Monday, June 15, 2009

Trust and Obey - Hymns

Does anyone know of any decent (and by "decent" I mean musically and lyrically decent) hymns or choruses about obedience, faithfulness, and fidelity to God? The only one I can think of is "Trust and Obey" which gets sung over and over whenever there is an obedience/faithfulness message in the sermon. We need more songs about the obedient life. I think this is a real gap in modern Christian worship music; at least in the stuff I'm exposed to. I would try write such a song myself, but my last music writing venture went:

Jesus, I think you're terrific
For you I'd swim the pacific
Yeah, yeah, yeah!
(To be sung twelve times with two notes and three chords as per the Hillsong style guide).


Marty Foord said...

Hey Mike, those lyrics are NOT me-centred enough (per the Hillsong lyric guide). Perhaps:

Jesus, you make me feel terrific,
It's like I'm swimming in the pacific.
Me, me, me!

Steven Coxhead said...

Anything based on Pss 1, 15, 19, or 119 would definitely fit that theme. Blessed Is the Man by Michael Baughen comes to mind as a good one.

Jim Hamilton said...

Check this out:



gullchasedship said...

Jamie Soles will have some material. His latest album on the Psalms is good (see

The Franks said...

How about "Over all the earth" by Brenton Brown:


Over all the earth
You reign on high
Every mountain stream every sunset sky
But my one request Lord my only aim
Is that You'd reign in me again

Lord reign in me
Reign in Your power
Over all my dreams
In my darkest hour
You are the Lord of all I am
So won't You reign in me again

Over every thought
Over every word
May my life reflect the beauty of my Lord
'Cause You mean more to me than any earthly thing
So won't You reign in me again

John Mark said...

Take My Life and Let it Be

It'a a hillsong, maybe goes with the theme. From the Inside Out. People love it.

Mike S. said...

"All to Jesus I Surrender" is a good one.

For chords on the guitar, check:

Eilidh said...

I absolutely agree with Jim, fantastic hymn.

Ben Myers said...

"The Servant King" doesn't actually use the word 'obedience', but it's got a good theology of obedience (i.e., human faithfulness as a response to the faithfulness of Christ).

Mick Porter said...

I'm not quite getting how we could sing something based on Psalm 119 without applying additional interpretation - assuming the law was intended for one ethnic group and for one period of history?

Steven Coxhead said...

Hi Mick,

For Christians singing Ps 119 is the same as reading Ps 119. The truths still apply to us but christologically. In other words, just as the psalmist could sing about the wonders of the revelation given to him via Moses (the law of Moses), we can sing the wonders of the revelation given to us in Jesus (the law of Christ/the gospel). So as long as its sung with that kind of christological transformation in mind, I can't see any problem with using Ps 119 in song.

Simone R. said...

Jesus, I wanna live your way
yay yay yay
every day
I wanna live your way

This I pray
That I may
Live your way
every day
yay yay yay
yay yay yay

Will that do?

Simone R. said...

But seriously, I don't think we've got those songs to sing because they are so hard to write. Really hard.

Mick Porter said...

Hi Steven,

I certainly get that - to some extent. But I wonder:
a) How many people are going to apply that transformation without it being explicitly part of the community's conversation.
b) Whether the parallel between law and gospel is the right one anyway. Isn't there a closer relationship between law and Spirit? One powerless, the other potent?

Phil said...

Rob Smith's song "I can trust you in the darkness" comes to mind. It's very moving, and was written after the death of his dad. It's available from Emu Music Australia.

Steven Coxhead said...

Hi Mick,

Keep in mind that all Scripture (which was the OT in Paul's day) is useful for training in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16). I can't see how putting parts of the OT to music changes that principle. Hopefully the necessary christological hermeneutical updating is something that will be taught in our churches as the way by which we are to apply the OT (whether read or sung) in a Christian context.

About the law/gospel parallel, the OT prophets looked forward to the new covenant when torah was going to be written on the heart (Jer 31:33). It just so happens that this new covenant torah is the gospel. Paul clearly viewed the gospel as being this eschatological revelation/torah that the OT prophets looked forward to (Rom 10:6-8). Perhaps you can read an article I did on Paul's interpretation of Deut 30:11-14. See “Deuteronomy 30:11–14 as a Prophecy of the New Covenant in Christ,” Westminster Theological Journal 68 (2006): 305–20.

The psalmist experienced life by having the Mosaic installment of God's word in his heart, just as we experience life by having the supreme form of God's word in our heart in Christ. I think it's a pretty good parallel.

Mick Porter said...

Hi Steven,

Just to let you know that I did indeed read your article on Deut 30:11-14. Nice work :-)

I do get the parallels between the psalmist's experience and ours. But missiologically, the law also became a hindrance - a divider between Jew and Gentile. So the new covenant doesn't just bring something better (of which the law is a shadow) but also something different (toward which the law is now hostile).

Just having trouble picturing Paul writing Galatians and then singing "Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day".

Steven Coxhead said...

Hi Mick,

Glad that you found the article helpful. I definitely agree that after his conversion Paul would no longer have been able to sing Ps 119 in the traditional Jewish manner. But as for the torah of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus? Maybe he sung it to a different tune, but I could imagine him singing about that torah with gusto.

ros said...

Mick, did you listen to the previous podcast from Mike on singing the psalms? Lots of helpful stuff in there.

Mick Porter said...

Thanks Ros, I'll check out the podcast.