Welcome!  Hymns have been and continue to be a real source of inspiration to me.  My desire in this blog is to share special hymns with my readers hoping that the words will minister to them, especially in times of great personal need.  If one of these hymns ministers to you, please take time to leave a comment so that I know that my blog is helping others as much as it helps me. Sometimes I will also provide a link where you can go to hear the hymn played.  So, please join me here each week and sing along as we praise God together.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

THE LOVE OF GOD

There are some folks who think that this week's hymn is the greatest hymn ever written. I'm not sure how one would judge that, but it is exceptional with a powerful message. And while we think of love on this Valentine's weekend, there is no love that even comes close to God's love for us. This hymn is actually of Jewish origin. The third verse dates back to the 11th Century, and was actually written first: Credit for the hymn itself goes to Frederick M. Lehman, though there are prior authors who contributed to it. The arrangement of Lehman's music was done by his daughter, Claudia L. Mays. Though an author and composer of more than 100 published hymns, most of Lehman's songs are not that well-known. Lehman wrote a pamphlet, in 1948, entitled History of the Song, The Love of God which tells about the origin of this beloved hymn "While at camp-meeting in a midwestern state, some fifty years ago in our early ministry, an evangelist climaxed his message by quoting the last stanza of this song. The profound depths of the line moved us to preserve the words for future generations. Not until we had come to California did this urge find fulfillment, and that at a time when circumstances forced us to hard manual labor. One day, during short intervals of inattention to our work, we picked up a scrap of paper and, seated upon an empty lemon box pushed against the wall, with a stub pencil, added the (first) two stanzas and chorus of the song. Since the lines (3rd stanza from the Jewish poem) had been found penciled on the wall of a patient's room in an insane asylum, the general opinion was that this inmate had written the epic in moments of sanity. Actually, the key-stanza (third verse) under question as to its authorship was written nearly one thousand years ago by a Jewish songwriter."

1. The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell.
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin.
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints' and angels' song.

2. When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God's love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam's race-
The saints' and angels' song.
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints' and angels' song.

3. Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints' and angels' song.

When I think of this hymn I think of hearing George Beverly Shea sing it. I have always loved his special voice and the way he ministers whenever he sings. You can listen to him sing it here. LISTEN

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