Behind The Song “Bellows of Praise” by Daniel Bashta with Kevin Davis
Critically acclaimed songwriter, artist and missionary Daniel Bashta, best known for writing “God’s Not Dead (Like a Lion),” “Seas of Crimson,” “Praise the Invisible,” “Let Hope In” and “Pursuit,” released My Resurrection (Live) on March 10. Some of the new songs on the live worship recording were inspired by hymns, including “Drenched in Love” and “Bellows of Praise.”
Bashta says, “Our songs are a little more progressive, but there’s something so powerful and timeless about singing these hymns. The way hymns are crafted…the verses are so strong and poetic, they take you on a journey; and the chorus gets everybody singing together and proclaiming the works and glory of God. I wanted to record a project that highlighted those songs and the power of healing that they contain. Here we are today. We have a song on the new record called ‘Bellows of Praise’ and it sings ‘I was dead in my grave but You swallowed my plague. You poured out Your blood for my resurrection.’ Everything about this record is about fresh life and resurrection power.” I had the chance to speak with Daniel about “Bellows of Praise.”
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
There’s been a hymn explosion in my life. Hymns have been around forever, and I feel like in the beginning stages of my songwriting, I was trying to be so progressive and trying to come up with something wild and progressive, like what John the Baptist would sing, which is awesome and I still love that. As I’ve grown as a person, father, and songwriter, I’m seeing that hymns have stood the test of time and there is something special and timeless about them, which is why we still sing hymns. We can all sing our own version of “How Great Thou Art,” and there’s still something special about the song. I think there’s a spirit about hymns and maybe because many of these were old songs that were sung to bar tunes and introduced to the church. The church tends to wade away from bar tunes, and for me I started writing this song and the Scripture that fits the vein of the song the most is from Isaiah 53. Surely He took our pain and bore our suffering, and He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. The chorus is simple, and we sing numerous times together and there’s something mystical about the verses. We have a doxology theology journey to the verses and we thought about the idea of this journey together, and in this song in addition to thinking about the journey, we proclaim the greatness of God.
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
Hebrews 4:14-16 (NKJV): "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
Isaiah 53:5 (NIV): “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.”
Jude 1:24-25 (NKJV): "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen."
Matthew 28:6 (NKJV): "He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay."
Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV): "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."
Romans 8:11 (VOICE): “If the Spirit of the One who resurrected Jesus from the dead lives inside of you, then you can be sure that He who raised Him will cast the light of life into your mortal bodies through the life-giving power of the Spirit residing in you.”
What is the takeaway message?
In a lot of new songs that I’ve been writing, rather than trying to be so progressive all of the time, I’ve been realizing that there’s something powerful in the corporate mainframe about us singing a simple and powerful truth together. For “Bellows of Praise,” we sing “let it be Jesus, only Jesus, all that I am, all that’s within, let it be Jesus.” That’s a simple chorus, and there are other songs that sing “let it be Jesus,” but for me the words “all that I am, all that’s within,” no matter how small or how great or how many dreams that we have or what wild things happen in our lives, everything goes back to Jesus. We are all at different stages of life and have different dreams and operate in our own stratospheres and for me, if it all points back to Jesus, that’s all that matters. No matter what we accomplish in our lives, small or great, the reality is that if we are proclaiming “let it be Jesus” in our families, in our marriages, in our workplaces, and in our communities, that’s all that matters. Everything that I’m about, I want it to point back to Jesus. I love singing the song at our church, and I love proclaiming that everything is going back to Jesus. Whether we are in a valley, or on a mountaintop, in a famine or a feast, it’s all going back to “let it be Jesus.”
Oceans of love could never contain
All of Your love forever untamed
With one final breath You vanquished my death
And laid to rest all my transgressions
There in the tomb broken and bruised
For every disease all heaven broke through
I was dead in my grave but You swallowed my plague
You poured out Your blood for my resurrection
Let it be Jesus
All that I am
All that’s within
Let it be Jesus
When I breathe my last and death is no more
Trumpets will sound to carry me home
What joy there will be when I see Your face
With shouts of triumph and bellows of praise
I love the sincerity and humility of this song. I sing it at the top of my lungs with “bellows of praise” in awe of my Savior and King, Jesus. Worship is really about submission and our roles as worshippers are really defined in this song, which is to just be amazed and in awe of the power of the Cross, and pray fervently for the God's presence. All we can do is submit to Him and give everything we have to Him. I love singing this song back to Jesus and telling Him plainly that I need no other than Him. I realize that Jesus commands us to trust God completely no matter the circumstances or personal distractions or concerns. The song represents life, and includes some great challenges to step out in faith and trust in God even when you want to give up or can't see where you're going.
“Bellows of Praise” offers an invitation for worshippers and the song reflects my hearts cry to be in the presence of Jesus. This is a wonderful song to sing in order to prepare your heart for Easter, and it is one of the many highlights of this album's offerings of praise and worship. My Resurrection is loaded with meaningful and moving songs for the Church. This song is very convicting and a sobering reminder that God brings trials to remind us how much we need Him.
This song and album also give many glimpses of the authentic reality of life and our experiences, good and bad. Things don't go as we want or even how we pray for God to work in our lives. The message of this song challenges listeners to think about our own doubts and how Jesus calls us to rely on Him and the power of His resurrection, to remember that He has overcome death and fear. That's cause to celebrate!
With this song, there is a gorgeous combination of the reverence of every word being directed vertically, and inspired biblically, to our God who is immeasurably more than we can imagine. I sing this song to God in my daily worship and devotional time bowing my heart to Him. Sing with all of your hearts: “For every disease all heaven broke through, I was dead in my grave but You swallowed my plague, You poured out Your blood for my resurrection.” Amen to that!
Watch Daniel lead the song: