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Bethania Feb. 5, 2009 THE LOVE OF GOD

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THE LOVE OF GOD

Words and Music by Frederick M. Lehman, 1868–1953

The Lord your God is with you,

He is mighty to save.

He will take great delight in you,

He will quiet you with His love,

He will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

Never has God’s eternal love been described more vividly

than in the words of this greatly loved hymn:

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.

 

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 ev’ry stalk on earth a quill

and ev’ry man a scribe by trade

To write the love of God above

would drain the ocean dry,

Nor could the scroll contain the whole

tho stretched from sky to sky.

 

Chorus: O love of God, how rich and pure!

How measureless and strong!

It shall forevermore endure—

the saints’ and angels’ song.

Listen again to the words

that describe the depth of God’s love for us:

“measureless,”

“strong,”

“forevermore endure … ”

The unusual third stanza of the hymn

was a small part of an ancient poem

composed in 1096 by a Jewish songwriter,

Rabbi Mayer, in Worms, Germany.

The poem, entitled “Hadamut,”

was written in the Arabic language.

The lines were found one day in revised form

on the walls of a patient’s room

in an insane asylum after the patient’s death.

It is believed that the unknown patient,

during times of sanity,

adapted from the Jewish poem what is now the third verse of

this powerful hymn “The Love of God.”

The words of this third stanza were quoted one day

at a Nazarene tent meeting.

In the meeting was Frederick M. Lehman, a Nazarene pastor,

who described his reaction:

The profound depths of the lines

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 added the first two stanzas and chorus

to the existing third verse lines.

Pastor Lehman completed the hymn in 1917.

His daughter Claudia Mays assisted him with the music.

As we go into the day may the Love of God go with us.

May we experience the truth of this hymn

in every situation that comes our way.

May we carry the message of this song with us realizing that—

The love of God is greater far

than tongue or pen can ever tell,

May we be carried this day by

       The love of God, so rich and pure!

So measureless and strong!

Because only the love of God

shall forevermore endure

and grant us peace.[1]

In diesem Lied findet auch unsere Seele Gottvertrauen

       Hoffnung und Gelassenheit in Gott.

Wasimmer das Leben uns auch bringt,

       ob Stürme toben oder die Wasser uns ersäufen wollen,

       in Jesus, dem Heiland unserer Seelen,

       dürfen wir sicher und geborgen sein.


----

[1]Kenneth W. Osbeck, Amazing Grace : 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions, Includes Indexes. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 1990), 47.

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