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Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Blessed Be Your Name - Free Chord Charts & Sheet Music - Bad Theology?

Blessed Be Your Name by Matt Redman is a hugely popular song. It was written back in 2002 by Matt and his wife (Beth) Redman. According to CCLI's Top 25 Songs list Blessed Be Your Name was the 3rd most popular worship song to be played in churches in the United States in the last 6 months. The 6 month period before that it was actually in 2nd position. It's also in the Top 20 most popular worship songs in the UK.



Over the last few years 'Blessed Be Your Name' has been covered by numerous Christian music artists including Tree63 and Newsboys. So why has Blessed Be Your Name been so popular? Let's take a look at the lyrics:


BLESSED BE YOUR NAME
In the land that is plentiful,
Where Your streams of abundance flow,
Blessed be Your name.
And blessed be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place,
Though I walk through the wilderness,
Blessed be Your name.

Every blessing You pour out I'll
Turn back to praise.
When the darkness closes in, Lord,
Still I will say:

Blessed be the name of the Lord,
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord,
Blessed be Your glorious name.

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me,
When the world's 'all as it should be',
Blessed be Your name.
And blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering,
Though there's pain in the offering,
Blessed be Your name.

You give and take away,
You give and take away.
My heart will choose to say:
Lord, blessed be Your name.

Matt & Beth Redman
Copyright © 2002 Thankyou Music


The great thing about this song is that it gets our focus onto God and off of ourselves. It reminds us to praise Him and to bless Him when things are going well and when things aren't going well. It's often said that many of us forget to pray and worship God when things are going well. However, when we're really struggling with something in our lives, when we realise we can't do it on our own, that's when we remember to pray and praise Him.

I would therefore suggest that one reason Blessed Be Your Name has been so popular is due to the fact that the majority of people can relate to this song. We're all either going through a "land that is plentiful" time or a "road marked with suffering" time (or sometimes both of those at the same time) and therefore need the reminder in this song that we are to bless (praise) Him no matter what situation we find ourselves in.


Bad Theology?

Interestingly, despite "Blessed Be Your Name" being so popular, many people have had an issue with the theology of the bridge, that mentions that God "Gives and takes away". Let's look at the bridge:

You give and take away,
You give and take away.
My heart will choose to say:
Lord, blessed be Your name.



This is taken from the book of Job when Job says:

"Naked I came from my mother's womb,
and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised."
(Job 1:21)

As the following verse states that Job did not sin in saying that "God takes away" the argument is that God definitely does take away:

In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. (Job 1:22)

However, many people would argue that God doesn't take away and in fact it's the devil who does that:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

I've heard that some people change the line to "You gave your only Son" or "You give and save the day" (although as far as I understand it you're not allowed to do this without the permission from the Authors - Matt and Beth Redman). There is also the comedy version which is "You give us takeaway", but please don't sing this (and if you do, don't tell anyone I told you about it!)

We had a discussion about this over on Worship The Rock called 'Blessed Be Your Name Has Bad Theology?'.

Lots of people thought the bridge was fine but one comment helped explain the other side of the argument (it's written in response to someone who didn't agree with the theology of the bridge):


Somehow (and maybe it's just my feelings here because I can't hear the tone we're typing in) that now we've become judges of this guys ideals. Now I don't know this guy, but let me ask this, is this guy wrong for wanting to believe that God is so good to him, that God would never take anything away from him? I mean, doesn't the scriptures teach us that it's the "thief" comes to steal, kill and destroy? So he forms a good image of God that sees God as only a giver of good and we judge him as screwed up. Like I said, I don't know this guys motives either.

Let me clarify that I do understand that God gives and takes away. It's just what we believe He takes away that makes me concerned. It's just sometimes in Christianity I've seen people use God as their excuse for their own failures and they'll use this scripture in Job as their way of excusing their lack of wisdom (making wrong decisions), lack of faith and lack of taking care of themselves, etc. that may have caused this "taking away" in their life. It's a very complex thing, this life we live in huh? But it makes us feel better for the failure we've brought upon ourselves.

I could argue scriptually for both sides of this subject but which one would be right? First of all, just in the area of sickness, did Jesus pay the price for everyone to be healed? If you have doubts in your theology that he did, then you tend to lean toward Job's experience as your way out. I would dare to believe that some of you would not categorize "health" as one of the things God takes away but I bet some of you here on the forum would believe that he does also.

Let me just illustrate just one concept. Job was written before the Law. I think we realize the Law was built on a system of do good, get good/ do bad, get bad. But it did have promises that if I do good, I'd be rewarded with good and not bad. Correct? Deut. 28 explains the blessings of obediance and the curses of disobediance. So if Job would have lived during the Dispensation of the Law, then he would have had a right to good and not bad due to the fact that he was a righteousness man, exchewed evil and feared God. Job didn't have this covenant. Dispenstaion here is very important. Obediance to the Law was a very good deterent to bad consequences and it would be your right because of this covenant. Let's take this over into the New Testament that says we have a better covenant based on better promises. Just based on the fact that "this devil" appearing in Job has now been defeated by our Saviour. So just in the area of the sickness and health issue, I could have an argument that GOD doesn't take away health since that's part of the price Jesus paid for on the cross for us. Yet good Chrisitan people still get sick and die of horrible diseases. So to use this scripture, "well the Lord gives and the Lord takes away" would be an insult to the price Jesus paid on the cross to back up why we're sick. Now I would never insult a person dieing with cancer with such a harsh word but I would try to give them hope through the scriptures that they could be healed based on the Word for today. Like I said, this is just in the area of health, healing and sickness. It could get a lot more complex than this.

Let's just be careful to rightly devide the Word of Truth concerning our lives and the dispensation we are living in as compared to other dispensations that these other people lived in. God hasn't changed, but the way he deals with mankind has changed with every dispensation in time. Each dispensation came with a new covenant that had promises along with it.



No matter what we believe I think most of us can sing the line "You Give and Take Away" and let it mean what we want it to. Some will think it means that God takes away good things (like babies, health, money etc) and others will take it to mean that God takes away sickness, sin, poverty etc.

At the end of the day a lot of these issues come down to the way we understand the Sovereignty of God. I'll have to do a separate blog on that one though - no time right now.


Guitar Chords &  Sheet Music

If you'd like free chord charts (and guitar tabs) to Blessed Be Your Name you can get them here. I usually play it in the key of A, but you can play it like it's written (in the Key of B), or any other key you find suits your congregation. As usual, I couldn't find any sites offering free sheet music for 'Blessed Be Your Name' but you can buy the sheet music here.

12 comments:

  1. Suggest you take a look at the short book by the same name - this will explain these lyrics!

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  2. Tweeted Matt Redman himself to see if he wants to comment and help everyone understand.

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  3. Hi Ant,

    Thanks for the heads up. I think I know at least some of the background to Matt's interpretation and application of the verse. I just wanted to present both sides so people were aware that some people disagree that the verse is applicable to new testament believers.

    Thanks again for your comments,

    Phil

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  4. I'm not sure why there is even a controversy over these lyrics. It can't get more biblical. God does take away and anyone who thinks He doesn't is living in a delusion.

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  5. Personally I struggle theologically with the whole "Blessed BE your name" text woven through the song. Surely "Blessed IS your name" would be more theologically correct. If am I missing something please post because I struggle to sing the song because of this!!! It suggests a future dimension to God's goodness rather than the past, present and future. God is good all the time. All the time God is good.

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  6. When I sing "BE" I take it to mean "IS" - I don't think it's only referring to the future.

    It's like the song by Paul Oakley "Be lifted up". It doesn't just mean in the future, it means now.

    I suppose also, as the song is talking about future events, like WHEN i'm found in the desert place, perhaps it makes more sense to sing BE?

    Not sure - but I do agree that His name IS always blessed!

    Thanks for the comment,

    Phil

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  7. God never takes away? Really?
    I absolutely love this song because at one point in our lives, we had enough money to tell our kids to pick a future job that would be fun, "Don't worry about paying the bills! We'll always have enough!" Oops. At that point in time, God was not the center of our lives, our marriage was a mess, our kids heading down the wrong path. Now that the money is gone and our lives are being restored, what is the devil that took our money and our selfish lifestyle?
    I cannot sing this song without tears streaming down my checks. My God is sovereign and fully in control of every aspect of our lives, making all things work together for good, even when a thief comes in to steal because he will never destroy me for I am a child of the King. "I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you."

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  8. Whoever thinks that the bridge is bad theology needs to read a Bible. They have made God into some sort of Cosmic Genie who is here to give us what we want. Sometimes what He needs to do to fulfill His purposes in our lives is remove things from our lives.

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  9. I think it's easy for us to confuse the word LIFE with our short existence here on earth. When we do that our vision and also our judgement are short, restricted. What God wants is for us to consider this life as nothing compared to the next permanent and eternal life. Tara wrote about her experience and her new life after wards. No devil would ever take away the things which would keep us from faith. But God in His Great Love may take away things because He trusts us to grow and learn and develop into a deeper relationship with Him. If He takes away a life it is because of His immense love and nothing else. My daughter lays dying of cancer. She says with an enthusiastic look on her face, "I'll be with Jesus in Heaven, who doesn't want that? It will be bitter sweet for we will miss each other for a little while." Tears running freely. Blessed be the name of the Lord. God will take her home, not the devil or any other horrible entity. It will be God. Praise His Holy Name, forever. I don't believe God gives cancer. We get cancer because we are human and live in this dirty world, which we are destroying. God could heal my daughter, it would be His Great Love. He could choose to take her home though, that would also be His Great Love. I love this song. Thank you to the authors and to those who faithfully sing it out.

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  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. As I look at it, God has told us that He is The I AM! Grammatically, this goes with the verb TO BE, so if we know HE IS, then it still comes under BEING and therefore BE has no limits in time. I have to say that, for myself, this is one of the most impactful songs I have listened to and sung in a long time!

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  12. The absolute reality is that God truly takes away some important things in our lives because he will replace it with something better, like what happened to Job. Also, God sometimes "prune" us so that we would even be more fruitful. Pruning is also like taking away something from us which is still actually for our good. (just my two cents)

    We will never completely understand God's sovereignty. That's why we have faith.

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