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God’s Gonna Cut You Down

17 Dec

Johnny Cash is a haunting voice from the past speaking on God’s behalf. His version of this traditional folk song is particularly haunting. It is the wobbly voice of the prophet warning us of the ultimate payment for lives lived outside of God’s design. If we are dead set in doing things are own way, we may very well be…dead…(gulp)

Here are the lyrics:

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down

Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut ’em down
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut ’em down

Well my goodness gracious let me tell you the news
My head’s been wet with the midnight dew
I’ve been down on bended knee talkin’ to the man from Galilee
He spoke to me in the voice so sweet
I thought I heard the shuffle of the angel’s feet
He called my name and my heart stood still
When he said, “John go do My will!”

Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut ’em down
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut ’em down

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down

Well you may throw your rock and hide your hand
Workin’ in the dark against your fellow man
But as sure as God made black and white
What’s down in the dark will be brought to the light

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down

Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut you down
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut you down
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut you down

The song was recorded sometime before Johnny Cash’s death in 2003 and released in 2006 on the Rick Rubin produced American V: A Hundred Highways.

The video was also shot in 2006 and some people have disliked the modern pop/rock/country/rap stars that appear in the video. Some find it self-promoting for these guys to appear on Cash’s video. Others see it as the influence Johnny Cash has had on popular music across a number of genres.

I see it a bit differently.

Maybe Cash is send a message to Iggy Pop, Kanye West, Chris Martin, Kris Kristofferson, Patti Smith, Terrence Howard, Flea, Q-Tip, Adam Levine, Chris Rock, Justin Timberlake, Kate Moss, Sir Peter Blake, Sheryl Crow, Dennis Hopper, Woody Harrelson, Amy Lee, Tommy Lee, the Dixie Chicks, Mick Jones, Sharon Stone, Bono, Shelby Lynne, Anthony Kiedis, Travis Barker, Lisa Marie Presley, Kid Rock, Jay-Z, Keith Richards, Billy Gibbons, Corinne Bailey Rae, Johnny Depp, Graham Nash, Brian Wilson, Rick Rubin, Owen Wilson, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Maybe he prophesying to them, warning them that if they worship at the altar of Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, & Pride that one day God is gonna cut them down. (If you look you can see images of these sins in the video). If we do not get “down on bended knee” and start “talkin’ to the man from Galilee,” we may find ourselves on the other side of God’s judgment.

This is why Christians celebrate Christmas. We celebrate the coming of Emmanuel, God with us, God as one of us. God saw the long tongue liar, the midnight rider, the rambler, the gambler, and the back biter and he did something about it. He dressed himself in the black, the blackness of our humanity, and he entered into his creation in order to rescue us from the wrath, the cuttin’ down, that is coming.

At his birth, the baby was given the name Jesus, because he would rescue people from their sins and the wrath that our sins have incurred.

So run on if you want…but sonner or later….

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3 Comments

Posted by on December 17, 2008 in Life, Theology

 

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3 responses to “God’s Gonna Cut You Down

  1. faithworshiplife

    December 19, 2008 at 12:49 am

    Hey Derek,

    Did you get a chance to see the recent movie on Johnny Cash, “Walk the Line.” Quite a good piece. Watching it you get the feel that Johnny wrote the song at hand from his heart … as he was fairly “cut down” himself.

    We’re looking forward to seeing y’all at next week’s Christmas Eve service.

    God Bless,

    William

     
  2. Derek Vreeland

    December 19, 2008 at 1:58 am

    I did see Walk the Line. One of my favorite movies. Johnny was a “cut down” man. The movie did not do an accurate job of depicting how important his faith was to him.

    “God’s Gonna Cut You Down,” also known as “Run On” is a traditional folk/gospel song that is public domain. Johnny didn’t write it, but he did well to record it.

    I am playing guitar at the Christmas eve service. No Cash tunes…just silent night with Jenni on flute.

    It should be fun.

    Derek

     
  3. Santosh

    January 1, 2009 at 3:06 am

    I still can’t figure out why Chris Rock is in this video.

     

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