Thursday, August 31, 2023

More on that fourth generation

We might observe, however, that the fourth generation, when they live in the patriarch’s house, are very young children. By the time those children grow up and begin doing things, the patriarch will be dead, Thus the fourth generation is the first one that the patriarch is not going to see into adulthood, and anything this generation achieves will happen after the patriarch is gone, even under ideal conditions (compare Job 42:16, where Job “saw his children and their children to the fourth generation”).— The Lost World of the Israelite Conquest, 60

A failing grade

But we are failing our children miserably. In the United States, less than one In four children get at least an hour of physical activity a day. Girls exercise even less than boys, and older children are more sedentary than younger children. According to the World Health Organization, the picture worldwide is generally worse with more than 81 percent of children not getting an hour of daily physical activity. Many factors are to blame. Children today spend more time glued to screens both large and small, they walk less often to school, in some neighborhoods parks and streets are dangerous, and growing numbers of schools have let physical education slide to paltry levels. While most school districts require some physical education, only a shockingly tiny fraction provide enough. Just 11 percent of elementary school districts in the United States have regular classroom physical activity breaks during the school day; among high schools, the percentage plunges to 2 percent. And, true to my own experience, students typically spend more than half their time in classroom physical activities inactively, sitting on a bench or waiting in line to bat or dribble a ball. To make matters worse, competitive sports in many schools are exclusionary, leading to what Bradley Cardinal terms an “inverted” system in which the further students advance, the likelier they are to be sidelined or eliminated. All in all, we face a dire epidemic of physical inactivity among youth.—Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do is Healthy and Rewarding, 275

Thou didst leave thy throne

85. Margaret (Elliott). Irregular.

1 Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,
   When Thou camest to earth for me;
   But in Bethlehem's home was there found no room
   For Thy holy nativity.
   O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
   There is room in my heart for Thee.

2 Heaven's arches rang when the angels sang,
   Proclaiming Thy royal degree;
   But of lowly birth didst Thou come to earth,
   And in great humility.
   O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
   There is room in my heart for Thee.

3 The foxes found rest, and the birds their nest
   In the shade of the forest tree;
   But Thy couch was the sod, O Thou Son of God,
   In the deserts of Galilee.
   O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
   There is room in my heart for Thee.

4 Thou camest, O Lord, with the living word
   That should set Thy people free;
   But with mocking scorn, and with crown of thorn,
   They bore Thee to Calvary.
   O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
   There is room in my heart for Thee.

5 When the heavens shall ring, and the angels sing,
   At Thy coming to victory,
   Let Thy voice call me home, saying "Yet there is room,
   There is room at My side for thee."
   My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus,
   When Thou comest and callest for me.
                         Emily E. S. Elliott
                        The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
I don't recall singing this one very often growing up, but the refrain always struck me; I saw it as a prayer. Even today, it beckons me to turn aside from the cares and bustle of life to meditate on Jesus.
</idle musing>

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

What exactly does to the third and fourth generation mean?

The phrase “fourth generation” has idiomatic value, as in the phrase “punishing . . . to the [third and] fourth generation” (Ex 20:5, 34:7; Num 14:18; Deut 5:9). In this context it refers to the entire household, with the four generations being the patriarch, his children, his grandchildren, and his great-grandchildren, all of whom would live together as an extended family (bét-’ab, lit. “father’s house”).— The Lost World of the Israelite Conquest, 59

Get those kids moving!

Young people need to move. Because our thrifty physiologies evolved to build capacity in response to demand, suflicient physical activity during the first decades of life is indispensable for developing a healthy body. At least an hour a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity reduces children’s risk of obesity and helps them grow healthy muscles, bones, hearts, blood vessels, digestive systems, and even brains. Children who get more physical activity learn more and are smarter, happier, and less prone to depression and other mood disorders.—Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do is Healthy and Rewarding, 275

As with gladness men of old

90. Dix. 7. 7. 7. 7. 7. 7.

1 As with gladness men of old
   did the guiding star behold;
   as with joy they hailed its light,
   leading onward, beaming bright;
   so, most gracious God, may we
   evermore be led to Thee.

2 As with joyful steps they sped
   to that lowly cradle-bed,
   there to bend the knee before
   Him whom heav'n and earth adore;
   so may we with willing feet
   ever seek Thy mercy-seat.

3 As they offered gifts most rare
   at that cradle rude and bare;
   so may we with holy joy,
   pure, and free from sin’s alloy,
   all our costliest treasures bring,
   Christ, to Thee, our heav'nly King.

4 Holy Jesus, every day
   keep us in the narrow way;
   and, when earthly things are past,
   bring our ransomed lives at last
   where they need no star to guide,
   where no clouds Thy glory hide.
                         William C. Dix
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing> adds a fifth verse, which I had never heard before:

5 In that heav'nly country bright
   need they no created light;
   Thou its Light, its Joy, its Crown,
   Thou its Sun which goes not down;
   there for ever may we sing
   alleluias to our King.
I do love the fact that this carol doesn't leave Jesus in the manger the way so many do.
</idle musing>

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Inerrancy, again!

I just ran across this post on inerrancy and Russell Moore’s book. Go ahead and read it. I'll wait.

Good. She definitely is no fan of inerrancy, is she? Neither am I, but after reading it I mused as follows:

But isn’t there a place for the authority of scripture without inerrancy? Is it all or nothing? I’ve never believed in inerrancy, but I believe in the authority of scripture as prima scriptura—but the science nerd in me loves the findings of science. Perhaps the problem isn’t inerrancy itself, but the sola scriptura that it entails (or maybe it's the other way around, sola scriptura demands inerrancy)? I’m reminded of a line in Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place where she says her father loved the findings of science and would pray to the God who set the atoms dancing and other such things. For me the findings of science incite the same feeling. Sometimes just as much as a cool new insight into a Greek or Hebrew text in scripture that I read—and sometimes even more!

Because I believe in prima scripture, though, I hold to a traditional view of morality. But—and this is where most people go off the rails—I don't see God as an angry parent, just waiting to club you into submission, or worse yet, an even more omnipotent version of Zeus on the rampage with his lightning bolt. I don't, and never have, believed in the popular version of penal substitution—and I definitely have problems with the "official" theological version of it. If you have to peg me, I would be a Christus victor person, but as Scot McKnight says in his A Community Called Atonement, theories of atonement are like a golf bag full of clubs. You don't hit a drive with a putter! And remember, the church didn't really have a "theory of atonement" for its first thousand years or so! The emphasis was on the redeeming, wooing, self-emptying love of God for humanity.

Ok, I've moved far from the origin of this and am riffing on my favorite topic now, which is the love of God for humanity as displayed in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, followed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit so that we can live in communion with him, now and forever. (That's mouthful, isn't it?)


By the way, I know I've linked to this video before, but I really like it because it sums up the problems with much Western theology. It's only nine minutes long, and it's probably one of the best uses you can put nine minutes to (what a rotten sentence grammatically!).

More on that retribution principle (hint: it ain't)

God can strike without cause, but God does not strike without purpose. This was true of Job; it was true of the man born blind; and, as we will see, it was also true of the people of Canaan. Job suffered terribly, but his friends were nonetheless wrong to assume that his suffering was earned through evil. The man born blind also suffered, but Jesus’ disciples were wrong to assume that his suffering was earned through evil. When we see the people of Canaan suffer, therefore, we dare not assume that their suffering must have been earned through evil. Biblical theology does not allow us to automatically suppose that punishment for wrongdoing is the motivation behind God’s actions.— The Lost World of the Israelite Conquest, 37

Tozer for Tuesday

And then there is slander. Some people are so desperately jittery that somebody will slander them. Christ was slandered, but did it do Him any harm? They said He had a devil and a great many other terrible things about Him but it never hurt Jesus any. It never changed the love of God for His Son; it never took away the crown from the heart and head of the Savior. It never made Him any less than He was. It never closed up a single room in the mansion of His soul; it never in any wise harmed Him. Slander never hurt anybody.—A.W. Tozer, Living as a Christian, 163

Joy to the World!

89 Antioch. C. M.

1 Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
   Let earth receive her King!
   Let every heart prepare Him room,
   and heav'n and nature sing,
   and heav'n and nature sing,
   and heav'n, and heav'n and nature sing.

2 Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
   Let men their songs employ,
   while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
   repeat the sounding joy,
   repeat the sounding joy,
   repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

3 No more let sins and sorrows grow,
   nor thorns infest the ground;
   He comes to make His blessings flow
   far as the curse is found,
   far as the curse is found,
   far as, far as the curse is found.

4 He rules the world with truth and grace,
   and makes the nations prove
   the glories of His righteousness
   and wonders of His love,
   and wonders of His love,
   and wonders, wonders of His love.
                         Isaac Watts
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
If ever there was the classic Christmas carol, this is the one. Watts outdoes himself in this one. It's always been one of my favorites.
</idle musing>

Monday, August 28, 2023

Job, Suffering, and God's purposes

God submits his policies to the test, and Job's suffering begins. At this point, Job offers a policy criticism of his own; blessing the righteous may be ethically counterproductive, but allowing them to suffer is theologically counterintuitive. Nonetheless, if Job succeeds in forcing God to account for himself and explain his actions in terms of cause, the adversary will win the case; in doing so, God would be forced to admit that the world fundamentally operates in terms of the retribution principle and that deviations from its tenets are bad policy or poor execution on the part of God. God never gives such an account in the book of Job; if we wish to represent God properly, we should not rush to give account on his behalf, either. God’s wisdom, not God’s justice, forms the basis of God’s activity in the world. Faith trusts that God is wise and that therefore his purposes are good, even if they don’t seem that way to any system we can understand. God does not need to be defended; he wants to be trusted.— The Lost World of the Israelite Conquest, 35

<idle musing>
You need to underline, frame, highlight, whatever it takes to keep this in mind: "God does not need to be defended; he wants to be trusted."

Seems people are always rushing to defend God. He's perfectly capable of taking care of himself! After all, he's been doing it since before the creation of the world!

Now, if you believe that God is good and loving, that comes more naturally. But, if your god is vengeful and angry, I urge you to read the Gospels, or Hosea (especially). That God isn't vengeful; he loves us and is wooing us to himself to heal us and set us free.
</idle musing>

While shepherds watched their flocks

88 Christmas. C. M.

1 While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
   all seated on the ground,
   the angel of the Lord came down,
   and glory shone around, and glory shone around.

2 "Fear not," said he for mighty dread
   had seized their troubled mind
   "glad tidings of great joy I bring
   to you and all mankind, to you and all mankind.

3 "To you, in David's town, this day
   is born of David's line
   the Savior, who is Christ the Lord;
   and this shall be the sign, and this shall be the sign:

4 "The heavenly babe you there shall find
   to human view displayed,
   all simply wrapped in swaddling clothes
   and in a manger laid,, and in a manger laid."

5 Thus spake the seraph. And forthwith
   appeared a shining throng
   of angels praising God, on high
   who thus addressed their song:

6 "All glory be to God on high,
   and to the earth be peace;
   to those on whom his favor rests
   goodwill shall never cease!"
                         Nahum Tate
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
The author's biography is a sad story, but they do list quite a few hymns by him that are still being sung besides this one.
</idle musing>

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Angels, from the realm of glory

87 Regent Square. 8. 7.8 .7. 8. 7.

1 Angels from the realms of glory,
   wing your flight o'er all the earth;
   ye who sang creation's story
   now proclaim Messiah's birth:

   Come and worship, come and worship,
   worship Christ, the newborn king.

2 Shepherds, in the field abiding,
   watching o'er your flocks by night,
   God with us is now residing;
   yonder shines the infant light: [Refrain]

3 Sages, leave your contemplations,
   brighter visions beam afar;
   seek the great Desire of nations;
   ye have seen his natal star: [Refrain]

4 Saints, before the altar bending,
   Watching lon in hope and fear,
   Suddenly the Lord, descending,
   In His temple shall appear: [Refrain]
                         James Montgomery
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Hark! The herald angels sing

86 Mendelssohn 7. 7. 7. 7. D. with refrain

1 Hark! the herald angels sing,
   "Glory to the newborn King:
   peace on earth, and mercy mild,
   God and sinners reconciled!"
   Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
   join the triumph of the skies;
   with th'angelic hosts proclaim,
   "Christ is born in Bethlehem!"
   Hark! the herald angels sing,
   "Glory to the newborn King."

2 Christ, by highest heaven adored,
   Christ, the everlasting Lord,
   late in time behold him come,
   offspring of the Virgin's womb:
   veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
   hail th'incarnate Deity,
   pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
   Jesus, our Immanuel.
   Hark! the herald angels sing,
   "Glory to the newborn King."

3 Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
   Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
   Light and life to all he brings,
   risen with healing in his wings.
   Mild he lays his glory by,
   born that we no more may die,
   born to raise us from the earth,
   born to give us second birth.
   Hark! the herald angels sing,
   "Glory to the newborn King."
                         Charles Wesley
                         Altered by George Whitefield
                        The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
I don't generally like it when people alter hymns, but Whitefield definitely improved this one. The other one that I think was an improvement from Wesley's version is the standard Easter hymn "Christ the Lord is risen today."

About eight or nine years ago, I ran across the remaining verses that Wesley penned to this hymn, which I wish hadn't been largely lost to the hymn-singing world.

4. Come, Desire of nations, come,
   Fix in us Thy humble home;
   Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
   Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
   Now display Thy saving power,
   Ruined nature now restore;
   Now in mystic union join
   Thine to ours, and ours to Thine. [Refrain]

5. Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
   Stamp Thine image in its place:
   Second Adam from above,
   Reinstate us in Thy love.
   Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
   Thee, the Life, the inner man:
   O, to all Thyself impart,
   Formed in each believing heart. [Refrain]

Some really good theology in those verses!
</idle musing>

Friday, August 25, 2023

He's got the whole world…

In the ancient Near East curses, “the punishing deity does not pursue his people in exile. He cannot, since it is the territory of another god,”—Jacob Milgrom, Leviticus 23–27: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, AB 3B (New York: Doubleday, 2001), 2322.

<idle musing>
But YHWH can and does. What does that say about YHWH? He's not territorial bound—the whole world is his dominion. As the psalmist says,

Where could I go to get away
from your spirit?
     Where could I go to escape
     your presence?
If I went up to heaven,
you would be there.
     If I went down to the grave,
     you would be there too!
If I could fly on the wings of dawn,
     stopping to rest only
     on the far side of the ocean—
          even there your hand would guide me;
          even there your strong hand
     would hold me tight!
If I said, “The darkness will definitely hide me;
     the light will become night around me,”
     even then the darkness
     isn’t too dark for you!
          Nighttime would shine bright as day,
     because darkness is the same
     as light to you!
Depending on how you see God, that can be very comforting—or terrifying!
</idle musing>

Order or happiness?

There is some overlap between happiness and order, but while we moderns tend to value order only insofar as it serves as a means to human happiness, the ancients would have valued human happiness only insofar as it occurred in the appropriate context within the ordered system. In the ancient perspective, failing to harm or destroy a people who are behaving contrary to order would be bad no matter how happy they are; likewise, harming or destroying those people would be good no matter how much they suffer. This was part of the cognitive environment of the ancient world and was what ancient writers meant when they used the word that translators render in English as good.— The Lost World of the Israelite Conquest, 22 (emphasis original )

Hail to the Lord's Anointed!

85 Ellacome. 7. 6. 7. 6. D.

1. Hail to the Lord's Anointed,
   great David's greater Son!
   Hail in the time appointed,
   his reign on earth begun!
   He comes to break oppression,
   to set the captive free;
   to take away transgression,
   and rule in equity.

2. He comes with succor speedy
   to those who suffer wrong;
   to help the poor and needy,
   and bid the weak be strong;
   to give them songs for sighing,
   their darkness turn to light,
   whose souls, condemned and dying,
   are precious in his sight.

3. He shall come down like showers
   upon the fruitful earth;
   love, joy, and hope, like flowers,
   spring in his path to birth.
   Before him on the mountains,
   shall peace, the herald, go,
   and righteousness, in fountains,
   from hill to valley flow.

4. To him shall prayer unceasing
   and daily vows ascend;
   his kingdom still increasing,
   a kingdom without end.
   The tide of time shall never
   his covenant remove;
   his name shall stand forever;
   that name to us is love.
                         James Montgomery
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
I don't recall singing this Advent hymn while growing up, but whenever I read the words as I would skim through the hymnal, I thought it was a really good summation of the social gospel side of Christ's advent.
</idle musing>

Thursday, August 24, 2023

The nomistic approach to the conquest narratives

A nomistic approach to the Bible sees the text as a collection of commands, demonstrations, and illustrations of principles that, if obeyed or imitated, will produce goodness.

This approach creates an immediate difficulty with passages like the conquest account, since such passages contain commands or record actions that we do not think produce goodness. Consequently, the tendency of many nomistic interpreters is to infer all manner of horrific crimes committed by the Canaanites in order to make Joshua’s actions seem good and thereby form the basis of a rule that we can feel comfortable imitating (“God commands us to remove evil from the world by taking action against evil people”). This interpretation is problematic…— The Lost World of the Israelite Conquest, 18

Come, Thou long expected Jesus

84 Hyfrydol. 8. 7. 8. 7. D.

1. Come, thou long expected Jesus,
   born to set thy people free;
   from our fears and sins release us,
   let us find our rest in thee.
   Israel's strength and consolation,
   hope of all the earth thou art;
   dear desire of every nation,
   joy of every longing heart.

2. Born thy people to deliver,
   born a child and yet a King,
   born to reign in us forever,
   now thy gracious kingdom bring.
   By thine own eternal spirit
   rule in all our hearts alone;
   by thine all sufficient merit,
   raise us to thy glorious throne.
                         Charles Wesley
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
Although most hymnals only include those two verses, Wesley did write more verses; here's sample from

1 Come, Thou long-expected Jesus,
   born to set Thy people free;
   from our fears and sins release us;
   let us find our rest in Thee.
   Israel's strength and consolation,
   hope of all the earth Thou art,
   dear Desire of ev'ry nation,
   joy of every longing heart.

2 Joy to those who long to see Thee,
   Dayspring from on high, appear;
   come, Thou promised Rod of Jesse,
   of Thy birth we long to hear!
   O'er the hills the angels singing
   news, glad tidings of a birth:
   "Go to Him, your praises bringing;
   Christ the Lord has come to earth."

3 Come to earth to taste our sadness,
   He whose glories knew no end;
   by His life He brings us gladness,
   our Redeemer, Shepherd, Friend.
   Leaving riches without number,
   born within a cattle stall;
   this the everlasting wonder,
   Christ was born the Lord of all.

4 Born Thy people to deliver,
   born a child and yet a King,
   born to reign in us forever,
   now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
   By thine own eternal Spirit,
   rule in all our hearts alone;
   by Thine own eternal merit,
   raise us to Thy glorious throne.

</idle musing>

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

New book

Well, not really new. It came out in 2017, so new in the sense that we're starting to excerpt from it. As I said a couple of weeks ago, I read it earlier this year, but wasn't sure what to make of some of it, so I started rereading it. It's been a bit slow in the reread because of the time of year. I've been doing quite a bit of garden and yard work. Because I use a reel mower and am mowing the neighbor's yard as well, it takes me about 2.5 hours, plus another 1.5 hours to trim. That doesn't sound like much, but that's 4 hours away from reading. And, I've added in a chapter of the Hebrew Bible and a chapter of the Greek New Testament each day, too. And, of course, there's the garden and then we tend to go for longer walks in the summer. So, as you can see, it all adds up.

OK, enough on the apologies! Here's the first excerpt:

We propose that the Bible is given to us not to provide a list of rules for behavior but to reveal God’s plans and purposes to us, which in turn will allow us to participate with him in those plans and purposes. We believe that God’s plans and purposes are good and that by our participation we will contribute to the manifestation of that goodness in some way. When we get to the conquest, it is easy to become confused about how God's plans and purposes represented there are good and how they should affect our thinking about his goodness and ours.— The Lost World of the Israelite Conquest, 15–16

O come, O come, Immanuel

83 Veni Immanuel 8. 8. 8. 8. 8. 8.

1 O come, O come, Immanuel,
   And ransome captive Israel
   That mourns in lonely exile here
   Until the Son of God appear.
   Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
   Shall come to thee, O Israel.

2 O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
   And order all thing, far and nigh;
   To us the path of knowledge show,
   And cause us in her ways to go.
   Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
   Shall come to thee, O Israel.

3 O come, Desire of nations, bind
   All peoples in one hear and mind;
   Bid envy, strife, and quarrels cease;
   Fill the whole world with heaven's peace.
   Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
   Shall come to thee, O Israel.
                         From the Latin, 12th century
                         Stanza 1 tr. by John M. Neal
                         Stanzas 2, 3 tr. by Henry S. Coffin
                        The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
Wow. I didn't realize there were so many variations on this hymn! But I guess that makes sense; it is a thirteenth century Latin hymn that has been translated by various people over the years. The Methodist Hymnal I'm reading through (well, really singing through as I read them!) says that only their verse 1 is translated by the primary translator; the other two are by Henry S. Coffin (yes, the president of Union Theological Seminary Henry Sloane Coffin!).

Here's's authoritative text; note that it has a lot more verses:

1 O come, O come, Immanuel,
   and ransom captive Israel
   that mourns in lonely exile here
   until the Son of God appear.

   Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
   shall come to you, O Israel.

2 O come, O Wisdom from on high,
   who ordered all things mightily;
   to us the path of knowledge show
   and teach us in its ways to go. Refrain

3 O come, O come, great Lord of might,
   who to your tribes on Sinai's height
   in ancient times did give the law
   in cloud and majesty and awe. Refrain

4 O come, O Branch of Jesse's stem,
   unto your own and rescue them!
   From depths of hell your people save,
   and give them victory o'er the grave. Refrain

5 O come, O Key of David, come
   and open wide our heavenly home.
   Make safe for us the heavenward road
   and bar the way to death's abode. Refrain

6 O come, O Bright and Morning Star,
   and bring us comfort from afar!
   Dispel the shadows of the night
   and turn our darkness into light. Refrain

7 O come, O King of nations, bind
   in one the hearts of all mankind.
   Bid all our sad divisions cease
   and be yourself our King of Peace. Refrain

I must say that I never expected blogging through these hymnals would turn into such an interesting adventure!
</idle musing>

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Tozer for a Tuesday

A double header today:

Unless you open the gate and let the devil in, he is totally harmless and cannot injure anybody except as he is allowed to get in.—A.W. Tozer, Living as a Christian, 158

Why should we always be devil conscious? I have met people that were in such contact with the devil that he was breathing on their neck all the time and they were always praying and almost frantically praying, “O Lord, deliver me and help me.” I could see that sometime during your lifetime you might have a run-in with the devil where you would have to really get down and pray. But for the most part, if you would forget about the devil and focus your attention on the eternal, everlasting, victorious Son of God, you would break the devil’s heart and render him powerless.—A.W. Tozer, Living as a Christian, 159–60 (emphasis added)

High in the heavens, Isaac Watts

82 De Pauw. L. M.

1 High in the heav’ns, eternal God,
   Thy goodness in full glory shines;
   Thy truth shall break through ev’ry cloud
   That veils and darkens Thy designs.

2 For ever firm Thy justice stands,
   As mountains their foundations keep;
   Wise are the wonders of Thy hands;
   Thy judgments are a mighty deep.

3 My God, how excellent Thy grace,
   Whence all our hope and comfort springs!
   The sons of Adam in distress
   Fly to the shadow of Thy wings.

4 Life, like a fountain rich and free,
   Springs from the presence of the Lord;
   And in Thy light our souls shall see
   The glories promised in Thy Word.
                         Isaac Watts
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing> inserts a third verse:

3 Thy providence is kind and large,
   Both man and beast Thy bounty share;
   The whole creation is Thy charge,
   But saints are Thy peculiar care.
And after our verse 3, as verse 5
5 From the provisions of Thy house
   We shall be fed with sweet repast;
   When mercy like a river flows,
   And brings salvation to our taste.
</idle musing>

Monday, August 21, 2023

Psalm 103, another hymn

80 Stuttgart. 8. 7. 8. 7.

1 O my soul, bless your Redeemer;
   all within me bless God's Name;
   bless the Savior, and forget not
   all God's mercies to proclaim.

2 God forgives all your transgressions,
   all diseases gently heals;
   God redeems you from destruction,
   and with you so kindly deals.

3 Far as east from west is distant,
   God has put away our sin;
   like the pity of a father
   has the Lord's compassion been.

4 As it was without beginning,
   so it lasts without an end;
   to their children's children ever
   shall God's righteousness extend.

5 Unto such as keep God's cov’nant
   and are steadfast in God's way;
   unto those who still remember
   the commandments and obey.

6 Bless your Maker, all you creatures,
   ever under God's control,
   all throughout God's vast dominion;
   bless the LORD of all, my soul!
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

</idle musing>
This psalm seems to invite hymns, this being the second one in this hymnal. Sadly, this hymnal doesn't contain a scripture index, so I can't tell if more are coming. We'll just have to wait and see.

I was a part of a Plymouth Brethren splinter group back in the mid- to late 1970s that used to sing Psalm 103 from the NASB; I can still remember most of it and find myself occasionally singing it. Quite a powerful psalm.
</idle musing>

Sunday, August 20, 2023

To the name that is salvation

79 Oriel. 8. 7. 8. 7. 8. 7.

1. To the name that is salvation,
   Praise and homage let us pay;
   Life of every generation,
   Law that all the stars obey;
   Love and light by whose creation
   All that is stands fast today.

2. Fairest name beyond all speaking,
   Fullest end of all desire,
   Close, yet far beyond all seeking,
   Goodness, beauty, truth, entire;
   Wisdom, never vengeance wreaking,
   Radiance never vexed with ire.

3. ’Tis the name of mercy, speeding,
   Just and unjust with His ray;
   Power that rules by patient leading,
   Not by force, the easier way;
   So that man, in freedom heeding,
   May the law of love obey.

4. Name of awe and name of pleasure,
   Glow divine of grace untold;
   Sum of values, whose full treasure
   Striving art can ne’er unfold;
   Sea of virtue passing measure,
   Life that doth all life uphold.

5. Hail, O Father, all creating,
   Now, as when the world began;
   Master mind, amazed we hail Thee,
   As the light-year depths we scan;
   Spirit of transcendent union,
   True and just Thy ways to man!
                         Percy Dearmer
                        The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Psalm 103, a hymn

77 Regent Square. 8. 7. 8. 7. 8. 7.

1 Praise, my soul, the King of heaven;
   to his feet your tribute bring.
   Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
   evermore his praises sing.
   Alleluia, alleluia!
   Praise the everlasting King!

2 Praise him for his grace and favor
   to his people in distress.
   Praise him, still the same as ever,
   slow to chide, and swift to bless.
   Alleluia, alleluia!
   Glorious in his faithfulness!

3 Fatherlike he tends and spares us
  ; well our feeble frame he knows.
   In his hand he gently bears us,
   rescues us from all our foes.
   Alleluia, alleluia!
   Widely yet his mercy flows!

4 Angels, help us to adore him;
   you behold him face to face.
   Sun and moon, bow down before him,
   dwellers all in time and space.
   Alleluia, alleluia!
   Praise with us the God of grace!
                         From Psalm 103
                         Henry F. Lyte
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

Friday, August 18, 2023

book seller or book trader

"Every word written from the heart holds a Mystery. The reader reveals it by building a whole from the sentences recognized by the consciousness. A book is a Family of mysteries. Booksellers are grandparents who love all their family members. That is why they can tell customers about the contents of the books. Booksellers who can't do this are not grandparents. They are just traders."—from the movie The Last Bookshop of the World, cited in Shelf Awareness

I'd like to think that I was a bookseller, and not just a book trader…

There's a wideness in God's mercy

76 Wellesley. 8. 7. 8. 7.

1 There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
   like the wideness of the sea.
   There’s a kindness in God’s justice,
   which is more than liberty.

2 There is welcome for the sinner,
   and more graces for the good.
   There is mercy with the Savior,
   there is healing in his blood.

3 For the love of God is broader
   than the measures of the mind,
   and the heart of the Eternal
   is most wonderfully kind.

4 If our love were but more simple,
   we should rest upon God’s word,
   and our lives would be illumined
   by the presence of our Lord.
                         Frederick W. Faber
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
I've always loved this hymn from the time I was a child. It speaks wonderfully of the expansive love of God. Interestingly, especially for a Methodist hymnal, there appears to be a verse that is inserted after verse 2 that was omitted.

But we make God’s love too narrow
   by false limits of our own,
   and we magnify its strictness
   with a zeal God will not own.
That's a good Methodist sentiment; not sure why they omitted it.

The other interesting thing I just learned is that the author, Faber, was raised strict Calvinist! He later converted to Roman Catholicism, but said that his role models for hymns were the Wesleys, William Cowper, and John Newton. Fascinating stuff that I'm discovering in blogging through this very familiar hymnal!
</idle musing>

Thursday, August 17, 2023

His mercy brightens all the path in which we rove

75 Stuttgart. 8. 7. 8. 7.

1 God is Love; His mercy brightens
   All the path in which we rove;
   Bliss He wakes and woe He lightens:
   God is wisdom, God is love.

2 Chance and change are busy ever;
   Man decays, and ages move;
   But His mercy waneth never:
   God is wisdom, God is love.

3 E'en the hour that darkest seemeth
   Will His changeless goodnees prove;
   From the gloom His brighness streameth;
   God is wisdom, God is love.

4 He with earthly cares entwineth
   Hope and comfort from above;
   Everywhere His glory shineth;
   God is wisdom, God is love.
                         John Bowring
                        The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
Interestingly, he is Unitarian, which explains the lack of reference to the Trinity or Jesus, just the generic references to God
</idle musing>

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Within the secret place of God

74 Tallis' Canon (evening hymn). L. M.

1. The man who once has found abode
   Within the secret place of God,
   Shall with Almighty God abide,
   And in His shadow safely hide.

2. I of the Lord my God will say,
   He is my refuge and my stay;
   To Him for safety I will flee;
   My God, in Him my trust will be.

3. He shall with all protecting care
   Preserve thee from the fowler’s snare;
   When fearful plagues around prevail,
   No fatal stroke shall thee assail.

4. His outspread pinions shall thee hide;
   Beneath His wings shalt thou confide;
   His faithfulness shall ever be
   A shield and buckler unto thee.

5. No nightly terrors shall alarm;
   No deadly shaft by day shall harm;
   Nor pestilence that walks by night,
   Nor plagues that waste in noonday light.

6. Because thy trust is God alone,
   Thy dwelling place the Highest One,
   No evil shall upon thee come,
   Nor plague approach thy guarded home.
                         United Presbyterian Book of Psalms 1871
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
As you probably can tell, it is based on Psalm 91. I was unfamiliar with this hymn—I don't recall ever singing it as a kid. According to, Cyberhymnal adds a seventh verse:

7. At thy right hand, though thousands die,
   No harm shall unto thee come nigh;
   But thou, secure, unharmed, shalt see
   What wicked men’s reward shall be.
<idle musing>

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

An alternative to pesticides

About a week ago we went to a thrift store. As usual, I looked through the books. Normally I don't find anything, but once in a while I discover something worth buying. Last week was one of those times. I found a gardening book about pesticides and herbicides by a University of Minnesota professor. He examines the various options, organic and synthetic, to control garden problems, be they weeds or bugs. He isn't against synthetics, but he very firmly believes that whenever possible, organic methods are best. But, he also believes the following, which has been my experience over the years as well:
From nematodes to insect diseases, a plethora of avenues exist to treat for insects without resorting to synthetic or organic insecticides. But why bother with insect control at all if you don’t have to? One of my favorite ways to deal with pests is by ignoring them and instead concentrating on getting plants to grow as vigorously as possible. A healthy and growing plant is better able to tolerate insect damage than one that isn’t and often eliminates the need for insecticides.—The Truth about Organic Gardening, 66
He goes on to say that a plant can lose as much as 1/3 of its leaves and still be fruitful.

Tozer for a Tuesday

Americanism is not Christianity. The kingdom of God has no nationality. The kingdom of God has only the human race within its broad framework and the Son of man as its head and King.—A.W. Tozer, Living as a Christian, 151

<idle musing>
Tozer was no friend of Christian nationalism! Remember, too, that these sermons were delivered in the late 1950s or early 1960s, long before our current surge in Christian nationalism.
</idle musing>

Be still, my soul

73 Finlandia. 10. 10. 10. 10. 10. 10.

1 Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side;
   Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
   Leave to thy God to order and provide;
   In ev'ry change He faithful will remain.
   Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav'nly Friend
   Thro' thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

2 Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
   To guide the future as He has the past.
   Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
   All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
   Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
   His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

3 Be still, my soul: the hour is hast'ning on
   When we shall be forever with the Lord,
   When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
   Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
   Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
   all safe and blessed we shall meet at last.
                         Katharine von Schlegel
                         Translated by Jane L. Borthwick
The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
I've always loved the haunting melody of this hymn, and as I've grown older, I also have come to appreciate the quiet assurance that it provides. inserts a verse after the second verse and adds a fifth one, neither of which I had ever heard before:

3 Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
   And all is darkened in the veil of tears,
   Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
   Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
   Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
   from His own fullness all He takes away.

5 Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
   On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;
   Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
   So shall He view thee with a well-pleased eye.
   Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
   Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.

</idle musing>

Monday, August 14, 2023

This is my Father's world

72 Terra Beata. S. M. D.

1 This is my Father's world,
   And to my listening ears
   All nature sings, and round me rings
   The music of the spheres.
   This is my Father's world:
   I rest me in the thought
   Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas—
   His hand the wonders wrought.

2 This is my Father's world:
   The birds their carols raise,
   The morning light, the lily white,
   Declare their Maker's praise.
   This is my Father's world:
   He shines in all that's fair;
   In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,
   He speaks to me everywhere.

3 This is my Father's world:
   O let me ne'er forget
   That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
   God is the Ruler yet.
   This is my Father's world:
   Why should my heart be sad?
   The Lord is King: let the heavens ring!
   God reigns; let earth be glad!
                        Maltie D. Babcock
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
For a long time I disliked this hymn. I felt it was too trite and didn't take enough account into the fallenness of the world. But as I've grown older, I've come to value the way it looks at things through God's eyes and the reconstructive effects of the resurrection and ascension of Christ.
</idle musing>

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Thy mercies set us free!

71 Praetorius. C. M.

1 How are thy servants blest, O Lord!
   How sure is their defense!
   Eternal wisdom is their guide,
   Their help Omnipotence.

2 From all our griefs and fears, O Lord!
   Thy mercy sets us free;
   While in the confidence of pray'r
   Our hearts take hold on thee.

3 In midst of dangers, fears, and death,
   Thy goodness I'll adore;
   And praise thee for thy mercies past,
   And humbly hope for more.

4 My life, while thou preserv'st my life,
   Thy sacrifice shall be;
   And, oh! may death, when death shall come,
   Unite my soul to thee!
                         Joseph Addison
                        The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing> insert 4 verses after verse 1 in the version taken from A Collection of Hymns and Prayers, for Public and Private Worship:

2 In foreign realms and lands remote,
   Supported by thy care,
   They pass unhurt thr' burning climes,
   And breathe in tainted air.

3 Thy mercy sweetens ev'ry soil,
   Makes ev'ry region please;
   the hoary frozen hills it warms,
   And smooths the boist'rous seas.

4 Tho' by the dreadful tempest toss'd,
   High on the broken wave,
   They know thou art not slow to hear,
   Nor impotent to save.

5 The storm is laid, the winds retire,
   Obedient to thy will;
   The sea, that roars at thy command,
   At thy command is still.

</idle musing>

Saturday, August 12, 2023

The Lord's my shepherd (hymn)

70 Martyrdom (Avon). C. M.

1 The LORD’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want.
   He makes me down to lie
   in pastures green; He leadeth me
   the quiet waters by.

2 My soul He doth restore again;
   and me to walk doth make
   within the paths of righteousness,
   e’en for his own name’s sake.

3 Yea, though I walk thro' death’s dark vale,
   yet will I fear no ill;
   for Thou art with me, and Thy rod
   and staff me comfort still.

4 My table Thou hast furnished
   in presence of my foes;
   my head Thou dost with oil anoint,
   and my cup overflows.

5 Goodness and mercy all my life
   shall surely follow me:
   and in God’s house forevermore
   my dwelling place shall be.
                         Scottish Psalter, 1650
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing> credits this to Francis Rous, who wrote a collection of hymns based on the Psalms.
</idle musing>

Friday, August 11, 2023

I'll drop my burden at his feet, and bear a song away

69 Dennis. S. M.

1 How gentle God’s commands!
   How kind His precepts are!
   Come, cast your burdens on the Lord,
   And trust His constant care.

2 While Providence supports,
   Let saints securely dwell;
   That hand which bears all nature up
   Shall guard His children well.

3 Why should this anxious load
   Press down your weary mind?
   Haste to your heavenly Father’s throne,
   And sweet refreshment find.

4 His goodness stands approved,
   Down to the present day:
   I’ll drop my burden at His feet,
   And bear a song away.
                         Philip Doddridge
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
Doddridge knew a good bit about trouble, as his short bio shows. So when he writes lines like "I'll drop my burden at his feet, / and bear a song away," he knows of what he speaks. That being said, this hymn spoke to me today; it was just what I needed to hear.
</idle musing>

Thursday, August 10, 2023

God moves in a mysterious way (hymn)

68 Dundee (French). C. M.

1 God moves in a mysterious way
   His wonders to perform;
   He plants His footsteps in the sea
   and rides upon the storm.

2 Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
   the clouds you so much dread
   are big with mercy and shall break
   in blessings on your head.

3 Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
   but trust Him for His grace;
   behind a frowning providence
   He hides a smiling face.

4 His purposes will ripen fast,
   unfolding ev'ry hour;
   the bud may have a bitter taste,
   but sweet will be the flow'r.

5 Blind unbelief is sure to err,
   and scan His work in vain;
   God is His own interpreter,
   and He will make it plain.
                         William Cowper
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing> inserts a verse after verse 1:

Deep in unfathomable mines
   of never-failing skill;
   He treasures up his bright designs,
   and works His sov'reign will.
</idle musing>

Wednesday, August 09, 2023

A Mighty Fortress!

67 Ein feste Burg. 8. 7. 8. 7. 6. 6. 6. 6. 7.

1 A mighty fortress is our God,
   a bulwark never failing;
   our helper he, amid the flood
   of mortal ills prevailing.
   For still our ancient foe
   does seek to work us woe;
   his craft and power are great,
   and armed with cruel hate,
   on earth is not his equal.

2 Did we in our own strength confide,
   our striving would be losing,
   were not the right Man on our side,
   the Man of God's own choosing.
   You ask who that may be?
   Christ Jesus, it is he;
   Lord Sabaoth his name,
   from age to age the same;
   and he must win the battle.

3 And though this world, with devils filled,
   should threaten to undo us,
   we will not fear, for God has willed
   his truth to triumph through us.
   The prince of darkness grim,
   we tremble not for him;
   his rage we can endure,
   for lo! his doom is sure;
   one little word shall fell him.

4 That Word above all earthly powers
   no thanks to them abideth;
   the Spirit and the gifts are ours
   through him who with us sideth.
   Let goods and kindred go,
   this mortal life also;
   the body they may kill:
   God's truth abideth still;
   his kingdom is forever!
                         Martin Luther
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
In the house church where Debbie and I met, there was an elder who loved to sing this song quickly, which is great; some hymnals have the notation "robustly" as an instruction. The drawback is that if you are playing the guitar as an accompaniment, every note is a chord change! Debbie would sometimes assist w/her guitar, and it was a challenge! And just to make it more difficult, he would ignore the hold sign over the last word of each phrase, so you would barreling through at ninety miles per hour!
</idle musing>

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

More Tozer on mixing Christianity and politics

There are those who use right as a means to political ends. And there are still those who so fuse and confuse Christianity with some form of government that one is made to stand for the other. It is always bad. … God Almighty, the Sovereign King, will not permit little men to make truth the tool toward selfish ends. So let us never equate Christianity with any politicalism, Americanism or any other -ism. To do so is to misunderstand Christ completely and go astray in interpretation of the whole realm of God in redemption.—A.W. Tozer, Living as a Christian, 149

All creatures of our God and king

65 Lasst uns Erfreuen. 8. 8. 4. 4. 8. 8. with Alleluia

1 All creatures of our God and King,
   Lift up your voice with us and sing
   Alleluia, Alleluia!
   Thou burning sun with golden beam,
   Thou silver moon with softer gleam!
   O praise Him, O praise Him,
   Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

2 Thou rushing wind that art so strong,
   Ye clouds that sail in heaven along,
   O praise Him! Alleluia!
   Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice,
   Ye lights of evening, find a voice!
   O praise Him, O praise Him,
   Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

3 Thou flowing water, pure and clear
   Make music for thy Lord to sing,
   Alleluia, Alleluia!
   Thou fire so masterful and bright,
   Thou givest man both warth and light!
   O praise Him, O praise Him,
   Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

4 Dear mother earth, who day by day
   Unfolded blessings on our way,
   O praise Him! Alleluia!
   The flowers and fruits that in thee grow,
   Let them His glory also show!
   O praise Him, O praise Him,
   Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

5 And all ye men of tender heart,
   Forgiving others, take your part,
   O praise Ye! Alleluia!
   Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,
   Praise God and on Him cast your care!
   O praise ye! O praise Him,
   Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

6 Let all things their Creator bless,
   And worship Him in humbleness.
   O praise Him! Alleluia!
   Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
   And praise the Spirit, Three in One!
   O praise Him, O praise Him,
   Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
                         Francis of Assisi
                         Translated by William H. Draper
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

Monday, August 07, 2023

Thought for the day

All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.—Pascal, Pensées

<idle musing>
Ain't it the truth!
</idle musing>

Immortal, Invisible, God only wise

64 Joanna, 11. 11. 11. 11.

1 Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
   in light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
   most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
   almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.

2 Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
   nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;
   thy justice like mountains high soaring above
   thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.

3 To all life thou givest, to both great and small;
   in all life thou livest, the true life of all;
   we blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
   and wither and perish but naught changeth thee.

4 Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
   thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight;
   all praise we would render, O help us to see
   'tis only the splendor of light hideth thee.
                         Walter C. Smith
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

Sunday, August 06, 2023

The Lord Jehovah Reigns!

63 Millennium. 6. 6. 6. 6. 8. 8.

1 The Lord Jehovah reigns;
   His throne is built on high,
   The garments He assumes
   Are light and majesty:
   His glories shine with beams so bright,
   No mortal eye can bear the sight.

2 The thunders of His hand
   Keep the wide world in awe;
   His wrath and justice stand
   To guard His holy law;
   And where His love resolves to bless,
   His truth confirms and seals the grace.

3 Through all His mighty works
   Amazing wisdom shines,
   Confounds the powers of hell,
   And breaks their dark designs;
   Strong is His arm, and shall fulfil,
   His great decrees and sovereign will.

4 And will this sovereign King
   Of Glory condescend?
   And will He write His name
   My Father and my Friend?
   I love His name, I love His word,
   Join all my powers to praise the Lord.
                         Isaac Watts
                        The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

Saturday, August 05, 2023

Lord of all being…

62 Keble. L. M.

1 LORD of all being, throned afar,
   Thy glory flames from sun and star;
   Centre and soul of every sphere,
   Yet to each loving heart how near.

2 Sun of our life, Thy quickening ray
   Sheds on our path the glow of day;
   Star of our hope, Thy softened light
   Cheers the long watches of the night.

3 Our midnight is Thy smile withdrawn;
   Our noontide is Thy gracious dawn;
   Our rainbow arch, Thy mercy’s sign;
   All save the clouds of sin, are Thine.

4 Lord of all life, below, above,
   Whose light is truth, whose warmth is love,
   Before Thy ever-blazing throne
   We ask no lustre of our own.

5 Grant us Thy truth to make us free,
   And kindling hearts that burn for Thee,
   Till all Thy living altars claim
   One holy light, one heavenly flame.
                         Oliver W. Holmes
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
No, not that Oliver Wendell Holmes!
</idle musing>

Friday, August 04, 2023

What I'm reading

Right now I'm reading two books. One of which I should excerpt from but probably won't because I want you to buy it and read it : )

As my seminary theology professor used to say, "You owe it to yourself to read this book," and invariably, if I did read it, I would have to agree with him. So, you owe it to yourself, and your family, to read this book: How Not to Diet. It's a sequel to his earlier book, How Not to Die, which I read some years back but apparently didn't blog about, as a search on this blog shows nothing. You should read that one too.

The other book, which I read in June/July of this year and then immediately started rereading because I wasn't sure I "got" what they were arguing, will probably, Deo volente, start showing up on this blog pretty soon, is John Walton and Harvey Walton, The Lost World of the Israelite Conquest. I'm not sure I buy everything they are selling and in some cases, I think they "give away" too much, if you follow. We'll see if I still think that as I reread it.

In addition, I'm rereading the Greek New Testament. I just finished Luke and will be starting John. I read about five chapters a week, some weeks more, some less. I'm also reading the LXX, using the Hendrickson/Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft 2 volume Reader's Edition. The Greek is relatively simple, but the vocabulary is rather expansive, so the reader's edition is nice. I'm in the middle of 1 Samuel right now, but because of the garden, I'm only reading about a chapter or two a week. I grabbed that at an AAR/SBL meeting right after it was published, and have been off again on again with it ever since. I tend to read it more regularly in the winter when less is happening.

I'm also reading through the Hebrew Bible, front to back. I've never done that before; I've read probably half to two-thirds of it piecemeal, some areas, like Isaiah, Psalms, and the Minor Prophets, I've read multiple times, but others, like the Torah, I've only barely touched on, so this is fun and interesting. I'm in Numbers right now. In order to keep up a decent pace (about 3–5 chs./week), I've been using the Hendrickson/Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Reader's Edition. I received a complimentary copy because I was involved in proofreading the thing. I proofread Isaiah, Psalms, and most, if not all, of the Minor Prophets, maybe more, but I can't remember anymore—that was about ten years ago now! (I linked to the Christian Book page because I can't find the Hendrickson one anymore; they recently were sold to Tyndale, so I wonder if that's why?)

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!

60 Lobe den Herrn 14. 14. 4. 7. 8.

1 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation;
   O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation.
   All ye who hear,
   now to His temple draw near:
   praise Him in glad adoration!

2 Praise to the Lord, who o'er all things so wondrously reigneth,
   shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth.
   Hast thou not seen
   how thy desires e'er have been
   granted in what He ordaineth?

3 Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
   surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
   Ponder anew
   what the Almighty can do,
   if with His love He befriend thee.
                         Joachim Neander
                         Translated by Catherine Winkworth
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
The Methodist Book of Hymns from 1964 adds a fourth verse:

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
   All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.
   Let the amen
   sound from His people again,
   gladly forever adore Him.
It seems that there are various other versions out there. is a good place to start (the first three search results on that page—choose compare texts after clicking on one; I used the second one). They even have the original German version if you want to compare how the various English attempts stack up!

You might also want to click the link to the author. He lived a short, but interesting life, being converted while attending church for the purpose of heckling the preacher!
</idle musing>

Thursday, August 03, 2023

A Good Trinitarian hymn

59 Ancient of Days. 11. 10. 11. 10.

1 Ancient of Days, who sittest, throned in glory,
   To Thee all knees are bent, all voices pray;
   Thy love hast blest the wide world's wondrous story
   With light and life since Eden's dawning day.

2 O Holy Father, who hast led Thy children
   In all the ages, with the fire and cloud,
   Through seas dry-shod, through weary wastes bewildering;
   To Thee, in reverent love, our hearts are bowed.

3 O Holy Jesus, Prince of Peace and Saviour,
   To Thee we owe the peace that still prevails,
   Stilling the rude wills of men's wild behavior,
   And calming passion's fierce and stormy gales.

4 O Holy Ghost, the Lord and the Life-giver,
   Thine is the quickening power that gives increase;
   From Thee have flowed, as from a mighty river,
   Our plenty, wealth, prosperity and peace.

5 O Triune God, with heart and voice adoring,
   Praise we the goodness that doth crown our days;
   Pray we that Thou wilt hear us, still imploring
   Thy love and favor, kept to us always.
                         William C. Doane
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
A good while ago now Robin Parry bemoaned in his Worshipping Trinity the lack of good Trinitarian hymns being written today. He suggested that we seek out the old ones and sing them, in an attempt to bolster the theology of the church. Well, here's a good one!
</idle musing>

Wednesday, August 02, 2023

The day is past and over

52 Du Friedensfürst, Herr Jesu Christ. 7. 6. 7. 6. 8. 8.

1 The day is past and over;
   All thanks, O Lord, to Thee;
   We pray Thee that offenseless
   The hours of dark may be:
   O Jesus, keep us in Thy sight,
   And guard us through the coming night!

2 The joys of day are over;
   We lift our hearts to Thee,
   And call on Thee that sinless
   The hours of dark may be:
   O Jesus, make their darkness light,
   And guard us through the coming night!

3 The toils of day are over;
   We raise our hymn to Thee,
   And ask that free from peril
   The hours of dark may be:
   O Jesus, keep us in Thy sight,
   And guard us through the coming night!

4 Be Thou our souls’ Preserver,
   O God, for Thou dost know
   How many are the perils
   Thro which we have to go:
   Lover of men, O hear our call
   And guard and save us from them all!
                        St. Anatolius of Constantinople
                         Translated by J. M. Neale
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Tozer on Christian Nationalism

Let us beware, however, in trying to nationalize Christianity. There is great danger in fusing Christianity with politics and using the gospel of Christ as a tool to political ends. May it never be so. Truth is master itself and is never to be used as a tool to an end that lies outside the truth.—A.W. Tozer, Living as a Christian, 148

<idle musing>
Tozer was continually warning about this danger—and that was over 70 years ago! We haven't learned anything, have we?

I recall the first time I ran across one of his warnings. It was just before the 2004 elections. He was warning about giving too much stock to the (then) forthcoming 1960 elections, between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. Tozer was no friend of Roman Catholicism, so wasn't too hot on Kennedy, but he did not allow that to color his warnings to his flock. He specifically told them that the results of the election had no effect on the power of God—and to think otherwise was to domesticate God into an American mold.

Would that people heeded his warnings! And would that they heeded them now!
</idle musing>

An evening hymn

51 Tallis' Canon (Evening Hymn). L. M.

1 All praise to You, my God, this night,
   For all the blessings of the light.
   Keep me, O keep me, King of kings,
   Beneath the shelter of Your wings.

2 Forgive me, Lord, for this I pray,
   The wrong that I have done this day.
   May peace with God and neighbor be,
   Before I sleep restored to me.

3 Lord, may I be at rest in You
   And sweetly sleep the whole night thro'.
   Refresh my strength, for Your own sake,
   So I may serve You when I wake.

4 Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
   Praise Him all creatures here below;
   Praise Him above, ye heav'nly host;
   Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
                         Thomas Ken
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
This is the evening hymn in Ken's trilogy. On July 29th I published his morning hymn. I wonder if the third in the trilogy is in this hymnal … checks author index … nope.
</idle musing>