Behind the Rhymes: Beautiful Eulogy – Instruments of Mercy
Few albums have been as rich artistically and theologically as Beautiful Eulogy’s Instruments of Mercy since it dropped on Oct. 29, 2013.
Both Braille and Odd Thomas penned memorable verses on “Instruments of Mercy”. But for the sake of Internet space, this breakdown will focus primarily on the opening lines of Thomas, who managed to fit five important truths in two bars that encapsulated the concept of the entire album.
The same God who measured the waters in the hollows of his holy hands /
Is the same God that uses broken man to expand His fixed plan
Truth No. 1: God is Big
And big is an understatement. Thomas begins with a reference Isaiah 40:12, which reads as follows.
“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure
and weighed the mountains in scales
and the hills in a balance?”
This is a rhetorical question which makes the point that no one but God has accomplished such a feat. And what a feat it is.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Water Science School, “If all of Earth’s water (oceans, icecaps and glaciers, lakes, rivers, groundwater, and water in the atmosphere) was put into a sphere … the volume of all water would be about 332.5 million cubic miles… A cubic mile of water equals more than 1.1 trillion gallons.”
How much larger and more powerful is God than us? Infinitely. However, the phrase, “measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,” paints a picture that finite humans can actually wrap their minds around; a picture which communicates that God deserves our utmost fear.
Truth No. 2: God is Holy
Thomas intentionally notes that the hands God used to measure the waters are holy. Later in Isaiah 40, the Lord is quoted asking, “To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One.”
God is not only infinitely powerful but also infinitely holy; infinitely perfect. Which makes the truths in Thomas’s next bar mind-blowing.
Truth No. 3: God Uses Us
God uses the inhabitants of the earth, who Isaiah 40:22 says “are like grasshoppers,” as instruments of mercy.
Jesus told his disciples before he ascended to heaven, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
God is all-powerful. He can do whatever he wants and save people however he wants. Yet in his perfect wisdom, which has predestined all things so he receives the most glory, he has chosen to save through those created in his image by the proclamation of his Word.
The Apostle Paul told his mentee Timothy, “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16).
God created the world by his Word, and he will save the world by his Word, and those who are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone get the privilege of being the deliverers of that Word.
Truth No. 4: God Uses Us Despite Our Brokenness
How does it make sense for a holy God to allow broken, sinful man to be used by him, let alone go unpunished? It doesn’t—unless someone else suffers the punishment they deserve.
Someone did. God so loved that world that he sent his only Son, Jesus, who—though he was in the form of the same God who measured the waters in the hollows of his holy hands—did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped. But he emptied himself and bore the sins of his chosen people in his body on the cross to the point of death, so that whoever has faith in his righteousness and resurrection should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16, Philippians 2:5-8, 1 Peter 1:24).
And Christians have received this grace to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of Jesus’s name among all the nations (Romans 1:5).
Truth No. 5: God Has a Fixed Plan
This will likely hurt your brain, but Paul also told Timothy that God saved believers before they existed:
“Share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:8-10).
Several chapters following Isaiah 40, the fact that God has a fixed plan is communicated clearly.
“I am God, and there is none like me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
calling a bird of prey from the east,
the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
I have purposed, and I will do it” (Isaiah 46:9-11).
Amen. The same God who measured the waters in the hollows of his holy hands will surely do it. It’s faith in this God that allows Braille to be confident that his future is secure despite the trials he will endure:
A lifetime of suffering is nothing compared to the glory being prepared /
And we could never find a stairway to heaven or climb up a ladder to get there /
It’s only by the merits of Christ that sinners inherit eternal life /
So I pray we grow in dependency, strip away my self-relying tendencies /
Organize and order my days according to your ordinance /
I’m an instrument in your orchestra Lord, and you are my only audience /
Holding your promises close and watching as your plan unfolds /
All for your glory and praise playing that song that you composed