The American Vision: A Biblical Worldview Ministry

Country Music: Good & Bad Theology

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I love country music! It is America’s music. Trace Adkins said it best in his 2005 hit, Songs about me. The chorus states, “Songs about lovin and livin and good hearted women and family and God, yeah they're all just songs about me.” Country music tells a story better than any other music out there. And generally speaking, Country music reflects a Christian worldview better than the neo-gnostic contemporary “Christian” music that dominates in evangelical circles today.

One of my favorite duos in country music is Brooks & Dunn. Brooks & Dunn exploded onto the scene with their 1990 debut album, Brand New Man. The duo's first single, went to No. 1 in 1991, followed by the chart-topping "My Next Broken Heart," "Neon Moon" and "Boot Scootin' Boogie." Their debut album Brand New Man has since sold more than 6 million copies. Brooks & Dunn are responsible for making me a country music fan.

Brooks & Dunn’s latest album, Cowboy Town, is doing extremely well. Their latest hit, God must be busy, has already climbed to #14 on the billboard charts. While I am happy for Brooks & Dunn, I am very unhappy with the lyrics of this song.

God Must Be Busy

That anchor man says they're fighting again
Somewhere in the Middle East
The world prays for peace
There's a single mom, just got laid off
Went and lost her job to some foreign hands
In some faraway land
Last night in Oklahoma
Some twister took thirteen
And they're praying that they find the missing three
God must be busy

That highway sign went from slow ahead
To traffic's dead, thought it couldn't get worse
Then that Amber alert
They say she's 4, Colorado plates
Heading out-of-state in a Chevy van
It's hard to understand
You can see it in the faces
Of all those highway strangers
They're praying that God keeps that girl from danger.
God must be busy

And I know in the big picture
I'm just a speck of sand
And God's got better things to do
Than look out for one man
I know He's heard my prayers
'Cause He hears everything
He just ain't answered back or He'd bring you back to me
God must be busy.

That evening news, ain't much changed
Pretty much the same since I left home
Yeah, that war's still on
They found that little girl
She was soaking wet, half scared to death
On the side of some road
Them prayers work ya know
And the bloods and crips are at it,
And there's a killer drought down south
And old folks can't afford the drugs they can't live with out
God must be busy.

And I know in the big picture
I'm just a speck of sand
And God's got better things to do
Than look out for one man
I know He's heard my prayers
'Cause He hears everything
He just ain't answered back or He'd bring you back to me
God must be busy.

That anchorman says the fighting's worse,
Cities burn in the Middle East
The world prays for peace

(Clint Daniels/Michael P. Heeney)

I pulled the following explanation for the song from Brooks & Dunn’s website.

Michael Heeney, "God Must Be Busy" Songwriter, Explains Inspiration For Song

The idea for God Must Be Busy came about one Sunday morning after attending a church service where it was suggested that with all the troubles and challenges in the world today, we might consider reserving our prayers for thanks and for important things. Between that thought and reading the paper that morning, it just struck me that God must have his hands full. The lyric is not insinuating that God can't handle the chaos. It's just expressing the idea that God Must Be Busy because of the degree of turmoil and chaos all around us. The lyric simply chronicles one humble man's view of "these troubled times". There's a lot to pray about.

Since, I won’t have the opportunity to speak with Kix Brooks, Ronnie Dunn or Michael Heeney in person, I would like to respond to their latest song by breaking down some of the lyrics with what the Scriptures actually say.

“I know in the big picture, I’m just a speck of sand and God’s got better things to do than look out for one man.”

Psalm 139:1-18
O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

Luke 12
27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? 29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, [1]neither be ye of doubtful mind.30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. 31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. [2]

“I know he hears my prayers, cause he hears everything. He just ain’t answered back yet, or he’d bring you back to me.”

Matthew 7
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Romans 8
28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Some of you may be thinking, it’s just a song. Why are you making such a big deal about it? My goal as a father and a husband is to make sure that everything my family comes into contact with checks out with God’s Word. If it doesn’t, then we need to use these simple opportunities to train our families. Don’t let the world deceive you into thinking God isn’t in control.

Although we may not agree with the outcome of our prayers and requests, God is listening and actively interceding on our behalf.

Look at the rest of the lyrics in the song.

We are facing incredible trials in America; killer droughts, tornadoes, kidnappings, war around the world. It seems like we are experiencing the worst times ever in history. Unfortunately we tend to think in the here and now. A quick glimpse at history would show that we have seen periods of tribulation much worse than today.

What most people miss, including Christians, is God’s sovereignty over everything. We don’t want to believe that God is capable of allowing death and suffering. God is not oblivious or incapable of handling every issue we face as a human race. God is not too busy for us. You may not like the outcome, but God was there and ordained that event in your life.

We know from reading the Bible that God does allow tragedy to occur in our lives even as Christians. Take a look at these few examples:

Genesis 6
God saw man’s wickedness on earth and destroyed everything and everyone except Noah’s family because Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

II Samuel 12 & 18
The Lord afflicted the child that David and Bathsheba conceived because of David’s sin. The child died on the seventh day. David’s son Absalom was nearly killed when he struck a great oak tree while riding a mule. Joab and his men surrounded Absalom and threw three javelins into the heart of Absalom and killed him while he still hung from the tree. David cries out, “my son, my son Absalom. I would have died instead of you.

The entire book of Job tells the story of how God allowed Satan to take away everything Job had. I mean everything; wealth, family, health. You name it God took it away.

For those of you that think the Old and New Testaments have two separate Gods, meaning the God of the Old Testament was a harsh, judging God while the God of the New Testament in the form of Jesus, would love, forgive and turn the other cheek. Think again. While Jesus was all of those things, he also upholds the Old Testament law and we see God‘s wrath in the New Testament for sinning against him.

Acts 5
Ananias and Sapphira sold a possession. They keep back some of the profits from the sale of the possession but lead Peter to believe that they are giving Peter the entire amount. God judges Ananias and Sapphira and drops them dead on the spot.
We also know from reading the rest of the New Testament that those who were closest to Jesus during his ministry here on earth were persecuted and killed.
Romans chapter 9 summarizes this whole debate. Romans 9: 20 says that God is the potter and we are the clay. What right does the clay have to tell the potter how things should be?

Romans 9:17-23
For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,

Teach your children to read and believe God’s Word. Teach them to be faithful, obedient and to fear the Lord. Use everyday ordinary occurrences like a song, to show them the deep and wonderful truths found in God’s Word.

All of us are going to face difficult times and great sorrow on this earth. Rest assured that God is not too busy to handle your situation or hear your prayers. Instead, embrace the Word of God and know that God was not sleeping or taking a lunch break when this tragedy occurred.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose. 

[1] Or, live not in careful suspense.

[2] The Cambridge Paragraph Bible: Of the Authorized English Version. Bellingham, WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2006, cxix

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