Psalm


Words by Robert Grant (1779 -1838)

Also included in The Broadman Hymnal 1940 edition, Broadman Press, Nashville – #2; Voice of Praise, Broadman Press, Nashville (1947) – #122; The Baptist Hymnal, 1975 edition, Convention Press, Nashville – #30; 1991 edition, Convention Press, Nashville – #16; 2008 edition, LifeWay, Nashville – #24; Inspiring Hymns, Singspiration, Grand Rapids (1951/1968 edition) – #407; Favorite Hymns of Praise, Tabernacle, Chicago (1967/1969 edition) – #13; The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration, Word, Waco (1986) – #10; The Celebration Hymnal, Word, Waco (1997) – #104; New Songs of Inspiration Volume 12, Brentwood, Nashville (1983) – #215.

One note: The Celebration Hymnal includes a fifth verse penned by David Guthrie (included below in italics), all other hymnals hold to Grant’s original four stanzas.

The Hymn

  1. O worship the King, all glorious above,
    O gratefully sing His power and His love;
    Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
    Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.
  2. O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
    Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space,
    His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
    And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.
  3. The earth with its store of wonders untold,
    Almighty, Thy power hath founded of old;
    Established it fast by a changeless decree,
    And round it hath cast, like a mantle, the sea.
  4. Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
    It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
    It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
    And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.
  5. Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
    In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
    Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
    Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.
  6. O measureless might! Ineffable love!
    While angels delight to worship Thee above,
    The humbler creation, though feeble their lays,
    With true adoration shall all sing Thy praise.
  7. All hail to the King! In splendor enthroned;

             Glad praises we bring, Thy wonders make known.

             Returning victorious, great conqueror of sin,

             King Jesus, all glorious, our vict’ry will win.

(Hymn words accessed at CyberHymnal) Stanzas in bold are those used in our sample hymnal. [Bracketed words are from the 1956 Baptist Hymnal]

Scriptural Connection

The scriptural connection for this hymn is from the Psalms – 104 to be exact. It is another worship song. The present version that we have from hymn-writer Grant is a re-working of an earlier treatment of Psalm 104 by William Kethe from 16th Century Genevan Psalter. Here (also from CyberHymnal) is a sample of Kethe’s original language:

  1. My foule praise the Lord, speake good of his Name,
    O Lord our great God how doeft thou appeare,
    So passing in glorie, that great is thy fame,
    Honour and maieftie, in thee fhine moft cleare.
  2. His chamber beames lie, in the clouds full fure,
    Which as his chariot, are made him to beare.
    And there with much fwitneff his courfe doth endure:
    Vpon the wings riding, of winds in the aire.

Notice the ancient spelling of the original wording.

What does it mean?

While we are in the section of the 1956 Baptist Hymnal dedicated to worship and calls to worship, it almost seems redundant to say it over again, but here we are – another call to worship. This one focuses on the “otherness” of God, pointing out how glorious He is. He is mighty, spectacular, beyond our understanding of just how great He is. The stanza traditionally placed last (#4 in all our hymnals, see #5 above) places those who are called into worship in stark contrast to the Mighty Maker.

Sing this hymn with the regal tune attributed to Johann Haydn (1737-1806) and you will be transported into the throne room of heaven and be in the very presence of the One to whom we are called to worship.

*Hymn numbers for this series’ titles are from the Baptist Hymnal, 1956 edition, Nashville, Convention Press.

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Words by Henry F. Lyte (1793-1847)

(Also included in the Baptist Hymnal, 1975 ed., Convention Press, Nashville, #8; 1991 ed., Convention Press, Nashville, #32; 2008, ed., LifeWay, Nashville, #2; The Celebration Hymnal, 1997, Word/Integrity, Waco – #1; The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration, 1986, Word, Waco – #3.)

The Hymn

  1. Praise, my soul, the King of heaven;
    To His feet your tribute bring.
    Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
    Who like me His praise should sing:
    Alleluia! Alleluia!
    Praise the everlasting King.
  2. Praise Him for His grace and favor
    To our fathers in distress.
    Praise Him still the same forever,
    Slow to chide, and swift to bless.
    Alleluia! Alleluia!
    Glorious in His faithfulness.
  3. Father-like, He tends and spares us;
    Well our feeble frame He knows.
    In His hands He gently bears us,
    Rescues us from all our foes.
    Alleluia! Alleluia!
    Widely as His mercy goes.
  4. Frail as summer’s flower we flourish,
    Blows the wind and it is gone;
    But while mortals rise and perish
    God endures unchanging on,
    Praise Him, praise Him,
    Praise Him, praise Him,
    Praise the High Eternal One!
  5. Angels, help us to adore Him;
    Ye behold Him face to face;
    Saints triumphant, bow before Him,
    Gathered in from every race.
    Alleluia! Alleluia!
    Praise with us the God of grace.

(Hymn words accessed at Center for Church Music, Songs and Hymns) Stanzas in bold are those used in our sample hymnal. [Note: I have changed the words “Praise Him, Praise Him/Praise Him, Praise Him” to read “Alleluia! Alleluia!” as is consistent with the hymnbooks I have available to me—as opposed to the on-line version above (the change was made early in the hymn’s history). The lines italicized in the last stanza have been adapted as in our hymnal rather than “Sun and moon, bow down before Him/Dwellers in all time and space.” I have included these changes not to discount the collectors on the website, but to keep a consistency with the Hymnals we have and to keep the integrity of the theology of the Psalm from which the words were taken in the original poem. Note: I have left stanza untouched from the website as it is not included in our hymn collection.]

Scriptural Connection

Scriptural connections are much easier to be had when we know the basis from which a poet has taken his words. In the case of this hymn, we find a paraphrase of one of the Psalms that was collected in the early 19th century. Particularly, this is a paraphrase of Psalm 103, so that should be the best connection that we make.

What does it mean?

Yet another hymn encourages worshipers to praise God. We are to pay homage (or tribute) to Him in the form of praise. The call to place this tribute at His feet is a visual phrasing that brings to mind the payment of owed gains (known as tribute) from those who were servants of another. It is a terminology most aptly applied to conquered peoples paying tribute to the conquering king or authority. The tribute that we are to lay at His feet is not a monetary one so much as a payment of praise that is His due because He has conquered our sinful nature and set us free—so we gladly bring this payment.

Those who have not known distress and being set free from an oppressor (like the ancient Hebrews) are to continue to bring this tribute just as their fathers who saw it firsthand. He treats us just as a loving Father would – with loving, gentle hands, but strong in correction. Heavenly beings (angels) as well as “saints triumphant” (those who have conquered sin through God’s intervention) are both called upon to praise Him. Again the first stanza tells us why: He has “ransomed, healed, restored, and forgiven” us.

*Hymn numbers for this series’ titles are from the Baptist Hymnal, 1956 edition, Nashville, Convention Press.

Words by John Keble (1792-1866)

(Also included in the Broadman Hymnal, 1940 ed., Broadman Press, Nashville – #177; Voice of Praise, 1947, Broadman Press, Nashville – #177; Inspiring Hymns, 1968, Zondervan, Grand Rapids – #19; The Celebration Hymnal, 1997, Word/Integrity, Waco – #625; The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration, 1986, Word, Waco – #412; Favorite Hymns of Praise, 1967, Tabernacle Publishing, Chicago – #422.)

The Hymn

  1. Sun of my soul, Thou Savior dear,
    It is not night if Thou be near;
    O may no earthborn cloud arise
    To hide Thee from Thy servant’s eyes.
  2. When the soft dews of kindly sleep
    My wearied eyelids gently steep,
    Be my last thought, how sweet to rest
    Forever on my Savior’s breast.
  3. Abide with me from morn till eve,
    For without Thee I cannot live;
    Abide with me when night is nigh,
    For without Thee I dare not die.
  4. If some poor wandering child of Thine
    Has spurned today the voice divine,
    Now, Lord, the gracious work begin;
    Let him no more lie down in sin.
  5. Watch by the sick, enrich the poor
    With blessings from Thy boundless store;
    Be every mourner’s sleep tonight,
    Like infants’ slumbers, pure and right.
  6. Come near and bless us when we wake,
    Ere through the world our way we take,
    Till in the ocean of Thy love
    We lose ourselves in Heaven above.

(Hymn words accessed at CyberHymnal) Stanzas in bold are those used in our sample hymnal.

Scriptural Connection

Two or the hymnal editors (as well as the editors at CyberHymnal) selected Psalm 84 as the scriptural background for this hymn. Specifically mentioned is verse 11 which starts with the line “The Lord God is a Sun and Shield . . .” In keeping with the praise aspect and the psalmly connection to our current section of hymns I would be glad to take this connection.

On the other hand, I see a closer relationship between the poem used for lyrics and the declaration in Revelation 22:5 “And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” This verse allows for the exchange of the Sun for the Savior as the light that illumines and gives comfort.

What does it mean?

As suggested, this hymn is one that is designed to bring comfort, warmth, and light to the worshiper. The call is to the Savior (a reason to move from the Psalms to the Revelation in our scripture of choice), and the request is for continual abiding.

Theologically, this hymn calls for all people to trust in the Christ indicating that without Him all hope is lost. The majority of the hymnals I consulted choose stanzas 1, 2, 3, and 6 as text inclusions with a variation on verse 6: “Be near to bless us when we wake . . .” Even so, the hymn directs people first to believe in Christ and rest in Him, and also requests that the Savior abide or remain with the worshiper.

This hymn, while not as avidly used in circles where I worship, has not lost its power of comfort of those who rest in the light provided by the Sun, the Savior. May your life today be filled with that same comforting light.

*Hymn numbers for this series’ titles are from the Baptist Hymnal, 1956 edition, Nashville, Convention Press.