Wednesday, July 23, 2008

How Firm a Foundation

In church this week, as part of his sermon, the pastor shared some interesting information about an old beloved hymn, How Firm a Foundation. Quoting from the sermon notes:

"A believer's stability in this life, as well as his confidence for eternity, rests solely on the written promises of God's Word. The direction of the living God for our lives is very definite. It is found in a firm founda- tion-- the written revelation: 'Thus saith the LORD'.

"In the first stanza the sure foundation of the Christian faith is established as being the Word of God. This challenging questions is posed: What more can God do than provide His very Word as a completed revelation of Himself to man? The succeeding verses personalize precious promises from His Word:

"Verse Two-- Deuteron- omy 33:25-- as thy days, so shall thy strength be.

"Verse Three-- Isaiah 41:10-- Fear thou not, for I am with thee, be not dismayed, for I am thy God...

"Verse Four-- Isaiah 43:2-- When thou passest through the waters, I will be with the....

"Verse Five-- II Corinthians 12:9-- My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness....

"Verse Seven-- Hebrews 13:5-- I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.....

"This hymn was sung at the funerals of American presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. In addition, it was the favorite of President Andrews Jackson's beloved wife, and on his death-bed the warrior and statesman called for it. It was the favorite of General Robert E. Lee and was sung at his funeral. The American love and familiar preference for the remarkable hymn was never more strikingly illustrated than when on Christmas Eve, 1898, a whole corps of the United States Army Northern and Southern, encamped on the Quemados hills, near Havana, took up the sacred tune and words (see Brown, p. 206)."

How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said
Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?

In every condition, --in sickness, in health,
In poverty's vale, or abounding in wealth,
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea, --
The Lord, the Almighty, thy strength e'er shall be.

Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee thy troubles to bless
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flames shall not hurt thee; I only design
thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

E'en down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, no never, forsake!"

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