Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Heart of Worship Tuesday: Blessed Be Your Name

We all go through difficult times. We all go through good times. Yet, through it all, God is there with us
“Blessed Be Your Name” is a more recent worship song. It was written in 2001 by Christian recording artist, Matt Redman. He penned it a few weeks after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. In his book of the same name as the song, he notes that:
 “For the few weeks following those attacks, church attendance went up dramatically…It wasn’t written consciously in response to those dark events-but no doubt, being immersed in the spiritual and emotional climate of those days was an important factor in birthing it…It’s really a song born out of the whole of life-a realization that we will all face seasons of pain or unease. And in these seasons we will need to find our voices before God.” (1)

This song is full of imagery, much inspired by the book of Job. In the first verse it states:
“Blessed be Your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name!”

Blessed be Your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be Your name!”

In the bible, good times were often correlated with times of ‘plenty’. This meant that lots of food was growing. People were happy and had what they needed and more. In times of famine, food wouldn’t grow and the economy went bad. Today is no different. We go through periods of things going well, and other times not so much.

In the second half of the first verse, it talks about going through the desert and the wilderness. The desert is dry and many times void of food. It is often hot. It is easy to become tired and weary.

 In a wilderness, it can be easy to get confused and lost. There is nobody, except animals-some which could kill you.

The children of Israel, as a result of their sin, wandered in the wilderness for 40 years before God let them into the Promised Land. We can also see a parallel of how our own sin can plunge us into difficult times. Yet, God is forgiving and patient. (1 Romans 2:4, John 1:9.)

God’s love is abundant, and just knowing that He is in control gives us comfort.
The next verse says this:
“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

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Tho there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name.”

There are times in our lives when things will be great. There is “sunshine” in our lives, so to speak. It is easy to praise and serve God during these times and to be thankful. But so many things can take us by surprise and derail our lives. Whether it be loss of a loved one, illness, broken relationships, accidents, or the loss of a job. All these things can come in and choke out our sunshine. We may begin to feel hopeless and uncertain.

As the song says, “though there’s pain in the offering, blessed be Your name.”  There are going to be times when it is difficult to serve God. It is so hard to give our all when our hearts are broken. The person is saying that, despite the fact they are in a rough patch, they are still going to give anyway.

Romans 5: 3-5 says, “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Our trials and tribulations, if we let them, can help us grow spiritually. When we give it everything we have, even in the most difficult of times, we will be blessed.

Job exemplified this. Despite the fact that he lost his wealth, his home, his family, and his health, he still praised God. (Job 1:21.) There are going to be times that bad things happen to us. It won’t make any sense. But in the end, He can use it for good, such as the case with Joseph when his brothers sent him into slavery. (Genesis 50:20.) We can come out of it and be stronger than before. 

In the chorus we have this line:
“Every blessing You pour out
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord…”

No matter where we find ourselves in life, we should look to God. We should patiently wait through every trial and tribulation.  We should strive to give God the praise as Job did: “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. BLESSED be the name of the Lord!”

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