burning Lights debuted at No. 1 on Billboard 200, the 4th ever Christian album to do so. His more well-known songs include “How Great is Our God,” “Jesus Messiah,” and “Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone).” Tomlin and wife Lauren have one daughter.
 
Jesse Reeves has travelled and recorded as Chris Tomlin’s bass player since 1997. Born in Arlington, Texas, in 1975, he became interested in music at age 15. He has now co-written nearly thirty songs, mostly with Tomlin.
 
Ed Cash (b.  August 6, 1971, in Charlotte, NC) sings a story of turning around. As a producer, singer-songwriter, engineer, and multi-instrumentalist, he worked with a number of artists, only a couple of which were Christian. He said, “I tended to look at worship music as the lower totem pole of creativity. I had an angst in my heart and an edge toward that.” When he heard Tomlin’s “How Great is our God,” he says he hated it at first, believing it to be too simple, everything that was wrong with Christian Contemporary Music. He says the Holy Spirit then convicted him, saying, “How dare you curse what I have kissed?” He began to see that the Spirit could move in simplicity, and he went on to produce seven albums with Tomlin, and countless others with artists such as Steven Curtis Chapman, Amy Grant, and David Crowder Band. He was named Producer of the Year at Gospel Music Awards for four consecutive years (2004-2007) and has won a total of seventeen GMAs in just eight years.
 
— Laura de Jong
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