“Hallelujah, Holy Holy, God Almighty, Great I Am.”
This Wednesday I’m going to discuss my favorite worship song as of right now: Great I Am by New Life Worship. Go listen to it if you haven’t, or if you have, listen to it again, it’s an awesome song.
Let’s start with some songs we WON’T be talking about today. There are many many worship songs about God being awesome, or God being great. Key word is great, because there are quite a few songs with that word in the title. Great Reward, Great And Mighty King, How Great Is Our God, Your Great Name, Great Are You Lord, Love So Great, etc. But in the song Great I Am I always feel so moved and pumped. Even though it’s a relatively quiet, slower song, I feel so excited when singing it, especially near the bridge when the song picks up. One thing I think I’ve brushed aside is the very word great. I don’t think I realized until recently that great is a PERFECT word for God. The definition is: of an extent, amount, or intensity considerably above the normal or average. Or, of ability, quality, or eminence considerably above the normal or average. The thing that holds true for both is that being great means being above normal levels. In the song we sing: “Who is worthy, none beside thee.” God is the only one worthy of being called GREAT! He is above our level, he is higher than us, and no one and no thing is worthy of the title GREAT I AM than God himself.
That’s just one reason why this song is so great (Pun intended)! The second one is the bridge. Honestly, worship lately has had a lot of amazing bridges that really get you hyped up to sing the chorus again, or a bridge has such a powerful message, you just get so moved singing it. Great I Am is both. The bridge sort of provides the reason for WHY we sing the chorus. We sing in the chorus: “Hallelujah, holy holy, God almighty, great I Am, who is worthy, none beside thee, God almighty, great I Am.” Which is good! It’s us praising God, singing Hallelujah! But previously in the song, we sung it sort of quiet. The instruments aren’t playing their full potential, we sing quietly. But after the bridge, it shifts, and the chorus suddenly becomes this booming resolve to the song! It’s loud, and we sing proudly Hallelujah! So what changes in the song, that we sing louder during the last chorus but not the first two?
Well, what my knowledge of music tells me, is that it’s simply how songs are built. The final chorus of a song, specifically a worship song, is usually the climax, and the big finale. But when I view this song from a worship standpoint, and think about the song and lyrics as a whole, it becomes more than just a typical song cliché. Here’s the bridge: “The mountains shake before him, the demons run and flee, at the mention of the name, King of Majesty. There is no power in hell, or anyone who can stand, before the power and the presence of the great I Am.” Now if you listened to the song, you’ll notice this is where the song meets it’s maximum potential and volume. And then when we get to the chorus, it continues being a loud and proud song to sing. And I think why it works for this song to be so loud after the bridge, is because the bridge provides depth and meaning to the chorus afterwards. Mountains SHAKE! Demons RUN AND FLEE! At just the MENTION of the name: King of Majesty! God’s name alone causes mountains, which are depicted as unmoving, and unchanging, to SHAKE! Just his name! God doesn’t have to show up with a rod or start beating demons with sticks to scare them off, his name alone causes demons to retreat and fear! That’s why after the bridge I love singing/performing the chorus one last time really strong. We can now use what we sang in the bridge to drive home the point that GOD IS GREAT! Hallelujah to the one who shakes the mountains and frightens demons.
Gosh I love that song! Such a great message, and I also just love the chords/key the song is played with. Very powerful! See you next time,