Ed Sheeran vs. King David

Hope …

Ed Sheeran was the number one concert draw in the world in 2019. In fact he was the number one concert draw ever last year.

King David is the greatest songwriter ever– move over Beatles and Elvis.  His songs have been re-written, re-sung and his songwriting has brought hope and comfort for three thousand years.

Ed Sheerin writes from the perspective of Heroic Acceptance.  Deep feeling, well written lyrics, haunting music — all leaving you with emotions, sympathy, and no hope.

Heroic acceptance, because it is what it is!  Accept it, write about, sing about it, but there is nothing that you can do about it.

King David writes about humble victory.  David describes his sins in graphic detail, he argues and expresses anger with God, but he ends in victory. Psalm 27 is a gritty song of difficulty, tears, and enemies.  But King David writes of humble victory — seeking God — he writes, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”


My favorite Ed Sheeran song is entitled “Castle on the Hill.” He writes and sings this song about his childhood home and family.   The lyrics always bring melancholy and remembrance of my own childhood.  Listening to the song, about midway, you will hear …

One friend left to sell clothes
One works down by the coast
One had two kids but lives alone
One’s brother overdosed
One’s already on his second wife
One’s just barely getting by
But these people raised me and I can’t wait to go home

I understand the pain that we encounter. I’m a pastor and I deal with broken lives.  Ed Sheeran sings of understanding, loving ‘in spite of’.  But he doesn’t sing of hope.  It is a heroic acceptance of our lives – he acclimates us through artistry to accept despair as unavoidable.

Live the best you can. There is nothing more.

I enjoy Ed Sheeran but whenever I hear one of his songs or many other current songs, I think of King David’s, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord during my life.” (Psalm 27)

King David vs. Ed Sheeran …

Ed Sheeran ends “Castle on the Hill” with …

And I’m on my way, I still remember
These old country lanes
When we did not know the answers
And I miss the way you make me feel, it’s real
We watched the sunset over the castle on the hill
Over the castle on the hill
Over the castle on the hill

King David ends Psalm 27 with …

Wait for the Lord;
Be strong, and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.

‘Amen’ means ‘so be it’.  I like Ed Sheeran’s song but I say ‘Amen’ to King David’s Psalm 27. 

I choose hope.