Doxology

The Meaning

     Dox-ol-o-gy can be a daunting word. At first glance, it may appear archaic or foreign. But it is simple. Many times complicated words represent simple ideas, or simple words represent complicated ideas. In this case, we have a complicated word that represents a complex, yet simple, idea: worship.

     If you have ever read the bible, you have probably stumbled over doxologies without even knowing it. Sometimes, you will find them in italics or quotations (not to be confused with referenced scripture). Other times, they will be right in the middle of a letter. Paul is really good at this:

Rom. 8:38-39 - For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Rom. 11:33, 36 - Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.’

Eph. 3:20-21 - Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

1 Tim. 1:17 - To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Even John gives us a snapshot of the heavenly hosts singing a doxology to God:

26. Rev. 5:12, 13 - Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing! …To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!

     Worship cannot be summed up in one word or phrase, hence its complexity. You can see by the short list above that as creatures of God, we have numerous ways of expressing adoration to God. We do our best to identify what we are feeling inside with words, but even those fail us at times. Doxology is just another attempt at that: another attempt at expressing God’s character and how he has completely altered our lives.

The Inspiration

     The idea of Doxology came about at a youth ministry Staff Retreat. Every year, our staff would take a four-day trip to New Braunfels to eat good food, float the freezing river, stay up all hours of the night chatting, play Catch Phrase, and do really dangerous things off of rope swings. In addition to these activities, our goal was to move beyond our circumstances and really commune with God. In order to accomplish this, we would have sessions every morning and evening (sometimes during lunch), worship and pray for hours, find a solitary spot by the river to journal, exhort one another, and anything else you can think of to bring you closer to Jesus. I think we even burned all of our secular music by the campfire once…

Just kidding.

     During one of the night sessions, my husband led us to a book called “You Can Change” by Tim Chester. He had been reading it over the course of the summer, and he wanted to share what God had been showing him with our staff. In pairing it with scripture, he lined out four main characteristics of God, which Tim Chester really dissected in his book: God is good. God is gracious. God is great. God is glorious.

     In light of these characteristics, we can be confident in God that he will change and sanctify us. Chester outlines this idea very simply.

God is good- so we do not have to look elsewhere (Psalm 94)

God is gracious- so we do not have to prove ourselves (Psalm 103)

God is great- so we do not have to be in control (Psalm 27)

God is glorious- so we do not have to hear others (Psalm 31)

     In his exhortation, my husband continued to remind us of these truths. He encouraged us to think of it as a doxology, as worship to God, reminding us that without Jesus, we had no ability to change.

     For those of you who have a church background, Doxology may not be a foreign term. However, your mind probably immediately went to these lyrics:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow

Praise Him all creatures here below

Praise Him above ye heavenly host

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost


     This is the original doxology written by Thomas Ken in 1647. These lines are the last stanza of a longer hymn entitled “Awake and with the Morning Sun.” Ken wrote this hymn at a time in church history when believers felt that songs should only be comprised of scripture with a heavy emphasis on Psalms. Many considered it blasphemy for Ken to write something from his heart, as a personal doxology that could be embraced corporately. Obviously, God did not feel the same way. The last stanza of Ken’s hymn is still sung around the world today in many churches.

     As I read Ken’s words, my heart began to make a connection between his doxology and my own. God is good, and therefore all good blessings flow from him. God is great, so as creatures we ought to worship and praise him. God’s grace through his Son is unique to mankind (2 Peter 2:4), so the angels (heavenly host) worship as they watch him work among us. God’s glory never shines more powerfully than through the grand mystery of his triune nature of perfection; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

     This idea was a spark in my mind, which eventually turned in to a full-fledged fire. Before I even knew what was really happening, I just began writing. Before the retreat was over, I had written about half of the song.

     Months later, I had discovered the melody line on the piano and almost completely written the song. With the help of my husband (he’s pretty brilliant) and some other worship team members, I added the last few lines. The rest is history.

     I do not write this to give myself or anyone else glory. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Jesus gave me the words and the melody line. He was gracious enough to use me to present it to our fellow saints. Every line, every word, was inspired by him. And because of this, we worship even more fully.

     Providence- let us be a worshipping people. Let us lift our doxology to the Living God. Let us strive to grasp the simple, yet entirely complex idea that he is good, gracious, great and glorious. I now know, this is not only my doxology; this is our doxology.

Sing it out. Let all the saints agree.

Doxology

You God are good

Nothing else can satisfy

Since I tasted of your love divine

You call me yours

And you are mine

My fears have all been cast aside

What a great exchange

That was made for me

Your righteousness

For my iniquity

You God are gracious

Died for your enemies

Creatures rebellious

We traded you for thieves

What a great exchange

That was made for me

Your righteousness

For my iniquity

This is our doxology

Sing it out, let all the saints agree

God is good; he is good

And his grace will last forever

God is great; he is great

And his glory will never fade

You God are great

Our makeshift Gods won’t do

To your thirsty sword

They will subdue

You spoke into darkness

Creator of the light

You took this sinner’s heart

And gave it sight

What a great exchange

That was made for me

Your righteousness

For my iniquity

This is our doxology

Sing it out, let all the saints agree

God is good; he is good

And his grace will last forever

God is great; he is great

And his glory will never fade

You God are glorious

Your fame will never cease

We lay our meager crowns

Before your feet

To purchase "Doxology"  on iTunes, click the following link

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/doxology-single/id912002778