We led the song “Humble Yourselves” yesterday from the upcoming “Stand Firm” project. I had so many encouraging comments on the power and intensity of this song. One gentlemen said he was still trembling from it after the service and came up and said that song needs to be recorded. I was happy to be able to tell him it was recorded at Epworth Camp and that he can get a copy of it in 2 weeks (Sunday, Jan. 26th)!
The song’s text is 1 Peter 5:5-11.
This passage is powerful, but arriving at this passage after 6 months studying 1 Peter carries even more weight. We will suffer. Life will get harder. Don’t try to take an easy way out. Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God so that he may exalt you the proper time (and not a moment earlier). The suffering will end. The pain will end. But in the mean time, allow God to use it as an instrument of humbling in your life. He will end the suffering. He will exalt you, but let it be on his timetable.
There is an enemy who wants to allow suffering to devour you. He doesn’t want you to finish this race well. Resist him. Stand firm. Know that you are not alone. The same suffering you are going through is being presently experienced by other Christians in the world. And your lifetime, even if you live to 120, is a brief moment compared to eternity. So don’t settle for a temporal moment of happiness forsaking the eternal promise God provides.
Since this song and “Shepherd the Flock” are linked together through the Scripture, we wanted to link them together somehow. 1 Peter 5:5 is used in both songs. It speaks of how elders must be humble before God, and then it moves to calling the entire church to be humble before God. We added a subtle connecting piece at the beginning of “Humble Yourselves” by having Leah Wilson play the melody line of “Shepherd the Flock” in the intro. The chords that I am playing on the hammered dulcimer are different than the previous song, but we just borrow the melody for the intro to connect the two pieces. It’s those kind of details that we realize not everyone will pick up but we honestly feel like it is a sacrifice of praise (Heb. 13:15; Ps. 50:14) to lead music in an excellent manner (Ps. 33:3).
The Scripture is intense; therefore, the song needed to be intense. The chorus was written first as a call and response section simply singing through the NASB version of verse 6. How can we come up with better words than God’s? The remainder of the song consisted of two stanzas with a total of 4 content lines that came from the different verses around the Scripture:
“Our God is opposed to the proud but He gives grace to the humble” (v.5)
“I will cast all my cares upon Him for I know that He cares for me” (v. 7)
“There’s an enemy that roars like a lion seeking someone to destroy” (v. 8)
“But there’s a King who has promised His returning, and then my suffering will finally be through” (v. 9-11)
We wanted the song to be very subdued until the last line above. So the key, voicing, and arrangement all had to work towards that moment in the song. We made the “enemy” line very dark and low and then made the “King” line huge and triumphant. When you get to that point in the song, it feels like the roof is taking flight.
Ted Collins and Richenda Brown did such a great job taking the vision of this song and vocalizing the power and strength of these words. Peggy McHugh and John Kennerly also added so much richness on their vocals.
I am so appreciative for the kind words concerning this song and can’t wait to sing it more with you.
We are releasing the live worship album on January 26th, until then though, you can listen to the recording of it from last Sunday at church around the 63 minute mark.