An unlikely songwriter for a song he had never thought of writing. That is just about the summary of today’s feature.
But before we delve into that, I could not contain myself from appreciating Loretta’s choice of songs. She does pick good content for gospel singing. Have a listen to her gospel albums and you will see what I mean.
The song’s theme is the willingness of Jesus to endure sufferings for humanity’s sake, despite his ability to call ten thousand angels to assist him in his cause. It was a man who sinned; therefore, it should be the man who will have to suffer the consequences of his actions. But Jesus, out of love, became man and took our place.
Back in the 1940’s, Grand Rapids’ first TV singing cowboy, Ray Overholt had reached his pinnacle of success. He had an illustrious career as a TV host for an entertainment show called “Ray’s Round Up”. By grace, God did not wait for him to drift further. He stepped right in Overholt’s life by prompting him to write a song. He said,
“I was playing in a country band at a tavern, a dance hall, in Battle Creek, when I wrote the song. Why God selected me to write the song, I don’t know. I drank a lot, was a profane individual and I needed a Savior.”
At the onset of his writing, he knew nothing of Jesus. Naturally, he did some reading in the Bible for research. The portion he read was in Matthew 26 describing Jesus’ arrest in the garden of Gethsemane. In defense, Peter drew a sword and cut off somebody’s ear, but Jesus forbade him. He told him that he could anytime ask his Father to send twelve legions of angels if he wanted to. However, he would not because he had to fulfill what he came for; the salvation of mankind.
After choosing the title and writing the first verse, Ray packed up his things and quit his job that same night. He revealed in one interview the change that happened to him following that night.
“While I was trying to find out who this man Jesus was and writing the song, I was saved.”
He completed the song and sent it to a publisher. It sold over a million of copies and was recorded by many artists. Ray then became an itinerant preacher and continued writing gospel songs.
Thank God for giving Ray the inspiration and for Loretta’s singing. Listening to “Ten Thousand Angels” keeps us humble with the realization that it was no mere creature, but the Creator himself who died in man’s place.
gospel, honkytonk, Loretta Lynn, Testimonial
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