Make a Joyful Noise

Photo by Brett Sayles on

My favorite hymn is “How Great Thou Art” written by Carl Boberg and Stuart K Hine. The lyrics tell the story of God’s majesty, his dominion over all the earth, and his unequaled love for us. It is interesting that the first version of the song was written as a Swedish poem and melody by Carl Boberg in 1885. It was later translated to German, then to Russian. From the Russian, Stuart K Hines, an English missionary in Russia, translated it to English and added two more verses of his own. Although I don’t know which two. You’ll find the complete lyrics at the end of today’s blog.

Every time there is a thunderstorm, I am reminded of the lyrics of this hymn, and one night last week was no exception. The thunder was indeed rolling and rolling and rolling. Listening to the incredible sound of the thunder, looking up at the stars at night, looking down from lofty mountains how could anyone say they don’t believe there is a God? Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Seems obvious to me.

Perhaps people don’t see the beauty around them because they are always in such a hurry. They have no time for the niceties of life, they are just trying to make it through the day. Based on the speed of the cars that go up down the street in front of where I live, not only are they trying to make it through the day, they are trying to do it at record speeds. Zoom, zoom, zoom.

Now suddenly, we are not so busy, not in such a hurry. We (at least those of us who are not essential personnel) have been forced to stop. We have an ideal opportunity to see what we had no time to see before. I think its still okay to take a walk, so get outdoors and walk. Look at the blue sky, the green grass, and the joyful colors of the flowers planted all around. You can’t help but find God in his magnificent creation. He didn’t just speak all of this into creation and then turn his back and walk away. He is here, with us, every single minute of every single day.

I hope, during your walk, you will reach out to God and talk to him. Don’t know what to say? You can what I do, and sing to God. I walk around singing all the hymns I can remember. They are such a beautiful expression of my love and appreciation of our mighty God. Or I put on my earbuds and crank up my playlist of Christian music and sing along. Do I get some funny looks? Yep, sometimes, but I just smile at them. After all, we are told specifically in Psalm 98:4 to “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!” There are lots more Psalms that use those exact words, ‘make a joyful noise” (depending on your translation). Just a few if you want to look them up: Psalm 100:1, Psalm 95:1, Psalm 98:6 and dozens more examples in the Bible where we are told to sing and praise God.

Here are the complete lyrics to “How Great Thou Art”. I’m singing as I’m typing them, so feel free to join in and sing with me.

[Verse 1]
O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

[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 lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze

[Repeat Refrain]

[Verse 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

[Repeat Refrain]

[Verse 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 then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”

[Repeat Refrain]


One thought on “Make a Joyful Noise

  1. That was my father’s favorite hymn as well. Not until I sang it at his funeral did I become aware of it and the power of the message.


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