I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable.
~Romans 12:1 NLT
I tried to tell him Jeremiah wasn’t a bullfrog, but he wouldn’t listen.
One of Three Dog Night’s more famous songs—that wasn’t supposed to be—was “Joy to the World.” What made it famous was the opening line: “Jeremiah was a bullfrog.” As a child of the ’60s and ’70s, I naturally loved the song. My dad, on the other hand, a self-proclaimed fundamentalist preacher, hated rock music—and that particular song—as much as I esteemed it. In his mind, the song made fun of the biblical prophet Jeremiah.
According to one band member, the original line to what they planned as a silly kid’s song was “Jeremiah was a prophet.” Perhaps Dad was right. The song’s writer, however, said, “Jeremiah was an expedient of the time. I had the chorus for three months. I took a drink of wine, leaned on the speaker, and said, ‘Jeremiah was a bullfrog.'”
Whether the writer wrote the song to make fun of the prophet or not seems uncertain. What is certain is that my dad was doing his dead-level best to obey what Paul wrote. He wanted his body and mind to be pure and holy before God. Listening to things that he deemed sacrilegious wasn’t permissible, and he didn’t want me to either. That might also explain why he rarely visited a movie theater or watched anything but the old flicks on television—the ones before regulators allowed cursing and overt sexual content.
Even at a young age, I thought Dad might have gone a little overboard. But, on the other hand, I admire anyone who stands firmly for their convictions—whether I agree or not. And Dad did.
Convictions are essential to life. Without them, we’re blown about like tumbleweed. While I didn’t always share my father’s beliefs, I admired the fact that he had them and watched his example to manufacture my own.
I still doubt the song was making fun of the biblical prophet, but the controversy taught me that some things and people will attempt to lead us away from God’s standards. Only by establishing convictions built on God’s Word can we remain on the straight and narrow path God wants us to walk.
How are your convictions impacting your life?
Father, grant me the courage to establish convictions based on the teachings of Your Word.
Copyright 2023: Jeremiah Wasn’t a Bullfrog: Martin Wiles: All Rights Reserved