The Layman's Bible

Biblical Interpretation from Someone with no Training in Biblical Interpretation

“Awaiting on You All”

What does George Harrison have in common with Paul of Tarsus?  Oddly enough, a similar message.  I used to really love rock and roll, but due to my transformation through Christ I haven’t really been able to appreciate it on the same level as I used to.  Recently I tried to listen to one of my formerly favorite bands, but realized that almost 90% of their songs offended my new belief system to such an extent that they were rendered pretty much unlistenable because I found myself arguing with the singer in my head the whole time.  However, the Holy Spirit knows me well.  One day, while I was commuting to work and listening to an audio Bible of Romans, my mind was suddenly taken over by a song I hadn’t heard in years.  The song was “Awaiting on You All” by George Harrison.  Right away I tried to push it aside because George was a follower of eastern mysticism, and much of his work was influenced by that.  However, I couldn’t shake the song, and instead the Holy Spirit started overlaying the lyrics with what I was listening to in Romans and…it lined up…surprisingly well.  If you don’t want your mind poisoned by rock and roll lyrics, I understand; so turn back now and read another article or something.  But if you’re curious to see what the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart through something already ingrained in my mind, then read on and see that God can indeed speak to us through unexpected means.

Alright, since this topic is based around lyrics, let’s mix up the format a little and examine said lyrics carefully while still not trying to break them up too much.

Awaiting on You All (George Harrison)

George Harrison

You don’t need no love in,
You don’t need no bed pan.
You don’t need a horoscope or a microscope
To see the mess that you’re in.
If you open up your heart,
You’ll know what I mean.
We’ve been polluted so long,
Now here’s a way for you to get clean.

For people who don’t know some of the background behind the opening, the lyrics can be a little difficult to understand.  Fellow former Beatles member John Lennon had protested against war by staying in bed with his wife for several days.  He called this protest a “love in.”  Clearly, if you’re stuck in bed for days on end, you’ll need a bed pan.  So there’s the background.  Alright, anyway, this lines up with the beginning of Romans 10.  Paul writes,

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.  For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.  Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness (Romans 10:1-3).

Paul notes in his opening of the chapter that the Israelites’ hearts are in the right place in trying to bring goodness to the world.  However, they are in error because they are trying to do so without God.  In the same way, George criticizes John’s “love in” protest because although he’s doing something with a good mindset, he’s going about it in the wrong way; “You don’t need a love in or a bed pan or anything like that.”  Rather, Paul reminds us that “Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4).  By completing the Law, Jesus made it so that there is no longer a need for works in order to achieve a relationship with God.  Our goodness doesn’t bring us closer to God; rather his righteousness covers us and helps us to become better people.  Therefore, the Israelites, though shining in works, lacked the most important element in their lives, which was a relationship to Jesus Christ.  In the song, George goes on to say that “You don’t need a horoscope or a microscope to see the mess that you’re in.”  Paul conveys exactly this message as he continues on in Romans 10:6-8,

But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).  But what does it say?  “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming…

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that things are messed up, both outside and in our lives.  We don’t need to search the heavens to realize it, nor do we need to look closely at the ground to realize it.  Between the Holy Spirit tugging at our hearts, the devil accusing us, and the news reports on the TV, we all know things are messed up outside and at home.  And stuff being messed up isn’t anything new.  George says, “We’ve been polluted so long,” but Paul comes right out and says that things on earth have been messed up since the beginning,

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned- for before the law was given, sin was in the world.  But sin is not taken into account when there is not law.  Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come (Romans 5:12-14).

Ever since Adam disobeyed God, sin and death have been in the world, messing things up through a great number of ways.  How are we ever to get clean after being polluted by death and sin for such a long time?  Paul writes,

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in the life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.  For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous (Romans 5:17-19).

Since we were hopelessly lost through the sin of Adam and all of our personal sins, we were separated from God and ultimately doomed.  However, the Lord provided a way for us to be made clean through his son, Jesus Christ.

Alright, now we start to wander into heretical territory.

By chanting the names of the lord and you’ll be free,
The lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see.
Chanting the name of the lord and you’ll be free,
The lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see.

The chorus is the only part of the song that isn’t entirely on par with Paul’s teachings.  However, even while being off, George isn’t too far off of probably the most important message in all of Romans.  Mr. Harrison says that to be cleaned of the filth of the world we should chant the names of the “lord.”  Now for George this was part of his meditation, to literally chant the names of his god.  However, for us, we have one God in three parts, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Paul tells us that through the name of Jesus we can find salvation from our sins,

…That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved (Romans 10:9-10).

Awaiting on You All (Paul)

Paul of Tarsus

If you’re wondering if I’m cutting something out with the ellipsis, I’m not.  The NIV Bible puts verse 8 (which we read earlier) and verse 9 as one sentence separated by a colon.  Anyway, Paul tells us that the only way to salvation is to confess the name of Jesus as Lord while believing it in your heart.  So the vocal aspect is important to our salvation.  Another note is that George tells us that we should open up our hearts (he says it in the first verse), and that’s exactly what Paul is preaching that we do.  We should open our hearts to Christ and his Holy Spirit and let them work in our lives as we profess our devotion to God.

Pretty cool how God can move a nonbeliever to do his work through art, isn’t it?  But that’s just the first verse, there’s more ahead.

You don’t need no passport,
And you don’t need no visas.
You don’t need to designate or to emigrate
Before you can see Jesus.
If you open up your heart,
You’ll see he’s right there.
Always was and will be,
He’ll relieve you of your cares.

By chanting the names of the lord and you’ll be free,
The lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see.
Chanting the names of the lord and you’ll be free,
The lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see.

Holy crap, Jesus shows up!  Before you start thinking that George was some sort of bastion of Christianity, take note that he was of the belief that Jesus, Buddha, and one of the Indian religious figures were all the same people and that a relationship with the Lord can be attained through any of these means- a popular but unscriptural (and dangerous) concept.  However, his personal beliefs aside, George did hit the message of salvation on the head.  Paul writes in Romans 10:12-13, “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile- the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”  No matter whom you are, where you’re from, or what your background is, the Lord’s arms are open to you to receive his forgiveness, grace, and to open a relationship with you.  This is all made possible through the sacrifice of Jesus on a cross oh so long ago.  “Wait, if it was long ago, how can I still be saved?”  George and Scripture both tell us that Jesus has always been, and always will be.  Check out Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  Even Jesus, when confronted with his place in time by unbelievers explained that he has and always will be.  We read in John 8:58, “’I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’”  Not only is Christ beyond the limits of time and his salvation unburdened by location, for those in Christ, Jesus is able to dwell within his believers.  Paul writes in Colossians 1:27, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  And so we find just as Paul and George told us, by calling on the name of Jesus we will be saved.

Truly I tell you, God is reaching out to everyone, every way that he can.  He knows that not everyone is going to come to church to listen to a pastor.  Therefore, the Lord works in other ways to get the message of Christ to people, in order to soften their hearts and prepare them for when they do hear the Gospel proper.  Paul reminds us in Romans 11:33,

Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
And his paths beyond tracing out!

As such, if you seek out God, you will find him.  Granted, his message isn’t everywhere (as I’ve already said, much of the music I used to listen to has been rendered unlistenable), but when you least expect it, Jesus shows up.

You don’t need no church house,
And you don’t need no temple.
You don’t need to rosary beats or those books to read
To see that you have fallen.
If you open up your heart,
You will know what I mean.
We’ve been kept down so long,
Someone’s thinking that we’re all green.

It doesn’t take listening to a pastor to know that our world is in trouble.  We can clearly see that what we have now doesn’t match up with our Almighty Creator.  Paul reminds us of this when he writes,

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse (Romans 1:18-20).

Everyone knows in their heart that there is a God.  People may doubt, and people may deny; but the truth is that at some point or another, all of us realize that existence isn’t without a creator.  It’s not a far jump from there to recognize that humanity with its wars, vices, slavery, and cruelty doesn’t really match up with whatever created the beautiful mountains, seas, and skies.  However, because we don’t like the idea of a perfect God that we have no control over, we’ve spent thousands of years rejecting him in favor of false Gods that we can see, touch, and throw away if need be.  Paul continues,

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles (Romans 1:21-23).

It’s gotten to the point now where we’re so apt to disassociate ourselves from God that we’ve hidden behind evolution and taught our children that they’re related to the lizards on the ground and the grass in the field because supposedly millions of years ago we all came from some lucky pond scum that gained life somehow.  And if we can’t differentiate ourselves from the greenery and the fauna that surround us, then what is to keep us from acting like animals?

Has this been mind-blowing so far?  If not, sorry.  I dunno, the Holy Spirit totally wowed me while he strung this together, even more so because I had only been able to remember the first verse at the time, and then as it turns out the rest of the song fits very well too.  Alright, the last bit of the song can get a little confusing, but let’s see what we can do with it.

And while the Pope owns 51% of General Motors,
And the stock exchange is the only thing he’s qualified to quote us.
The lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see,
By chanting the names of the lord and you’ll be free.

For his last verse, George Harrison takes a stab at the pope of his day.  Now I have no information as to the accuracy of this statement.  However, in Romans Paul reminds us that our religious leaders, even the Pope himself really don’t have a right to judge people.  Neither do you have a right to judge your neighbor (or to judge the Pope for that matter, George).  The Bible tells us in Romans 2:1-3,

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.  Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.  So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?

Paul goes on to remind us that rather than condemn others for their conduct, we should follow God’s method.  He writes in Romans 2:4, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you towards repentance?”  God’s goal is to bring us to freedom through Christ, and he does so through his love and grace even while we are in sin.  We too should look with mercy and kindness towards others even as they stumble along the path.  Pray for those in sin, don’t yell or throw rocks at them or something like that.

Awaiting on You All (Jesus)

Jesus of Nazareth

Jesus says in John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  By calling on the Lord Jesus, you will be set free from sin and death and enter into a relationship with Christ.  George Harrison wasn’t too far off in his song, “Awaiting on You All.”  Do you think that it is wrong to make a non-Christian’s song Christian?  Well, Paul has it covered, “We demolish arguments and every pretention that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).  We take every thought captive in order to subjugate it to Christ.  Heck, Paul even quoted a heathen poem and aimed it towards God when he was in Athens.  The Bible records Paul in Acts 17:28, “’For in him we live and move and have our being.’  As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’”  For those of you already in Christ: hold tightly to him.  Hold on so tightly to Jesus that nothing in your life escapes the filter of the Holy Spirit, so that you can see God at work through all things.  And for those of you who have not yet accepted Jesus in your life, find your freedom through him today; for the Lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see that by calling on the name of the Lord and you’ll be free.

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2 comments on ““Awaiting on You All”

  1. Pingback: MUSIC MONDAY Commenting on George Harrison’s religious song AWAITING ON YOU ALL Part 1 | The Daily Hatch

  2. Pingback: FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 167 George Harrison’s song AWAITING ON YOU Part A (Artist featured is Paul Martin) | The Daily Hatch

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This entry was posted on June 14, 2014 by in Bible Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .
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