I chose today’s hymn in honor of the day–January 19th, the birthday of Robert E. Lee–as this was the General’s favorite hymn and was sung at his funeral.
I love what one blogger says about this hymn:
“How Firm a Foundation was first published in a hymnal in 1787—with no credit given to who composed it. Only God and the author know. In a world obsessed with taking credit and receiving payment for achievement, this hymn is an unknown person’s offering to God.
What intrigues me about that, however, is that after verse 1, the entire hymn is God speaking to us. In the majority of hymns we sing to God. . .we sing about God. . . we sing about each other. . .and we sing about ourselves. But in this hymn God does the talking. He tells us who He is and what He is like, especially in respect to what difficult challenges we are going through. In times of suffering, we need to hear God speaking. God’s voice speaks deeper than what hurts, brighter than what is dark, and more enduring than what is lost. His voice changes the meaning of every hardship. And in the process we end up looking more like Jesus.”
(from “Excellent or Praiseworthy”)
This hymn is full of promise and hope, and, as the writer above points out, is written with a unique perspective–that of God’s to His children. I have included an extra verse here that is not typically found in today’s hymnals.
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,
To you, who for refuge to Jesus 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 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.
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.