Speak O Lord
w/m Keith Getty, Stuart Townend
Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory
Teach us, Lord, full obedience
Holy reverence, true humility
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority
Words of pow’r that can never fail
Let their truth prevail over unbelief
Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory
The songwriting team of Keith Getty and Stuart Townend have given us some of the best modern worship hymns in the recent decades and this is one of my favorites for one main reason…it’s one of the rare songs that emphasizes the sufficiency of scripture. There is a flood of teaching today, even among many “evangelical” leaders, that we should seek out and listen for new revelation from God by meditation, listening for a “still small voice”, getting a mystical feeling, etc., but all of these are foreign to the way the church is taught to hear from God. God HAS spoken, and His revelation not only is sufficient for us today, but sufficient for every member of the church through the entire church age. That revelation is the inspired, inerrant, completed scripture. THAT’S how God speaks, and it is all we need to live a life pleasing to God. If we claim new revelation from God, we are saying first, that God’s Word is not enough. Second, we are saying every member of the body of Christ up to this point didn’t have the full revelation of God. Finally, we are saying that what we “feel” is on par with scripture that has been confirmed with signs and wonders. It’s a dangerous practice that can, and has led to some horrendous false teachings just because “God told me”.
Getty and Townend understand that God does speak and that it is through the Word where He speaks. Speak, O Lord, as we come to You To receive the food of Your Holy Word. We know the Word is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword and is what the Holy Spirit uses to save us, then to mold and conform us to the image of Christ… Take Your truth, plant it deep in us, shape and fashion us in Your likeness. This is not mystical, but it is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in bearing fruit in our lives.
That the light of Christ might be seen today, in our acts of love and our deeds of faith. Philippians 2 tells us to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”. God has worked it in us, through the hearing of the Word, now it is our job to work that salvation in us, out. That is why we are lights in this dark world, and by the acts of love and deeds of faith, others can see the change in us and be drawn to Christ through our lives. Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us all Your purposes for Your glory. Everything God does is for the good of His children and for the glory of His name. God’s will and plan is going to be done, and here the writers call us to confirm that truth.
Teach us, Lord. One of the purposes of the Holy Scriptures is to instruct us (2 Tim 3:16-17). The reason we study the scriptures is so God can teach us all His holy will. Through that instruction, we will be able to not only know what God’s will is for our lives, but live in obedience to that will. Full obedience…the more we read God’s Word, the more we learn more about who God is, His nature, His holiness, His power,. Holy reverence, true humility…It should not only increase our awe and reverence of God the more we study, but the more we see God for who He is, the more we see ourselves for who we are, and that should increase our humility exponentially. One of the big problems in the body today is that we often have too low a view of God and too high a view of man. Test our thoughts and our attitudes in the radiance of Your purity. This verse echoes Hebrews 4:12 in showing how God’s Word can show us our failures and guide us back onto the right path.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see Your majestic love and authority. Words of pow’r that can never fail, Let their truth prevail over unbelief. Again, we see these “Words of power that can never fail” are the inerrant scriptures. (Isaiah 40:8). It increases our faith, lets us see God as He is, not how we imagine Him to be, and is the very tool the Holy Spirit uses to triumph over our unbelief and eternally save us (Romans 10:17).
Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds. This line speaks of Romans 12:1-2. Note that in that verse that we renew our minds in view of the mercies of God in the scriptures. Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us. Yes, it is true that God has a plan for all of us. He is sovereign and nothing is left to chance. As His children, God has a wonderful plan for us, not without suffering or tribulation, but it is all for our good. We can see God’s whole plan laid out in the Word, maybe not every detail, but we know enough to serve Him faithfully and desire to do so. These plans do not change because God’s Word does not change. Even though we have several thousand manuscripts and various translations, the truths in the Word are uniform throughout every one. Truths unchanged from the dawn of time that will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises, and by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us. These two lines show beautifully how sanctification is synergistic. We both stand on a daily basis because of God’s grace, and also because we obey through walking by faith. Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built and the earth is filled with Your glory. While some falsely believe there is still new revelation, and will be until Christ comes, we know that we have all we need in God’s Word, and even though the cannon if inspired revelation is closed, God still speaks today in the same way He has since the church began…through the infallible Word!
Bill Itzel has been a worship leader and singer/songwriter for almost 30 years and is based in Westminster, MD. His family tours and leads worship, not only in their home church (Mt. Airy Bible Church), but around the country. This is a blog about congregational worship and the latest news in the The Itzel's ministry.