“For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods!” Psalm 97:9
I EXALT THEE!
Every song has a story, even thousands of stories. The obvious story is what’s being said through the lyrics. Then there’s what the writer felt but, perhaps, never verbalized through the words of the song. And then, there’s a story for each and every listener of the song–the pain or joy they equate with it, or where they first heard it, what they were doing, who they were with, etc.
We have a story for “I Exalt Thee” which, as Spurgeon says, ‘shows that the goodness of God has been the same to us as the saints of old.”
Flashback: 1977. Okinawa, Japan. I was pregnant with our first daughter (Joy). In the decades before Amazon.com, UPS, FedEx and other express-mailing days, it was so exciting to get packages overseas. Every month we ordered a record album through an old-school Columbia House membership. When Pete Sanchez’s album arrived, it didn’t take long to realize what a treasure we had received!! All the songs were so worshipful! John loved them so much that he made a cassette copy for us to use at a home Bible Study that we attended. Sitting in the small living room of our friends’ military apartment, our feeble voices joined with Sanchez’s to exalt the Lord above all other gods!
Flash a bit forward: 1989-1994. A time when we were far away from the Lord. During that time, we’d occasionally find ourselves in church with family, or *accidentally* listening to Christian radio, and “I Exalt Thee” would be sung or played. I would weep, realizing how far away we were from that humble worship time in Okinawa–how far our hearts were from exalting our Lord above all gods. How far we had fallen.
Present: The video above—singing” I Exalt Thee” with His church and precious believers in Ottawa. After sixteen long years of God’s wounding and healing, tearing down and building up, rescuing, restoring, and reconciliation, we sang as if we were back in Okinawa. That could only be the Lord’s doing.
And that is our story of “I Exalt Thee.” That God is faithful. He sees beginning to end. In 1977, when we poured our hearts to Him in worship, He knew there’d be days ahead when we would fall away for a time, just as He knew Peter would deny Him three times. And what did Jesus say?
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Jesus didn’t let go. Jesus didn’t quit on us when we quit on Him. That’s our story–His faithfulness!
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6