Sound and Meaning (Ben)

I’d like to delve into songs I’ve been listening to lately, so expect this to be a long running series with both great music and poor choices.

Music is powerful and influential. It’s ability to allow us to express ourselves (in worship, emotion…) is only surpassed by it’s power to teach. Songs teach actively. That’s why songs which not only communicate truth, but the most important truth, are uniquely powerful. Songs that continue to teach us the gospel are the most powerful songs.

Lately, I’ve been listening to a particular song daily.  I use it as my approach to God and my approach to the day. I listen to it, play it on the guitar and sing it, pray it… each day after the morning routine (wake up, workout, breakfast, shower..) and before my time with God or leaning into work. It helps me to frame my perspective on the day and on my position as a child of God (adopted, for those at THIRSTY this past weekend).

The song itself is not the power, only the message it communicates. It is an incredible vehicle for preaching and teaching me the gospel once more so that once more I can put on the new life and walk in the light. Its something that I must do every day, otherwise, the day is spent in my own power for my own means. Can you relate?

The song is titled “Quietly” and is written/performed by Daniel Renstrom, whom most everyone unfortunately does not know. His style is simple, but communicates the doctrines of the gospel more clearly than almost every artist out there. What they lack in emotional drive, they make up in soul reviving content.

Here are the lyrics

Quietly we come before Your presence here today, Agreeing with the Spirit as we come. And rags of filth are all we have when asked to bring our best, We claim nothing but Your righteousness

And we come to You Father Because of what He’s done. By Jesus our sacrifice was made. And we enter in Your presence Singing only by the Lamb and grafted we stand in awe of You again

So here we are this body crying out to You today, Our need of mercy once again is large. We know that You are the only one who can satisfy our hearts, Oh bind us like a fetter once again 

The doctrine this speaks is life-giving. Here are a some of the highlights to me as I mull through it each time..

“Filthy Rags are all I have when asked to bring my best”

All my best is nothing but filthy rags- I am wholly unable to gain merit before a holy God. But, I can claim the very righteousness of Jesus as my own because he gave it to me at salvation! (Isa. 64:6- all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment, Eph. 2:8-9- not of works, so that no one can boast)

“We come to you father because of what He’s done… We enter your presence singing only by the Lamb”

We can go to God in prayer, worship, singing- talking to Him in His presence- because of the work of Jesus, the Lamb of God, paying for our sins, giving us righteousness and serving as our Great High Priest. (Heb. 4:16- let us with confidence draw near to the throne of grace)

“Grafted we stand in awe of You again”

We, people not from the nation of Israel, a nation God had revealed himself to in special ways for centuries, have been grafted into God’s plan, God’s work, God’s power. Its both a wonder and a fearful responsibility. Its refreshing to realize God has been at work for centuries and we are only a part of His universal story. (Rom. 11:11-24- you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others)

“So here we are this body crying out to You today, Our need of mercy once again is large”

I approach God in the same way as our whole church, the Bride- standing only in grace. And always able to find mercy, though desperately wicked. (Jer. 17:9- the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicket, Lam. 3:23- Your mercies are new every morning, great is Your Faithfulness)

“Oh bind us like a fetter once again”

A reference to the classic hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” echoes the yearning of my heart: ‘I know that you are the best thing for me- the only thing that can bring joy and meaning- so just keep me walking in your ways!’

Daniel Renstrom can be found on itunes and http://danielrenstrom.com

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