God Sermon Illustrations

God Sermon Illustrations

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The hymn—'How great Thou art'—was written one summer evening in the year 1886 at a country place called Kroneback, Sweden. The author, Carl Boberg, relates that he had been invited, with other men, to a meeting of women who came together to sew for the benefit of missions. It was a beautiful day. All nature was arrayed in its summer finery. Both young and old enjoyed the hospitality of the home and roaming about the large estate.

Presently a storm cloud was seen above the horizon and before long the sky was overcast, lightning flashed across the dark heaven and a downpour drove the visitors under cover. Soon the rain stopped, however, and on the sky was seen a bow of promise. From a church across the bay, where a funeral was in progress, the bells pealed forth their doleful cadency.

Enraptured with the wonders of it all, Boberg that evening gave expression to his feelings in the writing of the poem O Store Gud! nine stanzas long. It was first published in a couple of periodicals and then apparently forgotten. Several years later the author attended a meeting in the Province of Varm­land and was surprised to hear the con­gregation sing his poem to the tune of an old Swedish melody. In 1890 the song was published by a Chicago publisher.

Carl Boberg was born in 1859 and died in 1940. He studied for the ministry and served a Mission Covenant Church. A number of his songs have a permanent place in Swedish hymnology and at least two have been trans­lated into English.—The Standard


Thrice blest is He to whom is given
The instinct that can tell
That God is on the field when He
Is most invisible.

For right is right, and God is God,
And right the day must win;
To doubt would be disloyalty,
To falter would be sin.—F. W. Faber

(Rom. 8. 28; 11. 33). 


Besides the translation by S. K. Hine from the Russian which is so commonly sung, another by Prof. E. Gustav Johnson directly from the original Swedish appeared as early as 1925. The following is S. K. Hine's translation:

O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hand hath made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy Pow'r throughout the universe displayed:

Chorus

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
And hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die—I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin:

When Christ shall come with shout of acclama­tion
And take me home—what joy shall fill my heart!
Then shall I bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art.

(Ps. 145. 3-5).


Power of God

The day after the great earthquake of San Francisco, a newsboy was showing a dazed man the way through, and, as they walked, the boy philosophized thus: 'It took a long time to put all this stuff up, but God tumbled it over in a minute. Say, Mister, 'Tain't no use for a feller to think he can lick God.'

(Ezek. 21. 26, 27).


They cannot shell His temple
Nor dynamite His throne;
They cannot bomb His city,
Nor rob Him of His own.
They cannot take Him captive,
Nor strike Him dumb or blind,
Nor starve Him to surrender,
Nor make Him change His mind.
They cannot cause Him panic,
Nor cut off His supplies;
They cannot take His kingdom
Nor hurt Him with their lies.

Though all the world be shattered,
His truth remains the same,
His righteous laws still potent,
And Father's still His name.
Though we face war and struggle,
And feel their goad and rod,
We know above confusion
There always will be God.—Dr. Murray

(Isa. 40. 28; 43. 10-12; 45. 21, 22)


Almost thirteen centuries before the birth of Christ the prophet Balaam stood on Pisgah's summit and surveyed the encampment of Israel. Having had his eyes miraculously opened to the grandeur of the destiny of the people of God, he exclaimed, "It shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought!" (Num. 23:23.)

Thirty-one centuries passed. In the chamber of the Supreme Court in the Capitol at Washington, Samuel Morse, an American painter who had turned inventor, tapped out a message on a new device. The message was received and recorded by those who were waiting in a room in Baltimore. The telegraph, which since that time has transmitted so many thousands of messages of joy and sorrow, of birth and death, of war and peace, was an accomplished fact. May 24, 1944, was the hundredth anniversary of the sending of the first message. Again that first message—the exclamation of that eloquent seer on Pisgah's height—was flashed over the wires, sounding this time around the world: "What hath God wrought!"

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