Sunday, September 2, 2012

One of my Favorite Hymns

1. Come Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of God's unchanging love.

2. Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

3. O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing is one of my favorite hymns and I particularly enjoy this version by singer-songwriter, Sufjan Stevens.  My favorite verse has long been the last one.  The words "Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,/ Prone to leave the God I love" have always struck so close to home and my prayer echoes the hymn in desiring for His grace to fetter my wandering heart to Him.

The lyrics, by the way, were written in 1757 by a Baptist pastor at the age of 22.  The tune that we Americans sing an old American folk tune called Nettleton.  The story goes that seventeen-year-old Robert Robinson was told by a an old gypsy woman that he would live to see his children and grandchildren grow up.  At hearing this news, the errant young man thought to himself that if this were true, he must change his ways.  That night he went to see the great preacher, George Whitfield, speak, ostensibly to make fun of him, but Whitfield's words settled into Robinson's heart, and two years later he committed his life to following God's will.

If you were wandering what it means to raise your Ebenezer, it's a reference to the 1 Samuel 7:12 in the Bible.  In that passage, to celebrate a great victory that God had given Israel over their enemies, Samuel takes a large stone and sets it up between two cities.  "...He named it Ebenezer-- "the stone of help"-- for he said, 'Up to this point the Lord has helped us.'"  To raise your own Ebenezer would be, in effect, to do the same thing; that is, to recognize the faithfulness of the Lord and to profess how He has helped you and blessed you.

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