Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sunday Spiritual - 'Ten Thousand Angels'

'Ten Thousand Angels' 


"He Could Have Called Ten Thousand Angels"

They bound the hands of Jesus in the garden where he prayed
They led him thru the streets in shame
They spat upon the savior so pure and free from sin
They said, "crucify him: he's to blame
He could have called ten thousand angels
To destroy the world and set him free
He could have called ten thousand angels
But he died alone, for you and me
Upon his precious head they placed a crown of thorns
They laughed and said, "Behold the king"
They struck him and they cursed him and mocked his holy name
All alone he suffered everything
When they nailed him to the cross, his mother stood nearby,
He said, "Woman, behold thy son!"
He cried, "I thirst for water," but they gave him none to drink
Then the sinful work of man was done
To the howling mob he yielded: he did not for mercy cry
The cross of shame he took alone
And when he cried, "It’s finished," he gave himself to die
Salvation's wondrous plan was done

Rarely has a hymn-writer been led to Christ by his own song, but such was the case with Ray Overholt.
In 1958, at the height of his show-business career, Ray Overholt wrote his now-famous song, Ten Thousand Angels.
Ray's story as he related it:
I had left my television show 'Ray's roundup' and entered the nightclub scene. I was drinking pretty heavily. I began thinking there must be a better life than the nightclub, show business whirlwind. I was so intent on changing my lifestyle that I went home and told my wife that I was quitting all of the smoking, drinking and cursing. I wanted to clean up my own life.
One day I thought to myself: I've written secular songs, I'd like to write a song about Christ. I opened the Bible, which I knew very little about, and began to read the portion of Scripture that describes Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane telling Peter to put away his sword. I read where Jesus told Peter that He could ask His Father and He would send twelve legions of angels. I didn't know at the time that would have been more than 72,000 angels.
I thought a good title for a song would be “He Could Have Called Ten Thousand Angels”. I didn't know what happened during the life of Christ, so I began doing a little research. The more I read about Jesus, the more I admired him for what He had done. I then remembered that He did this all for me.
I was playing in a nightclub in Battle Creek, Michigan, when the Lord impressed me to write the song. I wrote the first verse and put it in my guitar case. I then gave the club my notice that I was quitting. As I opened my guitar case to put my instrument away, one of the other musicians saw the music written out and he asked, 'What are you doing there?' I told him I was writing a song about Jesus. He asked the title and I told him. He said, 'It will never go.' I asked, “Why?” He said, 'I don't even like the title.' But I finished the song and sent it to a publishing house, which reluctantly agreed to publish it.
Sometime later I found myself singing at a small church. I sang 'He Could Have Called Ten Thousand Angels.' Following my singing, the preacher spoke a message that gripped my heart. I knew I needed Christ, so I knelt there and accepted, Jesus as my Saviour, the One whom I had been singing and writing about.
Ray Overholt became a travelling singer and preacher. He has written a number of other songs, but none so moving as 'Ten Thousand Angels'

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