DiM | “Overwhelmed” by Big Daddy Weave

Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

Today I wanted to take a look at the #7 song on K-Love’s top songs chart dated September 21. The song is Overwhelmed by Big Daddy Weave. I skipped over songs #5 and #6 because as soon as I saw the list I was already singing the chorus to Overwhelmed in my head. Let us begin with a refresher for those who might not have heard this song on the radio:

There is a portion at the end where children can be heard singing something in Swahili. Thanks to one of the comments on the video (and Google translate) those lyrics and their meaning are as follows:

wewe ni mzuri, wewe ni waajabu
You are beautiful, you are the extraordinary.

Wewe ni mtukufu, wewe ni mfalme wangu
You are exalted, you are my king

Overwhelmed | Lyrics (via Big Daddy Weave Website)

(Music & Lyrics: Mike Weaver / Phil Wickham)
I see the work of Your Hands
Galaxies spin in a Heavenly dance oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming

I hear the sound of Your Voice
All at once it’s a gentle and thundering noise oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming

I delight myself in You
Captivated by Your beauty
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

I know the power of Your Cross
Forgiven and free forever You’ll be my God

All that You’ve done is so overwhelming
I delight myself in You
In the Glory of Your Presence
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

You are Beautiful, You are Beautiful
Oh God, there is no one more Beautiful
You are Beautiful, God you are the most Beautiful

You are Wonderful, You are Wonderful
Oh God, there is no one more Wonderful
You are Wonderful, God You are the most Wonderful

You are Glorious, You are Glorious
Oh God, there is no one more Glorious
You are Glorious, God you are the most Glorious

Positive Elements

This song is more pointed at the God of the Bible than some of the songs we’ve reviewed. The first stanza identifies the object of worship as God, the Creator of the Universe.

Psalm 102:25-28 (ESV)
25 Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you will remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
27     but you are the same, and your years have no end.
28 The children of your servants shall dwell secure;
their offspring shall be established before you.

The next stanza starts a bit oddly. “I hear the sound of your voice…” could be artistic license or it could be leaning toward mysticism. We’ll put that thought on hold for a bit and continue on to acknowledge that there is a reference to both the gentle voice of God and the thundering voice of God. That’s positive, because throughout the Old Testament we see God speaking to His Anointed in large and small ways, by audible voice and by the Written Word. The children of Israel were frightened by the Voice of God at Horeb, and insisted that Moses go speak with God on their behalf. Being overwhelmed by the Creator of the Universe is a good thing, just as being overwhelmed by the fear of the Lord was a good thing at Horeb. In fact, let’s look at passage. Moses is recounting to the people of Israel how God spoke to them the 10 Commandments at Horeb.

Deuteronomy 5:22-29 (ESV) 22 “These words the Lord spoke to all your assembly at the mountain out of the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and he added no more. And he wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me. 23 And as soon as you heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, you came near to me, all the heads of your tribes, and your elders. 24 And you said, ‘Behold, the Lord our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire. This day we have seen God speak with man, and man still live. 25 Now therefore why should we die? For this great fire will consume us. If we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, we shall die. 26 For who is there of all flesh, that has heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of fire as we have, and has still lived? 27 Go near and hear all that the Lord our God will say, and speak to us all that the Lord our God will speak to you, and we will hear and do it.’

28 “And the Lord heard your words, when you spoke to me. And the Lord said to me, ‘I have heard the words of this people, which they have spoken to you. They are right in all that they have spoken. 29 Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever!

Being overwhelmed by God is a good thing, and oh that we had such a heart always, to fear God and to keep all His commandments. Which brings us to the chorus. The idea of delighting in God is one that we see reflected in the Psalms. However, this song doesn’t quite complete the thought like the Psalms did, because this song keeps it in sort of vague, mystical sense of delighting in God directly, delighting in His presence and running into His arms. While it makes for strong emotive poetry, it falls short of actually providing something we can do. Let’s see how the Psalmist completes the thought.

Psalm 119:9-16 (ESV)
9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
 let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
13 With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
14 In the way of your testimonies I delight
    as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.

So we see that the aim of our delight in Him is by keeping His Word in our hearts. Why is this important? Because there are many false religions who seek oneness with gods in creation without acknowledging the One True God and Creator of the Universe, for they reject His Word. What ends up happening is they fall into idolatry of the created over the Creator, or in the idolatry of self-worship. Delighting in God must be according to His Word and not left to our imaginations, impressions, or emotions alone. The line, “God, I run into Your arms” needs to be understood as Repentance and prayer, not just singing this song and praying for answers. I’m not sure if that is what the writers of the song intended, but that is the only way this song stays doctrinally sound. We are called to remain in the Lord, and as the Psalmist says by guarding our way according to His Word is the only way we can keep our way pure. So any notion that we have of running into the arms of the Lord must coincide with the need to repent from prior drifting or running away from Him, which is Sin. Repentance is also the way in which we practice running into the arms of God. Once we’ve repented from sin, then the next line “Unashamed because of mercy” holds true, because of His Great Mercy we are forgiven when we confess our sins and repent from them.

The second verse is really only one stanza, and then a return to the Chorus. This third stanza gives us a much-needed reference to the Cross of Jesus Christ. This is the mercy and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He bore our sins, iniquities, and the full penalty of our unrighteousness on the cross.

Concerns

Our goal here is to practice Biblical discernment in the songs we hear played on the radio (maybe even sing along with) so that we are fully aware of what we are filling our hearts and minds with. The primary concern with this song is in the open door to a mystical interpretation of delighting in God’s Presence (presence theology like that taught at Bethel). The modern-day evangelical church has been flooded by New Age Mysticism that seeks to skip over the Written Word of God and dive right into “experiencing” supernatural communion and presence and imparting spiritual wisdom apart from the Bible. It is woefully dangerous theology and false doctrine. The Bible warns us time and time again not to accept false gods, false spirits, or doctrines of demons. Even from the Law the test of a true Prophet involved more than simply whether or not a sign or wonder was performed… but what they taught was to be scrutinized and examined for Truth. For the Law was a testimony of God. Moses and the Prophets testified of the Messiah to come, Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit testifies of the Christ who came, died, ascended, and is returning to judge both the living and the dead. Do not skip the Written Word of God hoping to ascend into heavenly existence via mystical short-cuts, and do not listen to those who claim to teach such methods.

You might be thinking, “wow, I don’t see any of that in this song.” One of the methods taught by the 3rd Century Roman Catholic Mystics was to chant a word of scripture or phrase over, and over, and over again… to enter into a trance-like state until supposedly the hidden secret meaning of the scripture would be revealed. That is not what the Bible teaches. So when so much of this song is devoted to repetition, it makes me nervous. Also, having grown up in a lot of the “presence” approach to worship, I know that the intended purpose of these lyrics is to allow the music team to run these lines on repeat until “something happens” or “the spirit moves among the people”.

Conclusion

This song is a decent song in that it almost stands on its own.  Proper understanding of the fear of the Lord, and how we are to delight in Him is required to keep this song in its proper place. That prayerful confession and repentance from sin is how we are to “run into His arms”. It does seem to have been written in a way that it could be used by liberal, seeker-mergent, mystical forms of worship, so the context of this song being played is important. I enjoy hearing it my car and humming along as I go about my day, because I’m not engaging in mysticism, merely thinking about just how overwhelming our God is, His Holiness and His Grace that He should love a wretch like me. Whenever you hear this song played on the radio, it is my hope that you will be reminded to delight in God’s Word, in His Testimonies, in His Statutes, in His Commandments, and most importantly in His Son, Jesus, who lived, died, and rose again and is returning soon.

Jude 1:24-25 (ESV)
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

11 thoughts on “DiM | “Overwhelmed” by Big Daddy Weave

  1. I’m honestly not sure what you’re concerned about with this song.

    God indeed wants us to have a relationship with Him. How on earth would experiencing Him be considered ‘mysticism’? The relationship God desires to have with each Believer is similar to the relationship shared by a husband and wife. God wants that kind of intimacy with us. How better to express that kind of intimacy that to call it an experience? How else does one experience God than in His presence? I understand there are always concerns of New Age thinking and theology entering the Church undetected, but certainly there are concrete examples of this instead of trying to search for it as you have done in this post.

    As far as your concern that this song is concerning because of the repetition of a single phrase or group of phrases as some sort of tool used by mystics in the 3rd Century, I would guess you would need to throw out numerous Psalms in the Book of Psalms. Repetition of a phrase is a common feature of all music expression. Please see Psalm 136 and others if necessary.

    Why does a song need to have a ‘concerning’ element? Do you feel compelled to find a ‘concern’ with each song you review? Jesus Loves Me has some of the same elements that you cite as items of concern with this song–repetitive phrases, simplistic theology that can be abused by charlatans–but does it need to be pointed out? Just asking because the criticism seems a bit of a stretch considering that you as I greatly appreciate and enjoy this song.

    • Thank you for your comment and your questions. Overall I think it’s a good song, as long as your doctrine is sound. Without rightly understanding what it really means to “run into His arms”, there is room for a lot of bad theology to define it for you (like mysticism or asceticism).

      Concerns. The “concerns” portion of these reviews is where we seek to raise possible warning flags for slippery doctrine or possible abuse of the song by false teachers. Unless a song being aired on the radio comes straight from scripture, we know that it does not rise the status of Scripture so the song will be fallible. Having said that, not all “concerns” carry equal weight. Sometimes a concern is akin to a “slippery when wet” sign, one who walks carefully is unlikely to slip; however, a child who tends to run with reckless abandon may likely slip and get injured.

      Mysticism. The cancer of mysticism is a serious problem in the church today, and every Christian denomination is falling for it (Evangelical, Charismatic, Lutheran, Reformed, …). As for the repetition in this song, “you are beautiful” repeated over and over is great for drumming up an emotional response, but it doesn’t bring any greater teaching to the mind of the listener. The warning here is that this can be abused by churches who focus more on manipulating emotions with light shows and dynamic music, than on rightly understanding praise and worship. Again, slippery when wet… if you are already walking carefully, you are not likely to fall, but if you are running recklessly… caution.

      Finally, these posts are not about me “trying to find good examples of mysticism in the Church”. The goal here is to work through the most popular songs on Christian Radio to discern what is of God, what is of men, and what is errant. Each person who reads this post is encouraged to take what I’ve presented back to the Word of God. The goal is that the listener then engages his/her mind as the song is heard to focus on what Scripture clearly teaches and guard against the doctrines of men.

      Again, thank you for taking the time to disagree with me or call my motives into question. I appreciate the opportunity to clarify the purpose of DiM Tuesday posts.

  2. If I may, if some concerns you have about a song are more of a ‘Slippery When Wet’ type notice, then maybe you could preface them differently. Instead of stating that the ‘primary concern’ about the song are potential elements of mysticism, you could state it as ‘a potential concern about this song is that it could be abused by some with errant theology to further distort the Gospel and the Word of God. Although there is no direct evidence that Big Daddy Weave intends it to be used this way, but we state it to emphasize that even songs written by those with excellent theological understanding may be mischaracterized in this way.’

    Anyway. I appreciate your response to my comment and your efforts to discuss the theological merit of the songs we hear on the radio.

    • Thank you civilcommentator for advising Jorge. I couldn’t have said it better myself. That was the conflict I was having with Jorge comments on the song. And every Christian artist or teacher may have the same issue of in truth those who will twist the actual intent of teachings and songs. Paul warned that after his departing from this world that deceivers would come in and twist and they did as he said and still do today! Which is what I believe Jorge was trying to convey to us

  3. great blog. we need more voices of discernment ESPECIALLY when it comes to music being marketed as “worship songs”. I also think it is totally appropriate to have a “concern” for almost any song, because no lyrics written by man are inspired or inerrant, and many good songs still leave a lot to the singer to interpret, which is an inherent concern, even if it doesn’t stop us from singing a particular song. For example, I agree with your assessment of “Good, Good, Father” however we still sing this song, we just read seven or eight passages of Scripture immediately before singing to focus our minds like a laser on His Word and prevent “serendipitous heresy”. 🙂

  4. After doing an outreach sessions at an addiction center, a non-believer mocked the words “You are Beautiful, You are Beautiful
    Oh God, there is no one more Beautiful
    You are Beautiful, God you are the most Beautiful”.

    He said, “You guys believe that God is a spirit so how do you know he’s beautiful?”. Are Christian songs only for the believers? Should we be more mindful of those listening who may not be? I was able to steer him in the right direction but for a non-believer to hear our songs, and the meaning are deep into the scriptures, are we too inward focused?

    • Thank you for sharing. To the question of our inward focus, if you mean we keep trying to explore our faith purely as an internal matter, yes I think we spend far too much time looking for God within ourselves. Based on the other question, I think the intended question is actually, “are Christians focusing too much on Christians and not enough on non-believers?”. My short answer to that question is an emphatic “yes and no”. Yes, CCM is spending too much time focusing on the Christian examining himself and not enough time pointing both Christians and non-believers to Christ. The Gospel needs to be preached clearly, concisely, and routinely to Christians and non-believers alike. The Gospel isn’t just for unbelievers, it is for sinners. All who sin are in need of a Savior, repentance, and the Forgiveness of sins. That includes Christians. So, in that regard, CCM is completely dropping the ball. The part of the song the unbeliever mocked is unclear and mystical in nature. The refrain is unclear. We don’t see God directly, so the only right understanding of appreciating the beauty of God is in His Word. We don’t see Him directly, we see God only as He has revealed Himself to us in His Word.

      What makes a song truly a Christian song is that it points listener to the Law of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the repentance and the forgiveness of sins, the assurance of salvation, the Hope everlasting. With that as our framework, Christian songs are for everyone, believer and unbeliever alike. I truly hope to see more clarity in the lyrics of CCM.

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