Higher Than I #3: Higher Than I

Higher Than I

Higher Than I is the second and titular track of the Clayton Church worship album, officially launched on Sunday 1 May. It is the second song in this blog series because the first article (Wonderful Cross) was aligned to the preview video shared and released in the lead up to the official album launch.

Album Tracks/Index

  1. Praise to the Lord Almighty
  2. Higher Than I (This article)
  3. Blessed Assurance
  4. Great is Your Love
  5. You Are 
  6. How Majestic
  7. I Desire
  8. Breathe on Me
  9. What A Friend We Have In Jesus
  10. Wonderful Cross
  11. Summary / One Month Review

Official Links

Background & Lyric Analysis

The basis for this song is Psalm 61:1-2.

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

The key focus of the verse is on the last part – lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Such a simple command – God should take His place. In essence, we need to worship and look to God. Since He is Higher, we just needed to point to Him, the One who is Higher than all of us. The metaphor of a rock that is higher than ourselves is one of security, where it is a location that we cannot reach without God’s help. Throughout 2015, Clayton Church was suffering from hardships and our community of faith were in-tune with the desire of connecting with God as one who would lead us into that place of security, dwelling in His presence.

Verses 1 & 2 above feature quite prominently and directly in the song – specifically verse 1:

Hear my cry O God
Listen to my prayer
From the end of the earth
I’ll cry to You

Psalm teaches us to cry out to Him. Verses 3 & 4 are loosely tied to verse 2. Compare the words of the Psalm:

For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings

against the lyrics of verse 2:

You’re my help in trouble
You’re my safe refuge
You are Lord Messiah
My Saviour

The chorus is really the declaration from verses 2 & 3 combined:

Lead me to the Rock
Higher than I
For You have been
A shelter for me

The second chorus adds on to these lyrics with three additional lines:

Lead me to the Rock
Higher than I
For You have been
A shelter for me
I will ever sing
Praises to Your name
Forevermore, day after day

which are a reference to verse 8 of Psalm 61:

Then I will ever sing in praise of your name fulfill my vows day after day.

The biblical foundation behind the bridge lyrics can be traced to Deuteronomy 33:12:

Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.

In our modern-day bridge we sing “protected” as a synonym of the actual word in the verse above – shield.

In Your name, I’m beloved
In Your praise, I’m protected
For all You’ve done for me
I’ll praise You

All in all, this song was the collaboration of four members of the worship band. Our worship director (guitar/drums/vocals), plus two electric guitarists with a keyboardist. These skills and talents also are reflected in the musical development and progression of the song itself. In the opening introduction, the riff of the electric guitar is quite prominent in setting the pace and rhythm. As a song, the pace is fast (128 beats per minute), with the drums and electric guitar riffs driving it throughout. Set in the key of A, the introduction chord progression is reused for the instrumental in between the second chorus and bridge.

The original song arrangement is thus:

  1. Verse 1
  2. Verse 2
  3. Chorus
  4. Verse 1
  5. Verse 2
  6. Chorus 2
  7. Instrumental
  8. Bridge (repeated 2-3 times)
  9. Chorus

As part of teaching the song in church, the only variation to this default arrangement is to repeat Verse 1 & 2 a second time before singing the chorus.