Posted by: rcottrill | September 12, 2018

When God Speaks

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Words: Carlton C. Buck (b. Aug. 31, 1907; d. Feb. 13, 1999)
Music: Frank Addison Simpkins (b. June 8, 1870; d. Mar. 4, 1939)

Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (Carlton Buck)

Note: In 1936, Carlton Buck published the hymn called When God Speaks. Born in Kansas, Buck was an American pastor, musician and author, with several books and a number of sacred songs to his credit. In this song–used more as a solo number than with congregations–the author celebrates the power of the voice of God.

Operatic tenor Enrico Caruso died nearly a century ago. Yet he is still considered the supreme tenor of them all, and one of the greatest singers of all time. Caruso had the first million-seller recording in 1902. His technique was masterful, his voice was powerful, but full and rich as well. He sang with an emotional warmth that even shines through the scratchy low-fidelity recordings of the early twentieth century.

There are other voices in music whose power perhaps has to do more with what they sang, and when, than with the technical mastery they showed. Bob Dylan’s songs were a significant commentary on the anti-war ‘60’s, while Billie Holiday’s recording of Strange Fruit (about lynching) raised awareness in the civil rights movement. Beyond the realm of music, Winston Churchill’s was another voice with great power. His thrilling oratory helped to steel the British people in 1940, when Nazi bombs fell on London.

In the Bible, the sovereign strength of the voice of God is mentioned many times. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty” (Ps. 29:4). It was a voice heard in Eden, after our first parents sinned. “Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid’” (Gen. 3:9-10). And the voice of God thundered from Mount Sinai, when He gave the Law of Israel through Moses (Deut. 5:22).

The Lord Jesus took Peter, James and John upon into a mountain and was “transfigured” before them. That is, He gave them a glimpse of His heavenly glory, and “His face shone like the sun” (Matt. 17:1-2). At that time, God the Father spoke from heaven. “Suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!’” (vs. 5). And we hear the Son’s voice in almost the last verse of the Bible, when Christ promises concerning His return, “Surely I am coming quickly” (Rev. 22:20).

“The Lord will cause His glorious voice to be heard” (Isa. 30:30). And when the Lord speaks, things happen. In the opening chapter of the Bible, we only get to verse 3 before the Creator speaks. Ten times in the chapter we are told “God said,” and each time the forces and materials of the physical creation were called into being, or directed in some way. That same voice summoned many individuals to a challenging ministry for Him. The servants of God who responded include: Moses (Acts 7:31), Elijah (I Kgs. 19:11-12), Isaiah (Isa. 6:8), Saul (or Paul) (Acts 9:3-6), and John (Rev. 1:10-11).

In Pastor Buck’s song, first, we see the force of God in nature, and His authority over angelic spirits (Heb. 1:14).

1) When God speaks, the high mountains tremble;
When God speaks, the loud billows roll;
When God speaks, my heart falls to list’ning,
And there is response in my soul.

Speak to my heart! Speak now, I pray;
God of salvation, and Lord of creation,
O speak to my heart today!

2) When God speaks, the angels obey Him;
When God speaks, all nature is stirred;
When God speaks, the hard hearts are softened,
For no sweeter voice e’er was heard.

Then Carlton Buck refers to the need for a personal response to the voice of God, as He speaks, in our day, particularly through His Word.

4) When God speaks, ‘tis mine then to answer;
When God speaks, my tempest to still;
When God speaks, ‘tis mine then to follow,
And following Him, do His will.

Speak to my heart! Speak now, I pray;
God of salvation, and Lord of creation,
O speak to my heart today!

1) What did the Lord say to you today, in your daily devotional time?

2) Is there a hymn through which the Lord spoke to you, recently?

Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (Carlton Buck)


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