The Day the Music Died
“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion. Upon the willows in the midst of it, we hung our harps. For there our captors demanded of us songs, and our tormentors’ (laughter) mirth, saying, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion.’” (Psalm 137:1-3 NASB)
A popular song in the ’70s, American Pie, included the phrase “the day the music died.” (1) It has always reminded me of this Psalm. Though Don McLean’s song was about a different time, place, and reason, it too was about “the nostalgia that comes with closing a chapter in time” (Ethan Reese). Reese says the song describes the end of “A chapter that was good, youthful, and innocent.…For McLean, it was lost when he discovered that his favorite musicians, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. ‘The Big Bopper’ Richardson, had died in a plane crash—the day the music died. And for America, it came when the utopia of the 1950s was exposed as a veneer, giving way to the more socially conscious, but turbulent 1960s.” (2)
McLean was more prophetic than he knew. Innocence was indeed lost in the turbulent 60s and beyond. America the Beautiful still describes us on the outside. Internally, however, we are unattractive, discordant, ravaged by societal disease and moral decay.
In their desire to be encouragers, many religious leaders refuse to point out the true condition of America. I get it. No one wants to bring discouragement and, to be sure, a defeatist attitude must be guarded against. Faith believes what God says as the final verdict, not what is seen. But no serious doctor would begin treating a patient without first diagnosing the problem. To blindly declare that everything will be okay, simply because God is good and gracious, is beyond naive; it is unbiblical and untrue. An accurate diagnosis is not only sound wisdom; it is part of the healing process and, as such, compassionate.
Over the last 60 years, God has been pushed from America’s heart by strongholds of death, pride, materialism, humanism, secularism, progressivism, socialism, revisionism, ignorance, immorality, pleasure, and more. With no brakes on the cultural gas pedal, we cast off restraint, speeding toward turns that could never be successfully navigated: we expelled God from our history, schools, government, and the core of American life; we borrowed and spent our way to financial dependence; we valued ideology over education, pleasure over responsibility, and self-love over self-control; and the church lost her voice, replacing truth with relevance, the Scriptures with opinions, and biblical success with “speed” and “size.”
Abortion, one of the horrible fruits of this downward spiral, now demands the blood of our children. A generation follows our disregard for life, killing one another and themselves. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death among young people. Over 5,000 commit suicide every year—more than 13 each day. (3) A sexual assault occurs on a teenager every 8 minutes. (4) Seven hundred nineteen teenage girls undergo abortions every day. (5) Roughly 10 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases and infections occur in teens every year in America. (6)
During the twentieth century, the divorce rate rose 700 percent in America. Thirteen million children under the age of 18 are growing up with one or both parents away from home. Seventy percent of all juveniles in state reform institutions come from fatherless homes. (7) We wonder why young people grow disillusioned and dysfunctional? They’re the product of our rebellion, reaping what we have shamefully sown.
We are a nation inundated with hopeless addicts and lawless rebels. The United States is the single largest market on the earth for illegal drugs and leads the world in the export of pornography. (8) We cannot build prisons fast enough to hold our criminals. As Nehemiah observed about his nation, our walls are down and our gates burned (see Nehemiah 1:3). Hosea’s description of ancient Israel is also appropriate—we have sown the wind and are reaping the whirlwind (see Hosea 8:7).
America’s music has become horribly discordant, yet many have become so tone-deaf they don’t notice. Our wealth, power, and indoctrination have anesthetized us to our true condition; we’re bleeding to death internally while continuing to party on. We have become the proverbial frog in the kettle—slowly dying and unaware of it. Like the band on the RMS Titanic, we continue playing while the ship is sinking. Our propensity for treating symptoms only has been foolish and futile; the water cannot be bailed fast enough. It is time to abandon our denial.
Like the fearful, causeless army of Israel when facing Goliath, many Americans have convinced themselves that if we wait long enough, the shocking giants of the land will go away and leave us alone.
This will never happen! Satan has no intention of letting up in his relentless assault on America.
Every part of American society is screaming for cause-minded, impassioned warriors like David to arise. The cloud of witnesses is shouting encouragement from heaven’s balconies, imploring the church to shake off apathy and fear, find her voice, and resurrect her song. “Take down your harps,” they’re shouting, “pick up your ‘sling,’ five smooth stones, and run toward the uncircumcised Philistines of your day. It is not too late!”
And believers are responding. Davids are showing up for the battle, Calebs are picking up swords, and Elijahs are challenging Baal. Pastors are finding their voices, and thousands of believers are tired of being entertained and shielded from truth; fed-up moms, dads, soldiers, businessmen and women have decided to confront and replace political eunuchs who have bowed to Jezebel’s system.
A remnant of the church and, yes, many unsaved patriots have taken their harps down from the willow trees and decided to sing again. Maybe the music didn’t die after all. Perhaps it was only placed on pause.
Most importantly of all, the King, the Lord of the harvest and leader of angel armies, is being moved by a praying remnant. A passionate lover of people, including those who don’t know Him, He has stood up. The Warrior-King is coming to save. Repentance and a turning back to God by an intercessory core are prevailing. A Third Great Awakening has begun. God is gracious and determined to reap this great harvest.
“Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to Me with all your heart and with fasting, weeping, and mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments. Now return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in loving-kindness, and relenting of evil. Who knows whether He will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him?” (Joel 2:12-14)
“Come let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us: He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day that we may live before Him. So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us as the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth,” (Hosea 6:1-3).
“Fear not, for you will not be put to shame, neither feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; but you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more,” (Isaiah 54:4).
“Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land,” (Isaiah 61:7).
In their book Is It Real When It Doesn’t Work? Doug Murren and Bard Shurin recount:
“Toward the end of the nineteenth century, Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel awoke one morning to read his own obituary in the local newspaper: ‘Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, who died yesterday, devised a way for more people to be killed in a war than ever before, and he died a rich man.’
“Actually, it was Alfred’s older brother who had died; a newspaper reporter had bungled the epitaph. But the account had a profound effect on Nobel. He decided he wanted to be known for something other than developing the means to kill people efficiently and for amassing a fortune in the process. So he initiated the Nobel Prize, the award for scientists and writers who foster peace.
“Nobel said, ‘Every man ought to have the chance to correct his epitaph in midstream and write a new one.” (9)
Profound. And worth emulating.
God is giving America a chance to rewrite her epitaph. If written yesterday, even today, it would read, “Weighed in the Balances and Found Wanting.” But our gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness, forgives sinners and heals nations.
Pray with me:
Father, we thank You for Your mercies; they are new every morning. We give thanks that You love to demonstrate mercy. We are confident that it triumphs over judgment. Of course, America has done many things to deserve judgment. Our song of freedom and covenant with You has, indeed, been dying.
But You are the Resurrection and the Life, bringing life out of death. You forgive and fully restore. And now, it is the singing of principalities and powers that will end. Their songs of mockery and destruction will give way to redemption’s song.
So, we ask You to raise up the giant-conquering warriors You have prepared for this hour. May they be filled with zeal, boldness, and faith. They will raise the dead, spiritually and physically. They will preach a powerful gospel of the Kingdom, and millions will come to know You. We decree this over the earth NOW and declare this to be the most significant season of taking out spiritual giants in history. We do so confidently - because of Jesus and in His name. Amen.
We decree that we will never stop singing the song of the redeemed!
Portions of today’s post were taken from my book Giants Will Fall.
Click on the link below to watch the full video.
McClean, Don. “American Pie.” Universal Publishing Group, 1971.
National Institute of Mental Health. “Suicide.” NIH, 2015. www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide/index. Shtml
RAINN. “Children and Teens: Statistics.” RAINN, 2018. www.rainn.org/statistics/children-and-teens RAINN. “The Criminal Justice System: Statistics.” RAINN, 2018. www.rainn.org/statistics/criminal-justice-system
Dudley, Susan. “Teenage Women, Abortion, and the Law.” Prochoice, September 2015. Prochoice.org/ wp-content/uploads/teenage_women.pdf
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Reported STDs in the United States.” CDC, November 2015. www.cdc.gov/std/stats14/std-trends-508.pdf
U.S. Department of Justice. “Special Report.” U.S. Dept. of Justice, September 1988. www.fathermag.com/ news/1780_stats.shtm/
Warner, Jennifer. “US Leads the World in Illegal Drug Use.” CBSNews, July 2008. Cbsnews.com/news/ us-leads-the-world-in-illegal-drug-use/ Family Safe Media. “Pornography Statistics.” TopTenREVIEWS, Inc., 2007. www.familysafe.com/ pornography-statistics/
Larson, Craig Brian. Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1993). p.123.