Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hymn of the Week: How Firm A Foundation

We sang this hymn in church this morning and I particularly struck by the words

The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
Most of us when singing this hymn tend to remember that our faith is secure or that God protects us. And these are true. In the midst of the hymn, we see (on multiple occasions) that God may not put us in favorable circumstances—but he is still our faithful foundation and he will still protect us and meet our needs.

It is well to remember that circumstances we perceive as negative and undesirable may be (and generally are) God's avenues for us to grow and become purer in His eyes....and that He is there to help us through them. The words of this hymn emphasize this.

How Firm A Foundation

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,
You, who unto Jesus 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,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and 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 woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

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

Even 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 has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

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