Published January 9, 2018

Paul's Epistle
"Message Songs"

Songs that reach the top of the popularity chart obviously have something "going for them." And, for Southern Gospel songs, I like that think that the message in the songs and how that message is presented have a lot to do with their popularity – because that's what speaks to people on a very personal level.

That's bourne out by the songs that appeared on our countdown of 2017's top songs, which concluded last weekend. The countdown reminded me of just how powerful some of these messages were.

For example, the year's #1 song, "Chain Breaker," as recorded by Triumphant, was an outstanding reminder about the Lord's power to break the chains of sin and those things that afflict us.

     "If you've got pain, He's a pain taker.
      If you feel lost, He's a way-maker..."

You can read a previous column I wrote about "Chain Breaker" here.

The #2 song, Tribute Quartet's "God Of The Storms," was also especially timely for 2017 – a year that saw all sorts of storms afflicting us, not the least of which were actual storms – hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, etc. What a great reminder that song was that God is still very much in control and still has ultimate power over such things. I wrote a previous column about that song that you can read here.

The Browders' "Put It Into God's Hands" (#5) was a great reminder of that same truth, that God can handle whatever problems we face – if we commit them to Him. Christ, though His death on the Cross, said, "I Love You This Much" (Whisnants, #14) so we are "Never Forsaken" (Tribute, #6).

Because we believe, we can stand up and say "I Choose Christ" (Karen Peck & New River, #9) without reservation, because "We Are Not Ashamed" (Taylors, #15).

Song lyrics can't – and never should – take the place of Scripture. They can, though, reinforce Scriptural truths in our minds in new and refreshing ways. So I'm happy to say that the songs that are among the day's most popular ones are solid "message songs." That's why I can always say that The Gospel Greats program features "the greatest songs about the greatest message, the Gospel."

We're looking forward to a lot more solid message songs during the year ahead.

- Paul Heil

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