6 Lessons from “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee, pp’ning to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heav’n reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blest,
Wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, all who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals, join the happy chorus, which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us, brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward in the triumph song of life

Date: 20th century

Writer(s): Henry van Dyke 

Background for writing: This hymn writer was a Presbyterian pastor who also served as a Chaplain for the Navy during World War I. And he later served as ambassador to Holland and Luxembourg. The mountains in Massachusetts led Dyke to proclaim “joyful, joyful.” And when writing this hymn, he believed this song should be accompanied by the tune of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

6 Lessons:

  1. Our joy in the Lord is intertwined with our compulsion to praise Him.
  2. His love and glory softens our hearts to service him.
  3. The glorious personhood of God removes the uncertainties of life.
  4. God’s creation is a reflection of His personhood.
  5. Glorifying God is ongoing.
  6. Loving our brother is a natural outflow of the joy of the Lord.

3 Lessons from “This Is My Father’s World”

This is my Father’s world, and to my list’ning 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.

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.

This is my Father’s world: oh, let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world, the battle is not done:
Jesus who died shall be satisfied, and earth and Heav’n be one

Date: 19th century

Writer(s): Maltbie D. Babcock 

Background for writing: This hymn writer was both a faithful Presbyterian minister and an avid athlete who loved the outdoors. Most days when he would go outside for morning exercise, he would proclaim, “I am going out to see my Father’s world.” Babcock calls creation “the music of the spheres.” He believed Christ to be Creator and Lord over all He created.

3 Lessons:

  1. All of creation exists to worship its Creator.
  2. His work of creation ought to produce a sweet and calm trust in the Lord who is sovereign over His creation.
  3. A broken and polluted world will not last forever.

John Piper, On Why Missions Exists

“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever. Worship, therefore, is the fuel and goal of missions. It’s the goal of missions because in missions we simply aim to bring the nations into the white-hot enjoyment of God’s glory. The goal of missions is the gladness of the peoples in the greatness of God.” (Let the Nations Be Glad, pg. 17)

4 Lessons from “Rejoice-the Lord Is King!”

Rejoice, the Lord is King! Your Lord and King adore;
Rejoice, give thanks, and sing, and triumph evermore;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice; rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Jesus, the Savior, reigns, the God of truth and love;
When He had purged our stains He took His seat above;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice; rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

His kingdom cannot fail, He rules o’er earth and Heav’n,
The keys of death and hell are to our Jesus giv’n;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice; rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Rejoice in glorious hope! Jesus the Judge shall come,
And take His servants up to their eternal home;
We soon shall hear th’ archangel’s voice;
The trump of God shall sound, rejoice!

Date: 18th century

Writer(s): Charles Wesley 

Background for writing: This hymn writer is responsible for 6,5000 hymns that the church has sung. This particular hymn was written for the church so Christians could better manifest a spontaneous joy as they thought about the return of Christ. Philippians 4:4 seems to be the biblical inspiration for this hymn.

4 Lessons:

  1. The Lordship of Christ demands our worship.
  2. The Saviorhood of Christ demands our worship.
  3. The sovereignty of Christ demands our worship.
  4. The judging work of Christ demands our worship.

How Can I Keep From Singing?

Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let those who love your salvation say continually, ‘Let God be magnified!’.(Psalm 70:4)

We are not alone in trials. Our sufferings are not unique; our pains are not abnormal; they are shared by others. We are never alone and never meant to be alone (Romans 12:15).

James M. Boice reminds us in his commentary on Psalm 70, “It is good to be reminded that there are other righteous people, those who were trying to follow after God and do the right thing, just as we are. We often forget this. … It is important to remember that there are other people who are trying to do exactly what we are trying to do. … If you are sick, you should be able to pray for those who are sick, even better than those who are well. If you are being abused by your coworkers or family, you should be able to pray for Christians who are likewise being abused and insulted. If you are in the dead-end job or see no future in what you are doing, you should be able to pray for other believers in the same situation. Let your trials teach you how to pray for other Christians.”

David wants all those who can essentially relate to his difficulties to join him in worshipping God. He wants a choir, not a solo. David can’t keep from singing these praises.

When we are enraptured by the works of God and His mercy, how can we keep from singing? Answer: we can’t keep from singing. There will never come a day or moment when there is nothing else to praise God for and cease from thanking Him about. The psalmist understood this and says the “continual” praise of the saints should be “Let God be magnified.” The psalmist wants his readers to magnify God. Let His greatness be as big as we can conceive and perceive it.

In 1715 King Louis XIV of France died after a reign of 72 years. He had called himself “the Great,” and was the monarch who made the famous statement, “I am the state!” His court was the most magnificent in Europe, and his funeral was equally spectacular. As his body lay in state in a golden coffin, orders were given that the cathedral should be very dimly lit with only a special candle set above his coffin, to dramatize his greatness. At the memorial, thousands waited in hushed silence. Then Bishop Massilon began to speak; slowly reaching down, he snuffed out the candle and said, “Only God is great.”

How can we not sing about that?