Matthew. Rena. Emily. Tim. Lyndsay. Kevin. Derrick. Desmond. Ed. Erick. Jack. Dylan. Annie T. Annie P. David. Adam. Ty. Cecil. Peter. Linda. Bill. AJ. Kaylen. Lou. Gabe. And anyone else I forgot. You lead us to worship the living God through singing on Sundays. But really you invite us to sing the songs we sing on Sunday, throughout the week, in our cars, taking a shower, and talking to Echo in the kitchen. On behalf of the rest of our church, thank you for using your gifts to equip us to storm the gates of hellish situations in our lives or to give thanks to God for all He has done by praising Jesus.
A few weeks ago on the way to drop my kids off at school, we were listening to 89.9 Air 1 when the song changed. My kids began to sing along with Cory Asbury as the song opened, “Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me!”
As the song swept over my heart, I was not only emotionally moved but also struck by how theologically saturated this song actually is despite some criticism in some circles by its title labeling God’s love to us as “reckless.” More explanation on that soon.
If you haven’t heard this song yet, take five minutes and listen to it now before you read on. Or maybe you are reading this blog today and need to listen to these words for some reminders about who Jesus is to you and for the world today.
Let’s take a look together to see where these lyrics flow from in the Word of God. May these lyrics and verses be a blessing to you today no matter where you are at, what you are doing, and what you are feeling. God loves you so much!
“Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me! You have been so, so good to me. Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me. You have been so, so kind to me.”
Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)
The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior Who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.
Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
Romans 8:28 (NIV)
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in His kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.
“Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God”
1 John 4:8(NIV)
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Cory Asbury speaks online about why he coined this phrase: “When I use the phrase the reckless love of God. We are not saying that God Himself is reckless. God is not crazy. We are however saying that the way He loves is in many regards quite so. He’s utterly unconcerned with the consequences of His actions in regards to His own safety, comfort and well being. His love is not crafty or slick, not cunning or shrewd, in fact all things considered, it's quite childlike. His love bankrupted heaven for you. His love does not consider Himself first, it isn’t selfish or self serving. He puts Himself out there. His love isn’t cautious. His love sent Jesus to the cross. There is no plan B with the love of God.”
I think the term “reckless” can lead people to believe God is haphazard or crazy but that is definitely not Cory’s purpose behind the term. A better description might be “relentless” but it wouldn’t have sounded as good as singing “reckless.” The bottom line is that God fervently loves us no matter what we do to disown, despise and delete Him from our lives. The next line really helps define the way Cory is using the term, “reckless.”
“Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine”
Luke 15:3-7 (NIV)
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
“I couldn't earn it, and I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself away”
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
“When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me”
Romans 5:8 (Berean Study Bible)
But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
“When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me”
1 Peter 3:18(ESV)
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.
“There's no shadow You won't light up, mountain You won't climb up, coming after me”
Psalm 31:2-4 (ESV)
Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! For You are my rock and my fortress; and for Your name's sake You lead me and guide me; You take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for You are my refuge.
“There's no wall You won't kick down”
No verse here. Just a picture. When I sing this line, this is the type of force, bravery, and power I am thinking about.
“Lie You won't tear down, coming after me”
John 18:37 (NIV)
"You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me."
God’s love can be described in many ways...undeserving, unconditional, relentless and now reckless. And now you know a little better what Cory Asbury means by that. Enjoy the song. Sing loud. Sing proudly. Sing to the glory of God. Not only in your car or shower but this Sunday in church too. See you then!