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Verses for the Week
Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.
(James 5:7-12 ESV)
Songs for the Week
I love the structure of this song: for each verse, we tell each other about redemption in Christ; in response, we all sing in chorus praise to our God! This is a great picture of corporate worship as we all teach each other and then respond in praise to God. Fanny Crosby, a prolific hymn writer, was characterized by joy, despite her disability as blind. She once stated, “Darkness may throw a shadow over my outer vision, but there is no cloud that can keep the sunlight of hope from a trustful soul.”
Robert Grant (1779-1838) based part of this hymn on Psalm 104, a psalm of praise. I encourage you to read that psalm this week and see how Grant used it in his lyrics. I especially appreciate his focus on the titles of Jesus: “Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.” As we struggle through the challenges of daily living, let us consistently place our trust in the King, the One who both made the world and yet also cares deeply about our souls, sinful though we be.
The Scripture passage this week exhorts us in how we should live as we wait for the Second Coming of the Lord. This song speaks of the joy that we shall have on that day if we belong to Him. My prayer is that this joy would truly be our motivation for patience (vs 7), not grumbling (vs. 9), and remaining steadfast (vs. 11). Let us continually fix our eyes on the joy God gives us and that we will have when He returns!
This modern hymn tells the story of Christ and gives us reasons for placing our hope in him. The first verse lays the foundation of the character of Christ: our Hope, our Light, our Strength, our Song, the Cornerstone, the Solid Ground, full of love, deep with peace, our Comforter, and our All in All. The second verse tells of the sacrifice involved in becoming flesh, from being a helpless baby to experiencing the wrath of God for the sins of all humankind. The third verse reveals the splendid victory as He conquered sin and death and rose from the grave. The final verse states that He gives us this same resurrection power and will keep us until His return.
To prepare us for the sermon, let us sing just verse two of this beautiful Irish hymn. May God indeed be our Wisdom and our True Word!
As we leave from the sermon, let us remember God’s promise to never leave us nor forsake us. As we strive to follow His will, we will run into difficulties, but God will always help us through them. The bridge of this song speaks of seeing a “light that will come for the heart that holds on.” As our passage for this week states, let us be patient and keep on doing God’s commandments until either He returns or we die and are welcomed into Heaven.