Choosing to Praise: “Blessed Be Your Name” Song Analysis

Matt Redman wrote “Blessed Be Your Name” with his wife Beth in response to the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks in the United States. It reflects on the faithful response to suffering we see all throughout Scripture, especially from Job: praise.

Blessing the Lord amid suffering

“Blessed Be Your Name” is nearly a direct quote of Job 1:21. Job was a godly man to whom the Lord had given a large family and many possessions. But in just one day Job suffered four devastating losses, wherein all his children were killed and his belongings either stolen or destroyed. Job’s response was astounding:

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

This is a tough pill to swallow. Praising God in the midst of suffering? While many songs avoid connecting the dots between a sovereign God and the suffering we face, “Blessed Be Your Name” boldly charges into this challenging and deeply personal, biblical territory—and calls this God glorious! This is worship—to give our lives over to God and trust Him completely even when we don’t fully understand.

But how can we do otherwise? If God is all-powerful and also entirely good, then we can praise Him in every season of our lives, because He is still on the throne and still working all things for our good.

Lyrical analysis

The song’s theme is precious to Redman because it’s about choosing to worship the Lord:

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

This word “choose” in the chorus carries strong implications. It reveals that worship is both a heart attitude and a practice. We will bless something; that is to say, we will exalt and set apart something in our hearts as holy. The practice part is to choose what or whom to worship.

In the midst of suffering, we often choose to worship ourselves and fall into a spiral of self-pity (which is a backwards sort of pride). Or we may worship the hope of escape, or even the life we had before the suffering began.

But all of these are devastatingly empty. Comfort is found in Jesus, the Man of Sorrows. Only he can sustain us in suffering, give us full life despite our circumstances, and save us from death itself. As Psalm 16:10 says, “You will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.”
What can suffering do to us if Jesus is for us? At worst, kill us, but death is only a passageway to eternal life, where every tear is wiped away and where, as C.S. Lewis put it, “all the sad things [come] untrue.”

Through any circumstance in life—whatever you’re going through—find a way to worship our glorious God. As Paul says, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18).

Musical analysis

The music itself is quite simple, with a four-chord progression that repeats through the entire song. It’s easy for a church band of any skill level to play.

The melody starts at its lowest point during the verses, which helps portray a more somber mood. It rises a little higher during the prechorus, introducing a more hopeful tone that matches the lyric “Every blessing You pour out I’ll turn back to praise.” Then the chorus lands at the melody’s highest point, giving emphasis to the exclamation “Blessed be your name.”

Final thoughts

“Blessed Be Your Name” represents a response to suffering that may not feel natural but is nonetheless faithful. And the more we worship God in and out of suffering, the more we form a response of praise in any circumstance.

That’s what drove Matt and Beth Redman as they wrote the song:

‘Blessed Be Your Name’ stems from the story of our lives. Both Beth and I had tough upbringings—a lot of different issues to do with fathers—and over the years we’ve come to realize that worshiping God is a choice, and the best choice we’ll ever make.

This is a guest post by music professionals Cody Norris and Stephen Folden. Photo by Juan Carlos Pablo on Unsplash.


Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s ‘all as it should be’
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name
You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

Written by
Matthew Boffey

Matthew Boffey (MDiv, Trinity International University) is the pastor of worship at Christ Church Bellingham. He is also editor-in-chief of Ministry Team magazine, has edited several books, and has written for several blogs and publications, including Relevant online, the Logos blog, and the Faithlife blog.

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Written by Matthew Boffey