Behold Our God: Backstory, Chords, Lyrics, Video

One of the great privileges of my life is getting to help write the song “Behold Our God”. You might think I would have a sense of pride over helping to write the song, but the opposite is actually true.

See, here’s the deal…

I’ve written a fair amount of songs. Most of them have had minimal impact. So when I see how God has used “Behold Our God”, I’m keenly aware that it’s all God’s doing.

Yesterday I happened to be reflecting on the song and thought that people might enjoy knowing the backstory.

Behold Our God: The Backstory

“Behold Our God” was not written based on any sort of crazy vision from God or a dream in the middle of the night. Rather, it is based purely on the Word of God.

I was at a Sovereign Grace Churches songwriting retreat, along with my friends Ryan, Jon, and Megan Baird. Jon and I decided to write together, and we started with Isaiah 40:12-14 as the foundation for our song:

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?
Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord,
or what man shows him his counsel?
Whom did he consult,
and who made him understand?
Who taught him the path of justice,
and taught him knowledge,
and showed him the way of understanding?

As I read through the passage afresh, I was struck by the overwhelming glory of God. He needs absolutely nothing from anyone. No one can compare to him. No one can give him advice or counsel.

He is utterly and totally sovereign.

He rules over all and the universe is nothing but a hand breadth to him.

It was these ideas and the passage itself that led Jon and I to begin crafting the verses in the form of questions:

Who has held the oceans in His hands?
Who has numbered every grain of sand?
Kings and nations tremble at His voice
All creation rises to rejoice

After writing for an hour or so, Jon’s brother and sister, Ryan and Megan, joined us. For the rest of the day, we wrestled with the best way to phrase the lyrics and the melody.

One side note of interest is that the chorus starts low melodically, which is unusual for worship songs. That idea was totally Jon’s. He wanted the chorus to end on thrilling high note, which meant we had to start it low. Big props to Jon for that idea.

After spending most of the day writing, we felt we had a really solid song. The final verse was written later by the Baird, with a specific focus on the resurrection.

Lyrics To Behold Our God

The final version of the lyrics of Behold Our God we ended up with are as follows:

Who has held the oceans in His hands?
Who has numbered every grain of sand?
Kings and nations tremble at His voice
All creation rises to rejoice

Behold our God seated on His throne
Come let us adore Him
Behold our King nothing can compare
Come let us adore Him!

Who has given counsel to the Lord?
Who can question any of His Words?
Who can teach the One who knows all things?
Who can fathom all His wondrous deeds?

Who has felt the nails upon His hands
Bearing all the guilt of sinful man?
God eternal humbled to the grave
Jesus, Savior risen now to reign!

Men: You will reign forever!
Women: Let Your glory fill the earth

Behold Our God Chords

If you want to play the chords to Behold Our God on piano or guitar, you’re in luck. It’s really easy and features only a few simple chords. I think this may be one reason why the song has resonated with so many people. It’s really simple and can be played by one person or sung by a large choir.

Here are the chords and lyrics to Behold Our God.

behold our god chords

Behold Our God: The Spread

It has been truly amazing to see all the different ways people have used “Behold Our God”. It’s been sung in churches, covered by bands, and even arranged orchestrally.

My biggest takeaway from seeing the song spread is NOT that I and the Baird’s are great songwriters. Far from it. I’ve written enough lousy songs to know that I don’t offer anything special.

Rather, the conclusion I’ve come to is that people are starving for the glory of God. They want preaching and writing and music that points them to the staggering, stunning, absolutely beautiful character of God. Because of this, songs and sermons and books that point to God’s glory will deeply resonate with people.

Behold Our God On YouTube

I was recently scrolling through YouTube and was amazed at all the different ways “Behold Our God” has been sung. I decided to put together a video compilation of 10 different ways the song has been arranged, including being sung in Mandarin.

I hope you enjoy it!

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Hey, I'm Stephen Altrogge. I'm a dad and published author. I've written for The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, ERLC, Church Leaders, Crosswalk, and many more outlets. You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook .

17 thoughts on “Behold Our God: Backstory, Chords, Lyrics, Video”

  1. I am filling in to lead worship at my church this Sunday, and this is one of the songs that we are singing. Thank you for writing a song that points us to the glory of God both in his majesty and in how He draws near to us in the Gospel.

  2. “..people are starving for the glory of God. ” Yes, they surely are! For a while now I have been feeling stagnant in my thoughts of God, that they were not high enough. You put words to that feeling – starving for the glory of God. This song surely speaks of the wondrous glory and I love when we sing it in church. I wish we would sing it every week and have that reminder always before us that our God is GLORIOUS. Thank you for cowriting the song and thank you for today’s blog and for reminding me of the glory of God.

  3. The first time our congregation sang that song, I thought, this is the kind of song we’ll sing in heaven. Because yes, it magnifies God’s great glory and majesty.

  4. You say ‘your songs have had minimal impact.’ I beg to differ. I was lying in my bed. Feeling low. Flicking through Google at stuff. Came across your Bloggs. God’s timing! Which have provoked and challenged me. Thank you! Keep on writing.

  5. I shared this song with Joshua Spacht’s orchestra in Cuba and we used it to end our worship at the conclusion of a week-long music retreat. Hundreds of passionate believers singing this in Spanish! What a tast of heaven! Incredible worship song!


      My family and I have a privileged opportunity to be able to sing your beautiful song with our combined churches, Ohana Baptist Church choir concert this weekend, at Friendship Baptist Church in Hawaii. I first was able to hear this song on West Coast Baptist College He Reigns CD. We instantly fell in love with this song because as so many have pointed out it points to the glory of Our LORD it keeps us focused on the author and finisher of our faith and truly HE is gloriously above any measurement both in heaven and in Earth.

  6. It doesn’t make any difference where you hear it or who sings it (chorus, congregation, group, duets, ASL). As you are listening to it, in that moment, it’s the most beautiful thing you’ve heard.

    I rarely sing along when this song is done during our church service. I usually just have to stand in my place, close my eyes, and take Him in. And frequently there are tears involved.

    Thanks, Stephen, for being God’s conduit.

  7. I’d heard the song a while back and the Lord brought it to mind again last week making me want to listen to it and play my guitar to it. I regularly livestream Alistair Begg Sunday morning and this past Sunday he spoke on Isaiah 40 and the worship and praise group sang “Behold our God”.
    Thank you for being Gods messenger with this magnificent song. It’s on my mind throughout each day.
    May the Lord continue to bless and keep you.

  8. Hi, I’ve been leading worship for nearly 20 years (not that it makes me qualified for anything) But this is easily in my Top 5 worship songs. Simple, beautiful and Word-based. God has used you friend.

  9. As a dissenting voice, my pennyworth. IMO it is structured for polytheists, subspecies Sabellianists, and makes a mess of prayer.

    The ‘our god’ line is unfit for proper monotheists. Discounting the style of millennia gone, we should reject all talk about us having a god, or a type of god. We have God, and he is ours. Let polytheists speak about their preferred god, gods, goddess, goddesses, and about other people’s gods, but Bible translations should have done more to help us out of this morass. ‘Our’ god is not “on his throne”: we have no god, we have God, who is “on his throne”.

    Well, who did the Bairds and Altrogge believe to be ‘their’ god? And who is Yahweh, according to Is.43:13? According to them, he’s Yeshua, “who…felt the nails upon his hands.” No, the immortal Yahweh was not crucified; the mortal Yeshua (God the son as a human being) was crucified. Since no one else was alluded to as being ‘their’ god, their idea was implicitly cast as Sabellian: ie, one god, three modes/faces—not three persons. Nor, incidentally, was “God eternal humbled”. God the son humbled himself, both in incarnating himself as a human being, and, as a human being, submitting to the grave: God did not die; Jesus died.

    It begins as an anthrodirectional song, that is, to be sung to each other. It messes this up, by sticking in a pretence petition-prayer to Jesus: “Let your glory fill the earth.” That both A# messes with the meaningfulness of prayer by undermining genuine settled focus on deity (a blink not a gaze), and B# contravenes Jesus’ own teachings about petitionary-prayer to go to his father, not to himself the lord.

    Though built around some good Yahweh texts, the writers totally trashed the NT difference, thinking there was one person behind all their deity lines: verse three is both disconnected, and a mess in its own right. I would fail it as unfit for Christian service.

  10. I connect to my faith through music. This is the most beautiful song I have ever heard. It makes it hard to sing when I’m absorbing the words because it brings tears to my eyes. The chorus, the feeling of singing it while at church- it’s full of awe and wonder.
    Thank you for sharing its origin, and for helping to create this beautiful song.

  11. Thank you so much for your wonderful tribute to our Savior. I became aware of it this morning
    on the Internet. I have played it over and over becoming more blessed each time I have heard it. I have taken the liberty to make reference to this anthem on the website “Were the Wise Men from China/ The Revelation of the Magi”. May God continue to bless your song writing efforts!


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