Raise a Hallelujah, (Good, Bad & Ugly)

By S.C. Shaw

I started a series of blogs where I will investigate various worship songs and talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of what we are singing in church. With that being said, I don’t want these blogs to be seen as a high and mighty naysayer giving his opinion. So let me say this, most of these songs we sing and will continue to sing in my church. I may change or add things to have a clear conscience about leading them, but not all are “all bad”, but I feel the need to give a voice to the unclear. And I pray this influences more leaders to pic songs more intentionally. What we sing in church matters. 

First and foremost, we must always ask the questions: “How does this song help the Word of God dwell richly within me?” And “Does this song glorify God in Biblical truth?”

Song lyrics in full:

Raise a Hallelujah

I raise a hallelujah, in the presence of my enemies
I raise a hallelujah, louder than the unbelief
I raise a hallelujah, my weapon is a melody
I raise a hallelujah, heaven comes to fight for me

I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm
Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar
Up from the ashes, hope will arise
Death is defeated, the King is alive!

I raise a hallelujah, with everything inside of me
I raise a hallelujah, I will watch the darkness flee
I raise a hallelujah, in the middle of the mystery
I raise a hallelujah, fear you lost your hold on me!

I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm
Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar
Up from the ashes, hope will arise
Death is defeated, the King is alive!

Sing a little louder (In the presence of my enemies)
Sing a little louder (Louder than the unbelief)
Sing a little louder (My weapon is a melody)
Sing a little louder (Heaven comes to fight for me)

I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm
Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar
Up from the ashes, hope will arise
Death is defeated, the King is alive!

The Good:

I love this idea of feeling confident and unbreakable by the power of God. That’s true and awesome. God gives us a peace beyond the understanding of the world. Living like Christ, looks like the opposite of what most the world does in most areas of life. The hope and prayer here is that we aren’t attempting to do all these powerful works on our own power. Just because we have the Spirit of God in us if we believe, doesn’t mean we are great, but God alone is great. On our own we have no power, hope or help. But when we rely on and trust in God, then He can take care of anything. And then we have a joy to rejoice in and able to sing a song like this. All glory to God.

The Bad:

I have heard this song explained in a way that relates it to the story of Jericho in the Bible. That makes sense, but also isn’t clear in that way at all. I heard this song 100 times and never thought Jericho nor ever heard it explained like that from the stage. This is a problem. Most shallow Christians are going to walk away from that song and feel strong and powerful in their own minds. That’s not ok. It is in God alone that we have any power. So, the song isn’t clear in its meaning. It’s too self-focused. This song isn’t saying much. I am not learning anything about God nor am I ever thinking of Him during the song. “The King is alive!” is the one-time God is mentioned. And even that is vague. 

The Ugly:

This is side by side with the bad. But this song would be 50% better with just a couple revises. Here’s one, “My weapon is a melody”. This line could be made true through some real explaining. But it would be so easy to sing instead, “My weapon is Your Word in me”. Now we have the right focus. We are putting the glory back to where it belongs. Keeping the main thing the main thing. Us, singing louder than the unbelief or hearing my praises roar means nothing. Music is powerful, don’t get me wrong. I teach the power of music to people daily. But music has nothing compared to God. Our song has nothing if it’s not glorifying to God. If Christ isn’t exalted, then we have failed with that song and thought. This song has failed in that. 

The Point:

Why does this matter? Because what we sing in church is just as important as what is said behind the pulpit. Some people might disagree with that. But all that means is, you’re saying, we are allowed to be vague, unclear or even false in our words as long as we are singing them. That’s not right or helpful to the Kingdom. Some worship leaders whole goal is to help the congregation feel something during the singing. That’s not our job or should it be our goal. The goal of the worship service, as a whole (Singing, praying, preaching) is to help the Word of God dwell within the hearers richly. The Holy Spirit does not need our help. Nor should our desire be stroking the comforts of non-Christians or baby believers. It does no one any good to leave your church feeling warm and fuzzy and not have a better understanding of who God is or what His Word says. Beholding God’s glory more is the only thing that will have lasting change in our life. The Sunday morning feeling will fade and you’ll get those same feelings by the next concert you attend. Don’t seek an experience, seek Christ. Everything else is worthless. 


Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the Bible, read Gospel-saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the Bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology”, read the 1689 London Baptist confession of faith and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!


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