Sunday, January 04, 2009

Days of Elijah

First posted October, 2007.
Here we are over a year later and, as the commenter said, it still rocks!
The original "first video" got pulled cuz of some copyright claim, but this one will do.
The lyrics of the break are different (the original is "There is no God like Jehovah.") but you get the idea.

This song by Robin Mark has become one of the most energetic musical treats in the worship leader's toolbox. The writer said in part... [Be advised, my security software says this is a dangerous site. No, seriously...probably has adware or other stuff you may not want to catch.]

The chorus is the ultimate declaration of hope - Christ's return. It is paraphrased from the books of Revelation and Daniel and the vision that was seen of the coming King and refers to the return of Christ and the year of Jubilee. Theologians and Bible commentators believe that Israel never properly celebrated this particular 50th year jubilee, and that it will only be properly celebrated when Christ returns. That might be true but I reckon that a Jubilee is an apt description of what happens when Christ comes into anyone"s life at any time; debts are cancelled and a captive is set free.

These thoughts were in my head when I came to church early one Sunday in 1995. We have two services and the Pastor spoke during the first service on the "valley of dry bones" from Eziekel. I took a prompt from this and, in the 30 minutes between the services, wrote down the words and chords in the kitchen of our church building and we sang it, as a body, at the end of the second service.

How do you express the sense that these might be days, not of failure and submission, but of the sort of resilient, declaring, even arrogant trust and hope that Elijah had in his God? That these are not days of God stepping back and allowing the world and the church to roll uncontrolled towards eternity, but rather days when he is calling on his body to make a stand, to offer right praises and to declare that He is totally in control. Well, I reckon you may write the words "These are the days of Elijah" and "These are the days of David". I've used word pictures and Biblical characters to make that expression, but this is no different from many of the great hymnwriters and even David himself.

I presented the song to the church that day with a short word of explanation, and we sang it as our worship.

Now the rest, I suppose, is history. There is no mechanism (conspiracy theorists take note!) within the church for making people sing a particular song, or for increasing it's use in the national or international church body. As far as I was concerned the song was for our congregation, on that day and at that time. God obviously had other ideas and it is now sung almost world-wide. Grammatically, there may even be the odd aberration, but thankfully the church has forgiven me that particular shortcoming.

I must make it clear that I did not set out to write an overly complex or "secret" song, and I hope the testimony above bears that out.

There is a post script to this story for those who (by letters to me!) believe the song means something entirely different. A few years ago I was privileged to be in Israel at Yom Kippur for a celebration with hundreds of Messianic Jews. A very kind, gentle and humorous messianic brother had a bit of fun arguing with me that I, as an Irish Christian, could never have written a song which explores some of the themes that many (non-replacement theology here!) Jewish believers believe are the themes and indications of Christ's return. The Spirit and Power of Elijah in the Church, The restoration of Israel to righteousness in Christ (David's fallen tent), The restoration of praise and worship (David's tent also!) and the unity of the body particularly with a renewed and redeemed Israel under Christ.

For me, I only know what I wrote. I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps it was His desire to say something more than I personally intended and to do more with this song than I first considered.

It is an unusual song, for sure. All of these restored things like Justice, Righteousness, Integrity, Unity, Praise and Worship and Revival are considered by many to be a herald of the last days and Christ's return. Personally I don't know - I believe I wrote what God was telling me to write and He seems to have used the song in many ways for many people.

I hope the explanation is clear. The song is, perhaps, a little complex - but I can assure you that this was not deliberate. I have written lots of simple, straightforward hymns and songs covering lots of themes. This song seems to have been used particularly by God in the ministry of Praise and Worship and the themes and pictures it uses seem to have been grasped by God's people all over the world.

Several versions of Days of Elijah are at You Tube.

I picked these two. The first is for those who may not be familiar with the song...words, tempo, etc.

The second shows how the music moves people at its best. Only the coldest of the frozen chosen can sit still and watch these two videos, especially the second, without moving.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this song rocks! i heard it at church and it was the best song i ever heard.