The focus at the 2023 Dove Awards was on celebrating gospel music in all its forms, but two artists, Lauren Daigle and Tauren Wells used the occasion to address the war between Israel and Hamas, which has been dominating news coverage for the past two weeks.
The Dove Awards were taped on Tuesday Oct. 17, at Allen Arena on the Lipscomb University campus in Nashville. But the thoughts of many there, and around the world, were on events 6,446 miles away. The current crisis began on Oct. 7 when Hamas militants launched a series of surprise attacks on Israeli territory from Gaza, killing defense personnel and civilians and taking hostages.
“In light of what has happened in Israel this week, our eyes need to be opened to what He might be calling us to,” said Daigle, 32, who won her 12th Dove Award that night for best short-form music video of the year (concept) for “Thank God I Do.”
“We have the hope of eternity and the good news of the Gospel,” she added. “We aren’t bringing in messages that tear and divide, we’re bringing in messages that remind people of their worth, that remind children they are valuable and belong in society and remind people that they have something that only God can fulfill. We get to tell them that He is the Great I Am. That He is above the times. That He is the source of hope compared to nothing else this world has to offer. There is nothing as great. He is the light of the world. He is the light of men. He is the bread of life.”
Wells, 37, a five-time Dove Award winner in years past, was more extensive in his remarks.
“The difficulties that people in Israel and Palestine are experiencing, as believers in this room, we understand the weight and the gravity that comes with this conflict. A conflict that started in the house of Abraham and has existed for 4,000 years. We know that ultimately Jesus is going to get His glory. He is going to redeem His people.
“I was so encouraged by this – when Jesus returns, He is going to descend from which he ascended at the Mount of Olives, and He is going to split the mountain in two. Because the God we serve is powerful. At the same time, He is present. He is present with those who are hurting. He is present with those who are broken. The scripture does a beautiful job of painting the portrait of Jesus as the bright and morning star. He is high and above and away from it all. But it continues to describe Him as the lily of the valley. He’s in the dark places, the quiet places, the places of pain and loss.
“So, I just want to express today on behalf of the artists in this faith community here, that we remember Israel tonight. We stand with the people of God and as scripture instructs us, we pray for peace in Jerusalem. Now here’s the thing – we can’t just pray for peace and not understand and identify the Prince of Peace. This conflict will not end until Jesus is the Lord of Israel and Jesus is the Lord of Palestine and Jesus is the Lord of every nation and every tribe and every tongue. There is a day coming at which every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
“The world could be at war but the church is gonna be in worship. Because we don’t praise God depending upon our circumstances. We praise God depending upon His reputation. And scripture says He is faithful and He is good to every generation. And that means there are generations the world will forget that God will remember. Tonight we celebrate that name of Jesus as we remember the people reeling in pain tonight.”
Daigle’s 12 Dove Awards include two awards for artist of the year, in 2015 and 2019. Wells’ five include new artist of the year in 2018 – an award Daigle had won in 2015.
The show was produced by the Gospel Music Association. Jackie Patillo and Justin Fratt served as showrunners and executive producers, alongside Curtis Stoneberger and Paul Wright as producers. Russell E. Hall returned as director, Michael Nolan as scriptwriter, Scott Moore and Go Live Productions as production manager.
The show aired Friday (Oct. 20) on TBN and The TBN App and was also simulcast on SiriusXM The Message. An encore performance will air on TBN and The TBN App on Friday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET. To watch the show on demand, go to The TBN App.