Hymns & Songs


Dec 2010    

We Speak to Nations

Hear the sound
The sound of the nations calling
Hear the sound
The sound of the fathers crying
Who will go for us
Who will shout to the corners
Of the earth
That Christ is King

We speak to nations
Be open
We speak to nations
Fall on your knees
We speak to nations
The kingdom is coming near to you
Oh we speak to strongholds
Be broken
Power of darkness
You have to flee
We speak to nations
The kingdom is coming near to you
We speak to you
Be free be free

Hear the sound
The sound of the nations worshipping
Hear the sound
Of sons and daughters singing
We will go for you
We will shout to the corners of the earth
That Christ is King

© 2002, Israel Houghton

THREE HOURS from where I am currently teaching in Waco, Texas, is the largest church in the United States. Joel Osteen and his leadership team pastor the Lakewood Church of Houston that has a membership of around 43,000 members.1 Cindy Radcliff, Israel Houghton, Steve Crawford, and Da’dra Crawford Greathouse are the principal leaders for the dynamic music ministry of the church that complements the ministry of Joel Osteen. Together, they have taken the United States by storm and, not surprisingly, even outpacing the 20,000-member Saddleback Church led by Pastor Rick Warren. From this church, this song of victory was released as part of the album with the same title in 2002. Subsequently this song spread throughout the world including to Singapore.

Previously I had shared that what we sing defines us and so if we look closely at this work by Houghton, we will notice the very strong “kingdom” language of the text. More importantly, it calls the Church to exercise its power to “speak to nations,” and “strongholds.” Admittedly, this call sounds really good, even exciting and the music created by Houghton contributes in no uncertain terms to the heart-stirring emotions we feel when singing this song.

As my favourite animation character, Bob the Builder, puts it, “Can we [do] it? Yes we can!” Personally speaking, I am deeply moved by this song…but instead of a positive “yes, I can do it attitude,” I am humbled and moved to repentance, remembering my lack in bringing forth the kingdom of God in my own life. How about you?

If we really speak to nations as the song calls us to, would we be prepared to pay the price of that prophetic ministry? What if the nations do not and refuse to listen, what do we do then? Will strongholds break and darkness flee just because we speak?

This month as we celebrate the birth of Christ, God through the prophets had already foretold the Messiah’s birth. In this instance, did not the prophets speak to the nation of Israel, telling her to “fall on her knees”? Yet when King Herod received word of this message, not only did the strongholds not break, and darkness not flee: the opposite occurred! Countless babies under the age of two in the town of Bethlehem lost their lives even before they had a chance to truly live.

These innocent children were the first casualties of God’s salvation plan for the world. They paid the ultimate price just like Christ would in due time in order that humanity be reconciled to God. Much as we wish all nations would instantly fall on their knees when they hear about Christ, and much as we hope that God will answer our prayers immediately; we need to get back to the basics of our faith, Christianity.

We need to bear in mind that the power that will change nations and break strongholds is neither human strength nor might.

Rather, it is the amazing love of God by the power of the Holy Spirit (Zech 4:6). It is this sacrificial love that constrained Jesus to accept the cross despite his reluctance – as we hear in his prayer at the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26: 39, 42, 44). It is this selfless love that motivated the apostles to proclaim the Good News even if their efforts resulted in their persecution, suffering and death. It is this constant love that reminds us that God is with us even if things around us are falling apart. Finally, it is by this powerful love of God that we draw on to speak to the nations and strongholds and become the channels for God to use.

Yet, we are called not to speak such transformative work from a position of authority, but rather from servitude. We need to always remember that God’s Kingdom operates from a different paradigm.

Indeed, the incarnation of Christ reminds us that if we ever think about bringing the kingdom of God without paying the price of love that serves, we have not really understood the message of the Gospel. Truly we have not experienced the Kingdom of God until we understand and accept the reality of the incarnation in which we are to be like our Lord Jesus Christ.

Are we prepared to do likewise? Are we ready to “speak to nations and strongholds?”

Video Reference: We Speak to Nations. Accessed November2, 2010, http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=ie-UP0N31h8.

1 Lakewood Church of Houston. Accessed November 2, 2010, http://www.lakewood.cc/ pages/home.aspx.


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