BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#698 - "Great Is Our God" by Plumb
Plumb tells the story of how this worship song intersected with her own redemption story at a crucial moment.
 



Plumb's seventh full release, Exhale, follows the success of her previous album Need You Now, an intense collection that coincided with the artist's personal struggle in her marriage that led to her family's restoration. This story ultimately lead to Tiffany Lee writing her memoir, "Need You Now: A Story of Hope." Exhale is a collection of songs born from these soul-shaping events, filled with worship and thanksgiving, coupled with Plumb's distinctive sound.

The concept of Exhale was born from a Sunday sermon at Tiffany's home church in Nashville. Much of her message in her memoir was focused on hope, with her firsthand testimony being, "Hope is oxygen, and we all need to breathe." In that particular sermon, her pastor, Pete Wilson of Crosspoint Church, reinforced the concept that Christians do not exist for themselves but rather to come into church to breathe in grace, hope and truth so that they can then go out and exhale into their surrounding community.

Plumb's genuine heart of worshipful gratitude has combined with this notion of "exhaling" on the new album, revealing the most overt and honest Plumb album to date. The album cover features a handwritten note by Plumb herself outlining the theme and outlook of the album. Having previously discussed "Exhale" and "Lord, I'm Ready Now," I had the chance to speak with Plumb's Tiffany Lee about "Great is Our God."

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

My husband Jeremy and I had separated, and eighteen months later we reconciled and remarried. My manager also manages Young Oceans, who is a guy named Eric Marshall, and we've become friends. We have written a song together on this album, "Smoke," which is my personal favorite. 

In the process of having the same manager and our friendship, I heard his song "Great is Our God" from his Young Oceans album playing in my car with my husband Jeremy. It was the first time I could remember that we were both simultaneously connecting to, enjoying and singing along with a worship song together. Although my husband and I were both very broken when we separated, he had walked away from his faith and everything he believed, including his marriage. For him, it was kind of all or nothing. For me, it was all fragmented. 

When he came back to not only his faith, but also his marriage, and more importantly to Jesus, the thought of him listening to a worship song and liking it and worshipping alongside me seemed impossible. Now that we are reconciled, this moment was a really powerful and nostalgic moment for me. I couldn't have imagined it a few years ago, and when we look at each other, the words "Great is our God" can't even fully capture the magnitude of how great God is, but all we have is our words, and that's the best we can do sometimes. I think God recognizes that, and "great" seems so small compared to how big He is, but great is who we truly believe He is. God is exceedingly, abundantly more than we could think or imagine, and He is greatly to be praised.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Genesis 2:7 (VOICE): "One day the Eternal God scooped dirt out of the ground, sculpted it into the shape we call human, breathed the breath that gives life into the nostrils of the human, and the human became a living soul."

Psalm 150:6 (NKJV): "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!"

Psalm 145:1-3 (VOICE): I will lift my praise above everything to You, my God and King! I will continually bless Your name forever and always. My praise will never cease--I will praise You every day; I will lift up Your name forever. The Eternal is great and deserves endless praise; His greatness knows no limit, recognizes no boundary. No one can measure or comprehend His magnificence.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (VOICE): "How enduring is God's loyal love; the Eternal has inexhaustible compassion. Here they are, every morning, new! Your faithfulness, God, is as broad as the day."

Ephesians 3:19-21 (NKJV): "to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (VOICE): "All of Scripture is God-breathed; in its inspired voice, we hear useful teaching, rebuke, correction, instruction, and training for a life that is right so that God's people may be up to the task ahead and have all they need to accomplish every good work."

What is the takeaway message?

We've been made whole, restored and redeemed, and I want to breathe that out, to exhale that. That's the premise of this whole album. I realized that the direction for this album is to exhale what God did in my life and trust Him. I don't want to get caught up in the numbers or image or marketing, but to just breathe out what God has done in my life. I open the song "Exhale" with "it's okay to not be okay," which goes back to that black day in January when my husband had left me, and "this is a safe place, don't be ashamed, don't be afraid, there's still hope here" is my story.

No matter what you've done or who you are, you are welcome in His arms. God did exceedingly, abundantly above all that I could ask or think. This song captures that, along with "Lord, I'm Ready Now," as my anthems of praise that there's no limit of second chances that we get from God. His mercies are new every morning. This song is a reminder that God is so great, and He will do more than we can ask or imagine. "Great" is the strongest term in my English language that I can find, but God is so great, and greatly to be praised. When you don't know the words to pray, you can pray along with the words of this song. 

Don't try to figure out God's grace. You'll never understand it, and it will never make complete sense why God would die for you, forgive you over and over, and promise you the hope of Heaven. Just surrender to it. As you're breathing in God's grace, let it break your heart in the best possible way. God's grace restores you. Breathe it out and exhale. 

I wanted the album to be one big exhale. I want people to be free from bondage, and when they aren't sure what the right thing is to do, if you choose kindness and love, it will always be the right thing to do. Rather than putting so much weight on yourself about your decisions, know that you exist to breathe in forgiveness and share it with the world in the most loving, servant-hearted, gracious way that you can. We exist for Him.

Lyrics:
Come let us praise Him
Let us kneel at the throne of our God
Through His son our salvation was bought
With mercy and grace
Come let us bow down
In His hands are the depths of the earth
With one voice we proclaim His great worth
Lord our God

And we will seek Him
Our rock of salvation
Morning by morning
With thanksgiving we come
And we will bow down
With creation we cry out
In daylight and darkness
We sing to the Lord

Great is our God
Great is our God
Great is our God

Lord of all nations
We will stand at the end of our days
In Your courts and declare Your great ways
In spirit and truth
We long for Your kingdom
Bring Your thunder and gather the earth
 
All who tremble will tell of Your worth
Lord our God

And we will seek Him
Our rock of salvation
Morning by morning
With thanksgiving we come
And we will bow down
With creation we cry out
In daylight and darkness
We sing to the Lord

Great is our God
Great is our God
Great is our God
Great is our God
Great is our God
Great is our God
Great is our God

Come let us praise Him
Let us kneel at the throne of our God
Through His son our salvation was bought
With mercy and grace


Plumb's return with Exhale was been highly anticipated for me as Need You Now was my 2013 Album of the Year. The first time I heard Plumb's song "God-Shaped Hole," released at the end of the 90s, I immediately connected to the catchy melody and poignant lyrics. Throughout her career, she has continued to entertain and challenge listeners in that way, looking to point us to the One who can fill that "God-shaped hole in all of us." God wants us to know that He's faithful to complete what's He's started in all of us who have put our hope and trust in Jesus.

In listening to Plumb's journey over the past few albums, you can hear how her life and faith is reflected in her art, and never more so than in Exhale. You can hear Tiffany's vertical expressions of relying completely on God for His breath and Holy Spirit to sustain her. I absolutely love Tiffany's intentionality and complete focus on God's provision in her life. Continuing the discussion about how she's suffered from panic attacks, shortness of breath and praying "God please help me" from her song "Need You Now," these songs on Exhale celebrate God's breath, His Holy Spirit, being breathed into her life and her marriage.

This worship album really engages me from start to finish in my own time of worship and reflection about the attributes of God. We are all in need of our great God to fix our messes and turn them into messages in some way, and the beauty of grace is that it is not something we deserve or can earn, but it is a free gift from our great God. So many people can relate to the message of this great song, and the song convicts me to know in my heart the biblical truth from Jeremiah in Lamentations 3:22-23. God's mercy is new each day, and it is not based on our performance, or what we can do for God. He pours out His mercy despite what we've done; there's nothing we can do except trust in His Son Jesus. Tiffany writes and sings her breath, given to her by God, into anointed new songs for the church. You'll be blessed by this powerful song, which is a stand-out anthem with a convicting declaration: "All who tremble will tell of Your worth, Lord our God. Great is our God!" Amen to that!

Watch the lyric video below.
 

 

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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