DiM | 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman

Presentation1CCM/COWO Edition.

January 10, 2017. Today we’ll be taking a look at “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman which currently sits at #2 on 20TheCountdownMagazine.

The new year brings with it a full reset of the top 20 chart. Most of the songs currently on the chart are technically evangelical worship songs or contemporary worship (COWO) songs.

Today’s song was my favorite song from my old life of evangelicalism and NAR deception. I still catch myself humming this tune from time to time, and honestly I’ve been hoping this song wouldn’t pop up on the top 20 so I wouldn’t have to review it in light of Scripture. However, as it is now on the top 20 chart–review it, we shall! The song doesn’t stand on its own, but it can be good with a little bit biblical instruction. Let’s give the song a listen and then read through the lyric.

MattRedmanVEVO

Lyrics (via K-Love)

(Chorus)
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Chorus

You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

Chorus

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

(Chorus x2)

Jesus, I’ll worship Your holy name
Lord, I’ll worship Your holy name

Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name
Jesus, I’ll worship Your holy name
I’ll worship Your holy name

Discussion

The point of the song is to remind/encourage the listener to “bless the LORD, oh my soul”. This phrase needs some explanation to keep the listener clear of mysticism. For starters, let’s talk briefly about what it means to refer to one’s soul.

Oh my soul. To put it simply, your soul is your core being. For centuries theologians have debated whether we are made of 3 parts (mind, body/heart, soul) or 2 parts (body, soul/spirit) but however you decide to slice this, know that when Scripture speaks of the soul it is in reference to the core of a person. When Isaac was nearing death, he sent Esau out to prepare him his final meal so that his soul might bless Esau before he dies (Genesis 27:1-4 ESV). Such wording is to signify to Esau the seriousness of the matter. The opposite notion might be to give a blessing of lip-service only, or flattery. But no, Isaac was going to offer his best blessing to Esau. So when Esau learned that the blessing had been given to Jacob, we see Isaac’s response:

Genesis 27:33-38 (ESV) Then Isaac trembled very violently and said, “Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed.” As soon as Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me, even me also, O my father!” But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing.” Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.” Then he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” Isaac answered and said to Esau, “Behold, I have made him lord over you, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?” Esau said to his father, “Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.

So this is the seriousness with which we see the reference to blessing from our souls in Scripture. Of ourselves, we have very little blessing to bestow upon others… what we have we have received from the LORD. Isaac’s blessing is the Promise of God to his father, Abraham, that promise being the Messiah, the Christ, the Gospel of Salvation. Now, let’s talk about what the phrase “bless the LORD” indicates in Scripture.

Bless the LORD. Most often when we see this phrase throughout the old testament it is within the context of offering to the LORD praise and thanksgiving for what He has done. There is also a meaning of bending the knee to God in worship (בָּרַךְ Strongs H1288). Under the Mosaic covenant, there were offerings and sacrifices to be brought to the Temple in keeping with the Law. Such things might be done in an empty manner, but Blessing the LORD from the soul reflects the Greatest Commandment:

Matthew 22:36-40 (ESV) “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

In the New Covenant of Christ’s Blood, we have nothing to offer Him but thanksgiving and praise for what Christ has done for us. We bring nothing to our Salvation but the sin that made Salvation necessary. So, while the phrase “bless the LORD” appears in the Old Testament, we need to approach it through the lens of the New Testament, Christ revealed. A good place to look is in the book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 12:18-29 (ESV) A Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken

For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.

So, the refrain or chorus of this song is a call for Christians to bless (worship/praise/give thanks to) the LORD in earnest, in truth, and from their whole being. That is a Biblically sound call to Worship the LORD God in Spirit and in Truth.

John 4:22-24 (ESV) You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Such worship is only possible by Faith. The unbelievers cannot worship the LORD God in Spirit or in Truth. They are dead in sins and trespasses. Without faith, it is impossible to please God.

Possible pitfalls

The refrain “Bless the LORD oh my soul” is a call to worship God, but is in itself not much of a statement of praise or thanksgiving to the LORD. For those who are young in the faith, it is perfectly acceptable to start here, in the same way that “Lord, have mercy on me” is a perfectly valid and earnest prayer for help in times of need. But singing the one line over and over again falls short of actually doing what the song is calling the listener to do. The verses start to get going in the right direction of praising/thanking the LORD God for what He has done. Sadly, these verses are short and half of the verse ends up turning back onto what the singer is going to do for God (keep singing). The temptation to view worship as a down-payment on a future blessing rather than thanksgiving for what God has already done is a pitfall common to COWO. It is so pervasive in COWO that it needs to be directly addressed and guarded against overtly. We DO NOT worship God to invite Him to do something in our midst. That is how the pagans worship their idols.

The notion of blessing the LORD from the soul can get extremely fouled up in evangelical circles. Often times the emphasis on the concept of worshiping the LORD from the soul ends up being placed on the emotions, as if your emotions are the anchor point of your soul. Our emotions are part of us, but they are deeply rooted in our flesh, and as such are corrupted by our sinful flesh and serve as a pitiful litmus for faith, worship, and praise. Our emotions are easily manipulated and shaped by purely physical/fleshly means and methods (music, lighting, vocals, etc). In the charismatic camp, this notion is taken further into gnostic mysticism by teaching that worshiping in spirit and in truth necessitates disconnecting or quieting the mind and releasing self-control of the body to the moving of a spirit. That’s where you get the glossolalia (ecstatic gibberish), kundalini style herky-jerky and folks laughing/wailing uncontrollably or being “slain in the spirit” and other such ridiculous nonsense that is allowed and even encouraged in the name of “praise and worship service”. This song calls the congregation to worship but doesn’t actually lead in that worship… so you might hear this song being performed during a COWO service of an otherwise Orthodox church (please stop doing this, folks) and mean one thing while at the local big-box-evangelical-nondenom-charismatic it’s being played specifically to elicit a mystical experience.

Conclusion

As a call to worship the LORD God, the song does its job. Whether or not the song is good depends fully upon the doctrine and practice of worship being applied by the listener. I’d like to see/hear a worship leader write more theologically rich verses to accompany the song’s refrain. The lyric of our hymns and songs selected for corporate worship should inform and instruct in the faith, not merely tickle the emotions. If your church has a COWO service (a topic for another time, perhaps) this song could be used appropriately, provided the congregation has a solid grasp of acceptable Worship in light of the Gospel. If you are said worship leader, I encourage you to engage in writing stronger verses that focus more on thanksgiving and praise to the LORD rather than a string of promises of what we’ll do for Him.

Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV) Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

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