Sunday, February 8, 2009

"Give us clean hands" doesn't give us a Christ or a cross

7/14/2011: I'M RECONSIDERING WHAT I HAVE SAID IN THE POST BELOW
Ht: Anonymous comment from a couple of days ago.


Give Us Clean Hands by Matt Redman and Charlie Hall

This song lacks Christ and Him crucified.

We are powerless to do all of the good things proposed in the song. Our hearts are idol factories. And we can have none of this without Christ's death on the cross, his burial and resurrection and our repentance and faith in Him.

Yes, we need the Spirit to make us humble, but first we need Him to regenerate us and give us faith in Christ.

It seems that here "the law" isn't so bad and "the gospel" isn't so sweet.

Michael Horton in Modern Reformation Magazine says
The church exists in order to change the subject from us and our deeds to God and his deeds of salvation, from our various "missions" to save the world to Christ's mission that has already accomplished redemption. If the message that the church proclaims makes sense without conversion; if it does not offend even lifelong believers from time to time, so that they too need to die more to themselves and live more to Christ, then it is not the gospel.
Give Us Clean Hands by Matt Redman and Charlie Hall
We bow our hearts, we bend our knees
Oh Spirit come make us humble
We turn our eyes from evil things
Oh Lord we cast down our idols

So give us clean hands and give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another
Oh give us clean hands and give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another

Oh God let this be a generation that seeks
Who seeks Your face, oh God of Jacob
Oh God let us be a generation that seeks
Who seeks Your face, oh God of Jacob

We bow our hearts, we bend our knees
Oh Spirit come make us humble
We turn our eyes from evil things
Oh Lord we cast down our idols

So give us clean hands and give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another
Give us clean hands, oh God and give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another

Oh God let us be a generation that seeks
Who seeks Your face, oh God of Jacob
Oh God let us be a generation that seeks
Who seeks Your face, oh God of Jacob

Oh God of Jacob
(Give us clean hands)

So give us clean hands and give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another
Give us clean hands, oh God and give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another

Oh God let us be a generation that seeks
Who seeks Your face, oh God of Jacob
Oh God let us be a generation that seeks
Who seeks Your face, oh God of Jacob

Oh God of Jacob
Oh God of Jacob

Give us clean hands and give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another
Give us clean hands, oh God and give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another

Oh God let us be a generation that seeks
Who seeks Your face, oh God of Jacob
Oh God let us be a generation that seeks
Who seeks Your face, oh God of Jacob

Oh God of Jacob

10 comments:

Rich said...

Hello! Just found the site! It seems you and I have a bit of the same mind when it comes to (what I like to call) sound doxology.

I totally agree with you about the song lacking Christ and Him crucified and if this was the only song sang (or sang with other songs of similar shallowness) then I'd say, argument over.

However, there is still biblical truth in the song. I am a worship leader and consider very seriously the lyrics of many songs we sing as the people of God. A couple of Sunday's ago I used this song sandwiched in between two Christ exalting songs. Not only that, before we began singing I read from the Psalm in which the song quotes (can't remember right off hand) and then proceeded to explain that those who worship the true God worship him with clean hands and a pure heart, but the problem is, is that none of us have either. It is only by the shed blood of Christ and his righeousness that covers us that allows us into the presence of God.

With those boundries laid it then becomes an appropriate response for the people of God.

But I do agree, standing alone, nix it!

Holly said...

I wonder, do we have to present the entire gospel and all of its facets in each and everyone song we lead? We're in Church...the place where you should find people who know by Whose power they are singing. It would be hard to mix in every piece of doctrine into every song and furthermore, if we did...it'd just be the same song over and over again. I am all for making Christ first in worship, but I am also for variety and expressing different points in different songs. Why not sing this song as well as somthing like "At the Cross" in your worship set?

Anonymous said...

Psalm 24.
1 The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.

3 Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.[a]

5 They will receive blessing from the LORD
and vindication from God their Savior.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, God of Jacob.[b][c]

This song is about the true worshippers of God.

Corner Creature said...

Dear anonymous,

Point well taken. The song follows the psalm.

Thank you for pointing this out to me.

Rich Tuttle said...

I don't think you need to readjust your thinking on this. The song truly does lack Christ and the cross. Like I said (a few years back!) the song does contain biblical truth, but it needs to be sung in a context of Christ and the cross so that we aren't left wondering how our hearts and hands are made clean.

So even though the words are a reflection of a psalm, we should still use discernment when we select our songs for congregational singing. If we were to only sing through the Psalms in our gathered worship, we would indeed be singing truth...but how is singing Psalms different from a Jewish congregation that sings Psalms and yet denies Jesus is the Christ?

Our worship needs to be Christian, and our songs need to reflect it. If our songs can comfortably be sung by people who deny Christ then we need to 1) explicitly teach how Christ is glorified through that song or 2) nix it!

Jasmine said...

Hello,
After we sang this song, I feel like I have to say something. What irks me is the line, "Give us clean hands, give us pure hearts".

If we take a look at Isaiah 1:16, it says: "Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong."

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God will give us clean hands. He asks that we be cleansed before coming before Him. We are to flee from evil and seek what is right.

PastorTodd said...

This song is take from scripture. In Ephesians 5:19 Paul tells us to address one another with psalms, hymns, spiritual song. This song is a psalm, so I am not sure it is fair to call it theologically unsound.

It is a cry out to God for redemption and restoration. It is us declaring that we are casting down our idols and every form of self-righteousness because the only path to righteousness and purity is through God. Yes it does not mention the cross or Christ, but what Biblical psalms do? This song is still pointing us to God as the only way for salvation.

99 Problems said...

I just found this, and where does this kind of nitpicking and criticism come from? It certainly isn't biblical - not ever verse, nor every song, nor even every book contains Christ or the cross.

This kind of sniping against brothers and sisters is terribly destructive in the church. it makes me sad.

- Jason Wilcoxon

EmmyLuvsJesus said...

I am baffled by your post belittling this song. I think it is obvious that anyone singing this song probably has the fundamental salvation experience. Why else would they be singing this? At some point folks need to get past the cross and press on to maturity. (Before you gasp and faint, read Paul's letters). Your blog wreaks of a religious spirit. Yuck. "Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?" I believe the answer is found in this beautiful worship song. As others have suggested, I think if there is any "confusion", a solid worship leader knows how to select songs that give both-- the Gospel message (cross/salvation) and songs that spur us on to maturity and deeper intimacy. I need a shower now.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I just stumbled upon this site and after reading the commentary, I am just sad that such a beautiful worship song, based on Gods word, that does nothing but Glorify God and ask his blessings, a prayer in song as such, is attacked with a jihadist spirit. The Day of the Lord is fast approaching.....good luck, you are going to need it, and the mercy of God......
Jimbo 77