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 we return to 20theCountdownMagazine moving to the top rated song we haven’t reviewed. Today we will be taking a look at #6 on the chart, “He Knows My Name” by Francesca Battistelli.
Why We Do This
Before we get to today’s song, I’d like to point out that while we take the time to exercise Biblical discernment here in what we listen to on “Christian Radio”, the goal isn’t to tear down these artists. The goal, is to protect you from ambiguous or false teaching conveyed by most of what we hear on the radio. I’m not lobbying for you to turn off your radios, though I think many of us should do so from time to time, my hope is that when the questionable songs start to play, that you will remember what we searched in God’s Word. Sometimes, we can salvage a vague or blah song and add Scriptural meat to it. Sometimes, we just have to outright rebuke the theology presented, and we do so also with Scripture. Either way, if we’ve done our work well here, then no matter which song pops up, your mind will go to the Word of God. If we haven’t covered the song yet, I hope that when a line catches your attention, you will try to follow the steps we take here to search out the Scriptures. There are some songs that I’ll change the channel for, others I’ll only sing with a line or two, and others I thoroughly enjoy (either because the song is great or because I can apply proper Scriptural context to correct the vagueness). As always, if you disagree with my assessments or feel I’ve not been fair, do please speak up either in comments below or in a private message via the contact page.
Francesca Battistelli – “He Knows My Name”
Lyrics (via KLove.com)
Spent today in a conversation
In the mirror face to face with
Somebody less than perfect
I wouldn’t choose me first if
I was looking for a champion
In fact I’d understand if
You picked everyone before me
But that’s just not my story
True to who You are
You saw my heart
And made something out of nothing, so
I don’t need my name in lights
I’m famous in my Father’s eyes
Make no mistake
He knows my name
I’m not living for applause
I’m already so adored
It’s all His stage
He knows my name
He knows my name
I’m not meant to just stay quiet
I’m meant to be a lion
I’ll roar beyond a song
With every moment that I’ve got
True to who You are
You saw my heart
And made something out of nothing
He calls me chosen
Wanted, child of the King
Held and treasured
I am loved
I don’t need my name in lights
I’m famous in my Father’s eyes
Publishing: © 2014 Word Music, LLC, Francesca Music (ASCAP) (All rights on behalf of itself and Francesca Music adm. by Word Music, LLC) / Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Upside Down Under (BMI) (All rights on behalf of itself and Upside Down Under adm. by Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC) / CentricSongs, 2 Hour Songs (SESAC) (Adm. by Music Services) Scripture quotation is from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version ® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Produced by Ian Eskelin
Writer(s): Francesca Battistelli / Mia Fieldes / Seth Mosley
Without a doubt, Francesca has an amazing singing voice. The song is very well done (this acoustic version is my favorite sounding version). Let’s see if its content matches its performance.
The idea that we don’t need to be famous in this life because God knows who we are is awesome. It is important to remind Christians that regardless of your personal successes or failures, what matters is if He knows your name. Not just in His Omniscience, but in a knowing that comes from having repented of our sin and believed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s look at some verses.
John 10:14-18 (ESV) 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
Luke 10:17-20 (ESV) 17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Revelation 3:1-6 (ESV) | To the Church in Sardis
1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. 4 Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life.I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Matthew 10:24-33 (ESV) 24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. 26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
So, we’ve explored the idea of what is truly important as far as fame and notoriety are concerned as demonstrated in Scripture. This is such an important theme for us (Christians) to grasp when this world tempts us to focus on ourselves rather than on Christ and His Gospel. While this theme is important, the song doesn’t do a good job of conveying it properly. While the lyrics include a citation of the ESV for Bible quotes, there are no Bible quotes in the song. At best, there are soundbites that can be found in the Bible, but nothing is actually quoted.
Title. There are a lot of concerns in this song. Let’s start with the title of the song, “He knows my Name”. Firstly, we serve a God who is omniscient, who knows everything. We saw earlier that every hair on our head is numbered, and God loves us, and He knows our hearts. Also, our names are written in the Lamb’s book of Life, that is what we must rejoice in, the promise of Heaven through Jesus Christ our Lord. But why this focus on our name? The song is overly focused on us, as though God chose us because of something possess rather than by His Grace. The only name that matters, is the Name that is above all names, Jesus.
Verse 1. So she spent time speaking to herself in the mirror. This screams post-modern progressive notion of “finding myself” or “getting to know myself”. She defines herself as “less than perfect”, well that’s pious and slightly emotive, but it is incomplete. The Mirror we should be looking in is the Law, and according to the Law we are hopelessly and irrevocably sinful, dead in our sins and trespasses.
Romans 1:18-23 (ESV) | God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Romans 1:28-32 (ESV) 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Ephesians 2:1-3 (ESV) 1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
When we look in the mirror, we should recognize all of mankind. For our flesh is corrupt and our hearts were darkened by unrighteousness. That is the Law, that is the perfection of God from which we fell when Adam sinned. And it is from this state, that the Grace of God is revealed in Christ who is the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for us, so that we might have life in Him. That is the answer to this dilemma, that Christ died to rescue us from our sin (the Gospel). So this contemplative nonsense about having a conversation in the mirror is concerning. Any thought of this being merely a lyrical device evaporates in the next line “I wouldn’t choose me first if I was looking for a champion”. Uhm… the Gospel of Jesus Christ is NOT that He was looking for a champion in fallen man. God has never needed a Champion. God called and equipped Gideon and then God gave him the victory… God didn’t “find a champion in Gideon”. Same with all of the other judges and with King David. This rings of the narcissistic theology sold by Osteen, “Discover the Champion in You“. No. Soli Deo Gloria, means that everything God does is for His Glory and for His Name’s sake.
Romans 1:1-7 (ESV) 1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, 7 To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Chorus. I struggle with first line of the chorus, “I don’t need my name in lights”, because immediately my mind goes to, “that’s an easy thing to declare when your name is in lights”. I found myself also tripping over the fact that her name is prominently displayed on her album cover. Sure, it’s not “in lights” but it still trips me up. It evokes the same response as when I hear a multi-million dollar televangelist preach about how the love of money is idolatry right before insisting that if you want God to work in your life just send him “seed money”. To make things a bit less emotional and a little more scriptural, I find it to be much like the rich young ruler who claimed to keep the whole Law and wanted to follow Jesus, only to have Him say, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me (Matthew 19).” It’s easy to tell others who have not, that what you have isn’t what is important, especially if in the telling, you get to keep what you have. Now let’s get to this “He knows my name” line that gets repeated (and is in the title of the song). The disclaimer in the lyrics says it pulls quotes from the ESV Bible. Let’s search for that line in the ESV. One hit, from Psalm 91.
Psalm 91:11-16 (ESV)
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
Did you catch what went wrong there? The “he” in verse 14 is no longer pointing to God, it is pointing to “he who dwells in the secret place” in verse 1, which points to the Messiah. This should be made clear when you realize the “I” is pointing to the deliverer of him. God is the deliverer. God is promising to deliver the Messiah and protect Him, because He knows God’s Name. Satan understood that this Psalm was Messianic, which is why he tried to twist it to tempt Jesus in the wilderness (Luke 4)
Verse 2. Now we open up the floodgate of narcissistic eisegisis, purpose-driven style. When does the Bible call us Lions? Jesus Christ is the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God. We are sheep. Our strength lies in knowing the Good Shepherd, hearing His voice and obeying Him. To God be the glory.
Bridge. Again, we have another self-centered, purpose-driven song that declares forgiveness without mentioning repentance or confession or even of our sin. Remember the “less than perfect” from earlier? Might as well say “I’m human, but God has forgiven me for that shortcoming and now I’m a champion”. That ain’t the Gospel, Jack. There is only one way to God, only one way to being secure in the promises listed in this Bridge, and that is through Jesus Christ (not our name, or our inner champion).
This song is just self-esteem pop pushing purpose-driven narcissism. I’m all for reaching out to those who feel “less-than”, but the answer is to speak the Truth in Love, not pump people up with false notions of “the champion in side of you” or “you are famous just the way you are”. The end-state of hyper-self-esteem is lawlessness. We now live in a society that has been pumped so full of self-esteem-falsehood that it is now unconscionable to tell a child in public school whether or not they are a boy or a girl. Without a doubt, Francesca was blessed with a gift from God to sing. I pray that in the future her songs be more biblically sound and clear. As for this song, I cannot recommend it to a friend.
Acts 20:28-35 (ESV) 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. 34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. 35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
In Christ Jesus,