BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#594 - "Shoulders" by for KING & COUNTRY
Luke Smallbone talks about declaring these powerful truths even when circumstances and emotions tempt him to believe otherwise.
 


One of the most anticipated new releases from last year was for KING & COUNTRY's GRAMMY winning sophomore album, Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong. These singers of the hit songs "The Proof of Your Love," "Middle of Your Heart," "Busted Heart," "Hope is What We Crave," "Baby Boy" and "Fix My Eyes," which have all previously been featured as behind the song devotionals, are Luke and Joel Smallbone.
 
Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong., musically and lyrically, is certainly one of the most engaging albums of the past year. The album contains catchy and worshipful songs with lyrics that point to the wonders of our God, combined with sweeping melodies and infectious choruses that will be replayed in your mind over and over again. It was one of my top 10 albums of 2014
 
There is nothing cliché or false in anything this group does. I had the great opportunity to speak to Luke Smallbone in person before WinterJam about their catchy and convicting song "Shoulders."
 
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

This is one of the last songs we wrote for this album. It's funny how albums go. It's a little like a book. When you get through your book and you've got 10 or 11 chapters, but you know you're still missing a chapter, that's how it is with an album. We knew something was missing. We were out on the Casting Crowns tour, and we knew we needed another song. I started working with our producer on what is now "Shoulders." I kept getting stuck on "my help comes from You, You're right here pulling me through." That's how the song started.
 
The reason why those lyrics mean so much to me is because after everything I've gone through with the battle of my sickness, when you are at wits end and things aren't going the way you want them to, you have to ask yourself "where does my help come from?"
 
Sometimes you can't even state where your help comes from, and you have to verbalize that although you may not always see it— I'm going to declare that my help comes from You, God.
 
That song means a lot to me. My son likes to listen to the song a lot. When I hear the song I like to listen the whole way through as well, I think because it is based on Scripture, and when you hear Scripture back it is very powerful. It is one of those songs that encourages me like crazy.
 
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
 
Psalm 121 (NKJV): "I will lift up my eyes to the hills--From whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore."
 
John 3:11 (VOICE): I tell you the truth: we speak about the things we know, and we give evidence about the things we have seen, and you choose to reject the truth of our witness.
 
Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV): Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
 
2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV): For we walk by faith, not by sight.
 
Matthew 11:28 (NIV): Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
 
What is the takeaway message?
 
We always want our songs to have a never-ending hopefulness to them. We were recently out with Rick Warren, and he said that music has the chance to bypass the head and go directly to the heart. That's what makes music special.
 
Whether you know Jesus or don't know Jesus, "Shoulders," "Fix My Eyes" and "Without You" are examples of songs that even though they are dealing with tough situations, breed hopefulness. We want people to know that whatever they're going through, there is One pulling for you to make it through.
 
I've sensed that in my own life. We were expecting our next child while this song was being recorded, and we went through difficult situations that we had no answers for. When you go through anything traumatic in life, I feel like God gives you a story, and it's our obligation to share that story. A lot of us have a hard time sharing. Our society doesn't breed vulnerability. It is very much about locking away our feelings. We need to be honest, even though our brains have a way of blocking out pain. To be able to have songs that give hope is important for us.
 
Lyrics:
When confusion's my companion
And despair holds me for ransom
I will feel no fear
I know that You are near
When I'm caught deep in the valley
With chaos for my company
I'll find my comfort here
‘Cause I know that You are near

My help comes from You
You're right here, pulling me through
You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness all on Your shoulders
Your shoulders
My help comes from You
You are my rest, my rescue
I don't have to see to believe that You're lifting me up on Your shoulders
Your shoulders

You mend what once was shattered
And You turn my tears to laughter
Your forgiveness is my fortress
Oh Your mercy is relentless

My help is from You
Don't have to see it to believe it
My help is from You
Don't have to see it, ‘cause I know, ‘cause I know it's true

 
 
This album is a great collection of confessional and authentic expressions of faith. All of the songs are catchy, exciting and worshipful. What's most impressive is how these catchy songs will have you singing along at the top of your lungs after just a couple of listens. I am comforted through this song, knowing that Jesus carries our burdens of weakness, sickness and brokenness on His shoulders.
 
I recently read in a devotional study written by Jon Courson that the biblical word tekton, translated as "carpenter," to describe Joseph is the word we use for "finish" carpenter rather than a framer. Tradition has it that Jesus worked with Joseph as a carpenter who specialized in making yokes. When Jesus used the analogy of being our yoke, He was describing how He bears the greater weight and carries us along, on His shoulders. What a beautiful picture of our Savior.

Jesus has already paid the penalty for the weight of our sins by dying for them on the Cross. God can do immeasurably more than anything and everything one can ask or even imagine, and this song is a true celebration of the great biblical truth of "Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us" from Ephesians 3:20.
 
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. This song is an offer of true release that we can sing with all of our hearts to Jesus: "My help comes from You, You are my rest, my rescue, I don't have to see to believe that You're lifting me up on Your shoulders." Amen to that!

(Watch the band sing the song here.)



 

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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