Music Review: The Attributes of God (Pt. 2)

Here are the rest of my reflections on The Attributes of God by Shai Linne. Click here to check out Part 1.

Track 8 — All Consuming Fire

It’s not often we sing hymns about God’s wrath, but Scripture has much to say about this glorious attribute. We must grasp the Truth of God’s righteous wrath against sin in order to appreciate the mercy and grace He shows toward sinners. Shai Linne teaches this concept so well in this album! This track opens with a clip of John Piper, taken from an excellent sermon delivered on September 2, 2001 (which you can read and/or listen to here) . In it, Piper defines sin as a rejection of each of God’s attributes, listing them in order — one of the best descriptions of sin I’ve ever heard.

I also love what Linne has done here, musically and thematically. The contrast between the previous track (“Lord of Patience”) is striking; this captures the incredibly shocking and seemingly contradictory statement that God makes of himself in Exodus 34:6-7: How can God be “gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love… forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” yet also be the God “who will by no means clear the guilty“? Only in the cross can we make sense of this. This track is the one that gets stuck in my head most easily… especially helpful and sobering given the prophetic nature of the song’s ending, in which Linne repeatedly reminds us: “God’s wrath is coming! God’s wrath is coming! All the wicked will be punished at the final judgment!

Favorite lyric: “No weeping or apologies, no sneakiness or bribery / will keep the Lord from honoring His Law and its demands

Audio preview. Full lyrics here.

Track 9 — Perfect Love (featuring Monielle)

Here Shai Linne inserts a track that helps us reconcile God’s mercy with His wrath by showing more fully how God is love, and contains perfect love within Himself. If we can’t understand how mercy and wrath go together, it’s because we can’t comprehend God in His fullness. The lyrics ask “how could God’s love be extended to men corrupted with sin?“, and then direct us to consider that it is because of God’s love for the world that He restrains His wrath, but it is because of His greater love for Himself that He will not delay judgment forever.

Favorite lyrics: “They say, ‘If God is love, what’s eternal torment for?’ / Well, He loves the world for sure, but He loves His glory more!

Audio preview. Full lyrics here.

Track 10 — Faithful God (featuring Chris Cobbins and Sovereign Grace Kids)

This track expounds on God’s faithfulness, both to save and to judge. Like “Lord of Patience”, it takes the form of a prayer. This is also the clearest proclamation of the gospel on the album… this song will preach! Around the start of the year, I’m going to teach this song to my 4th-6th grade children’s choir, and Lord willing (i.e. – if some of my boys can overcome the Tennessee drawl and get the verses out fast enough!) we’ll perform this for our congregation sometime in the Spring. Should be fun!

Favorite lyrics: “When we believed you were faithful to save us / And that means you’ll be faithful to change us / And the Spirit of Jesus will keep us ’til / You make us holy and blameless”

Audio preview. Full lyrics here.

Track 11 — Judge of All the Earth (featuring Sovereign Grace Kids)

After two clarifying tracks, Linne resumes the conversation of God’s justice. Because God is just, He MUST judge ALL sin. We can trust His judgment; He WILL do right. I absolutely love the lyrics to this one, and hope you’ll follow along with them as you listen to this one, which you can hear on this page.

Favorite lyric: “God is never under obligation to be gracious / See, justice and mercy are two separate categories / And God is the one who chooses which way He’ll have His glory

Track 12 — The Jealous One (featuring J.R.)

Easily the most intense track on the album, “The Jealous One” depicts a husband walking in to discover his wife in the act of adultery. We have so little understanding of how God’s jealousy is a good thing. It protects us by acting against the evil that seduces us; thanks be to God that His ways are not our ways, though! If He was like me, I wouldn’t stand a chance. I’d be struck down for my idolatry and faithlessness, but instead, God “took out His jealous anger on His Son.

Several favorite lines in this one: “The God of the Bible who invites our trust / Must be understood to be nothing like us / Most of the time human jealousy will hurt you / But when it comes to God, His jealousy is a virtue“… “God’s jealousy is frightful, yet it’s delightful and good, too / I couldn’t think of much worse if I tried / than a dude who smirks if you flirt with His bride / So tell me, what kind of God would He be / If He wasn’t bothered to see idolatry?

Awesome song. Audio preview. Full lyrics here.

Track 13 — The Omnis (featuring Andy Mineo, Giano, & Omri)

God ends the description of His character in Exodus 33 & 34 with the declaration that His very name is “Jealous” (El Qanna), and so the previous track was the final one in the sequence taken from that passage. However, no listing of the attributes of God would be complete without the “Omnis” (omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent), so this one got included. Lyrically it’s okay, but it’s my least favorite on the album.

Favorite lyric: “His power cannot be compared / Exhaustive knowledge none can share / At all times everywhere / God is amazing

Audio Preview. Full lyrics here.

Track 14 — Self-Sufficiency (by Timothy Brindle)

Like the track before, this is a stand-alone that highlights another of God’s glorious attributes. This is the only song on the album not written and performed by Shai Linne. Though his style and delivery is different, the heart is the same. I’m glad it was included!

Favorite lyric: “So trade Him your death for His immortality / The death of death in the death of Christ / Now we live with Him in resurrection life / Now we’re righteous because Christ was crushed / The Holy Spirit is Christ’s life in us

Audio preview. Full lyrics here.

Track 15 — Triune Praise (Remix)

“Triune Praise” was my first introduction to Shai Linne about three years ago. It fits in perfectly with the theme of this compilation, so a re-mixed (and even better, in my opinion) version was included here.

Favorite lyric: “You’re risen from the dead, I still can’t get this in my head / How the Judge could leave the bench and go to prison instead

Below is the original version from his album “The Atonement“. Check out an audio preview of the new version.

If you’ve enjoyed these previews, go download the album from Amazon (best price) or iTunes, or purchase the CD directly from Lampmode.

For more Shai Linne, check out his previous albums: Storiez (also available on Bandcamp); The Atonement (and on Bandcamp); The Solus Christus Project (and on Bandcamp)

Music Review: The Attributes of God (Pt. 1)

All week long I’ve been listening to Shai Linne’s newest album, The Attributes of God. I can’t recommend it highly enough! I’ve long been a fan of his “lyrical theology“, and his latest project continues to raise the bar for excellence in that area. Attributes has taken a huge leap forward musically as well. In this recent interview, the artist said he was “looking for an overall sound that was epic and cinematic, like a film score”. He has certainly succeeded in that regard. Each track has a very different feel, providing significant musical contrast and interest, while the album flows seamlessly together as a whole.

The theme of the album is, as the title suggests, the attributes of God. Linne walks us through the list of characteristics which God revealed about himself in Exodus 33:18-34:14. Each song explores one or more of the attributes, arranged in the same order that the LORD gave them to Moses.

Even if hip-hop is not your usual favorite genre, I encourage you to check out this album and others like it. The genre lends itself particularly well to exposition, as it allows for many more words than most song forms. And if you think you don’t like hip-hop, I’m convinced that the more you listen to it, the more it will grow on you! I’m also thankful for Shai Linne’s clarity of articulation: I can understand every word he says… which is not always the case among rappers!

Here are a few observations and reflections about each track. You may preview excerpts of each track on Amazon or iTunes. The entire album is also currently available on YouTube, but since I’m not certain it was uploaded legally, I’ll only share here videos that were posted by Shai Linne’s record label, Lampmode.

Track 1 — The Perfection of Beauty (featuring Blair Linne)

The album opens with a poem by Shai Linne’s wife Blair Linne, an accomplished poet and model in her own right, performing “The Perfection of Beauty”. This is a foretaste of what is to come, reminding us that as we gaze upon the face of God — as Moses did when he asked God to show him His glory — we behold true Beauty. God’s attributes “working harmoniously” form the objective and transcendent standard for what we ought to find appealing… but we exchange this true beauty for the false and empty “beauty” offered by the world.

Favorite lyric: “Your complexion is unappealing to lustful eyes / Besides, apart from new birth in Christ / Sinners beholding Your Holy beauty would die / Therefore, beauty residing in the eye of the beholder is a lie / It is found in the Beautiful One- The Most High

Watch this performance below. Full lyrics here.

Track 2 — The Glory of God (Not to Us)

When Moses said “show me your glory”, God described his character. Here we see that He is nothing like us! God alone is worth of glory, because He is unique in all of His glorious attributes. The chorus echoes Psalm 115:1, the opening line of a hymn written by the psalmist when he also reflected on God’s holy nature.

Favorite lyrics: “Pure perfection, zero flaws / All of His attributes meet at the cross!

Hear this track below. Full lyrics here.

Track 3 — Taste and See

God is good, all the time! We often say this, but how often do we truly reflect on what it means? I know that I am personally tempted to think God is good only when my circumstances are pleasant. But it is at the times when our circumstances try us and our faith is tested when we most need to be reminded that God is good. This is why David pleads with us to “taste and see that the LORD is good” (Psalm 34:8). Once we have had a taste of God’s goodness, we are able to praise Him for his abundant blessings, as well as for sustaining us when we feel our need for Him the most.

Favorite lyrics: “Understand God is good apart from anything He’s done for me / Yet in still His goodness has blessed me abundantly” and “His Spirit enables you to fear Him and praise Him through / the tears, we can say it’s true, He’s near when we’re breaking, too

Audio preview. Full lyrics here.

Track 4 — Our God Is In the Heavens (featuring God’s Servant)

God’s very name exalts His sovereignty over all things. Linne returns to Psalm 115 (verse 3) for another chorus, and sings of God’s transcendence, authority, and power over His creation.

Favorite lyric: “He’s gonna get glory, we’re created to be his instruments / His reign’s inexhaustible — His rule is truly infinite

Audio preview. Full lyrics here.

Track 5 — The Holiness of God (Reprise)

Most of this track is instrumental, and it’s truly beautiful. All true beauty, whether in music, art, nature, or anywhere else, points to the source of all Beauty, the Holy God. The effect is amplified when the words of Scripture from Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 1:8, and Exodus 15:11, 18 are layered over top of the instrumentals toward the end. The track is listed as a “reprise”, because it makes use of the chorus of a track called “The Holiness of God” from a previous album.

Audio preview. Full lyrics here.

Track 6 — Mercy and Grace (featuring Timothy Brindle)

The introduction to this track reminds us that, because we use the words “mercy” and “grace” all the time, they have a tendency to lose their significance. How true! To prevent this, we must constantly remind ourselves what God has done for us in salvation, and what we deserve apart from His mercy and grace.

Favorite lyric: “His grace displayed in saving the worst men / Behold, God’s riches of grace are a Person (Jesus) / Christ, the fountain abounding in His grace / Over my foul sin and mountains of mistakes

Bonus lyric for my fellow Tennesseans: “Gain a new identity, eternal serenity / Now it’s clear we should ‘volunteer’ like Tennessee

Audio preview. Full lyrics here.

Track 7 — Lord of Patience (featuring Melissa T.)

In many ways, this is my favorite song on the record. The lyrics are a heartfelt prayer to God, acknowledging our sinfulness and the wrath we deserve because of it, yet praising the Lord for his long-suffering of our transgressions, and his unmerited favor toward us. It brings me to tears every time I listen to it! My own prayer life is woefully inadequate, and I am thankful for prayers like this one that help teach me how I ought to pray. If there is only one song that you click through to read the lyrics, it should be this one. Read, weep for your sin, and pray these words to the Lord of Patience! (Audio preview)

It’s difficult to choose just one favorite lyric, so instead, here is my favorite verse:

Lord, we worship You, we know that everything we owe You
And when we reflect on the time before we came to know You
How we were unbelievers committing tons of treason
We had a hundred reasons why we wouldn’t come to Jesus
But they were all excuses because our thoughts were useless
That’s what the dark produces, Father, You already knew this
We were foolish and clueless, just as ruthless as Judas
Who knew that You would choose to pursue us and move to woo us
So after waiting with patience as we would run from You
You activated our faith so that we would come to You
Your law exposed our sin so that we would know the danger
And take refuge in the Holy Savior who’s slow to anger
And as our teary eyes beheld the cross of our King
We understood the true meaning of long-suffering
Who can record Your graces? Adored through scores of ages
Your reward is the nations, for You are the Lord of patience

I’ll review the rest of the album in a couple days. In the meantime, download the album from Amazon (best price) or iTunes, or purchase the CD directly from Lampmode.