I Stand Before Almighty God Alone
There have been many interesting conversations about this anthem among those of us who went to the Bonner Conference. For some, it was their favorite song. Others took issue with Dr. Bonner’s interpretation of the meaning, while others were just confused about the connotation, and how they would relate to it.
When discussing it with Pastor Doug, I said that I felt the song was so rich I could write a series of articles on it. It is this very complexity that leads to so many differing opinions on the implications of the lyrics. Everyone has their own thoughts about what it means to be before Almighty God, alone.
As we look at the lyrics, we see that the anthem is intensely personal and intimate. It begins by addressing God, “You have always called my name. You have waited patiently. It’s Your love that never changed. You know me. You know me.” This is the expression of someone with a deep, personal relationship with God. This is someone who would be quite at home alone in the presence of Almighty God. The sovereign Creator is their Abba Father.
But the chorus goes on to say that as this person stands alone before God they, “yield [their] need to cast the blame or stone.” This reference reminds us of some of our previous discussions about how the fear of God and the love of God go quite comfortably hand in hand. For when the most righteous of men come into the presence of God it is not the sin of anyone else they see, but their own moral imperfections. Remember, the man who prayed, “Have mercy on me, as a sinner” was justified, while the one who pointed fingers at others was not.
Henry Blackaby has said, “In God’s presence all sin is exposed. Could I dare say to you that wherever else you are, you are not in the presence of God if sin is not being exposed.” This is why we cannot blame anyone else, we cannot cast stones at anyone else, because in His presence we do business between the Lord and us, alone. God does not intend this to terrorize or to drive us away, but to draw us closer. Sin in our lives gets between us and God, who cannot abide with sin.
The closer we draw to His holy presence, the hotter the cleansing fire. Our consciences develop more tenderness, and the desire to put away anything that keeps us back from Him becomes more fervent. Conviction becomes a gift to us; we learn to welcome it, to be grateful for it. For those who have been saved there is the assurance of God’s love, forgiveness, and the power of the Spirit at work in us to enable us to put to death anything that stands in our way of drawing near.
One person said to me that they did not feel alone in the presence of Almighty God because they sensed Jesus with them. Indeed, Elyse Fitzpatrick says, “We are encouraged to draw near to him, ‘with full assurance of faith’ (Heb. 10:22) for the simple reason that we do not approach God’s throne alone but in the One who is already there, representing us.” We see this picture in Zechariah 3, and in the verses that talk about Christ as our Intercessor and Advocate. When Isaiah asks, “Who of us can dwell with the Consuming Fire?” the only answer is those who are found in Christ can have that confidence to stand by faith before Almighty God.
That said it is important to remember that Christ is Almighty God. It is not “nice Jesus” standing between us and “mean God.” The Godhead, one-God-three-persons, loves us and made a way for us to draw near. The Godhead is holy. The Godhead is merciful. The Godhead longs for us to draw near and avail ourselves of what cost the Lord so much for us to possess—the precious presence of God.
The lyrics go on to say that in this presence is found all rights, all faith, all future and hope. It is when we draw near to Him that we gain His perspective on everything in our lives. We learn to will His will, to see Him as sovereign, having it all under His loving control. When we understand this we want nothing more than to throw our whole being into Him.
It is in the bridge section that we see where Dr. Bonner got his take on the song, “There’s mourning breaking on the hill.” To someone who only hears the song, they might think it is morning, but the writer plays on these words. In that day when those who love us will mourn our passing, those of us who have enjoyed our time alone with God while on earth will find its final consummation, bliss and peace face to face with God alone. There He will wipe away every tear. There, in His presence, will be fullness of joy—forever and ever!
But now, even now, we can come before Almighty God alone—Day after day. It is our duty as His subject. It is our necessity as a frail human in the midst of daily spiritual battles. It is our delight as His child and His bride.
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries,