Daily Devotional (7/28/10): Anna & “The Love of God”

Since I concluded our Book Review of John Piper’s “What Jesus Demands From The World” yesterday, I have been wondering what I would focus on next.  My answer came from a very unexpected source.

This past Sunday (7/25), one of NBFMC’s long-time members and one of my childhood Sunday School Teachers went home to be with the Lord.  Anna was a great woman, who dared to teach elementary school-aged boys.  My memories of her involve feeling very loved and appreciated.  This positive relationship continued on throughout my teenage years and during my tenure as our church’s Youth Ministry Director.  She had spent the past 4 years in a personal care home and was beloved by her staff there.  It is my honor to conduct her funeral today, and I’m dedicating the next few devotionals to hymns that were favorites of hers.  Within these classic songs lie messages of wisdom for the current generation (regardless of your worship style preference).  Today’s Devotional comes from Anna’s favorite hymn:  “The Love of God”, which was written by Frederick Lehman in 1917.

Like many classic hymns, the story behind this song is very interesting.  The third stanza is actually based on a Jewish poem (“Hadamut”) that was originally written in Aramaic by a German Rabbi in 1096 A.D.  While Mr. Lehman was undertaking a job cleaning an insane asylum in California, he found the following scrawled on a wall in pencil:

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

This poem praising the vastness of God’s love was birthed in a place of great darkness and despair.  Moved by the words, Lehman picked up a scrap of paper and a stub of a pencil that he found nearby and added the first two stanzas and the chorus to create the song “The Love of God”.

The full lyrics are listed below and 4Him’s version of the song is attached in my Vodpod on this page. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life (Jude 1:21).”

The Love of God

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.

Chorus:
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

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.

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.

Published in: on July 28, 2010 at 9:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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