Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

open hymnal in the sunshine

by Joachim Neander, pub. 1680
transl. by Catherine Winkworth, 1863

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.

Psalm 42:11  Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

This hymn sang to me as I participated in the congregational singing in church last Sunday. If I could write with half the eloquence of Joachim Neander, I would be blessed beyond measure. He has such a way with words.

But enough about the instrument. The focus of this hymn is on the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation.

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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?

Psalm 93:1  The LORD reigneth, He is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith He hath girded himself: the world also is established, that it cannot be moved.

Ruth 2:12  The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.

Psalm 37:4  Delight thyself also in the LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

This stanza is chock-full of truth. God reigns in the affairs of men, no doubt about it. We don’t always understand the purpose of suffering, but it is just as necessary to us as the times of ease, if not more so. Drought causes the tree’s roots to go deeper in search of water, which results in a stronger tree that is capable of resisting the winds of the storms. And in those storms, God offers protection so that we will not be overwhelmed. And the Father grants us our desires, particularly when we delight in Him.

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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.

Genesis 39:23  The keeper of the prison looked not to anything that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper.
Psalm 23:6  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

God alone is the source of my strength and the author of my victories. I can do nothing at all without Him. His goodness and mercy surround me every day, giving me blessings I don’t deserve and withholding from me the punishment that should be mine. “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do.” God can do anything—anything but fail. And He has befriended me with His love. He loved me before I even knew Him.

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Praise to the Lord, who, when tempests their warfare are waging,
Who, when the elements madly around thee are raging,
Biddeth them cease, turneth their fury to peace,
Whirlwinds and waters assuaging.

Mark 4:35-41  And the same day, when evening was come, He saith unto them, “Let us pass over unto the other side.” And when they had sent away the multitude, they took Him even as He was in the ship. And there were also with Him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake Him, and say unto Him, “Master, carest Thou not that we perish?” And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, “Peace, be still.” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And He said unto them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”

What else can I say? God is good all the time. He sends the storms to make us trust Him, to show us His power over them. Not just squalls on the sea, but spiritual storms as well. He is never surprised by what is happening, never alarmed, never out of control. What a comfort it is to know that God is watching over me, even in the storm.

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Praise to the Lord, who, when darkness of sin is abounding,
Who, when the godless do triumph, all virtue confounding,
Sheddeth His light, chaseth the horrors of night,
Saints with His mercy surrounding.

John 16:33  These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

The world does seem to be growing darker by the day with a spiritual darkness and oppression from the enemy of our souls. Right seems wrong and wrong seems right. People plummet to lower moral depths with each passing day, and they dare anyone to tell them they are in the wrong. This is not new. Luke 17:26 says, “And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” But God is neither blind nor deaf. He sees and hears the depravity of man. Why does He do nothing? My friend, He is not doing nothing. He is waiting for the perfect moment to make all things right. And He will, in His time. In the meantime, He is calling for all men everywhere to come to Him in repentance of their sins. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). And He has not left us to stumble in the darkness. He has given us His light through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Praise to the Lord, oh, 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 for aye we adore Him.

Psalm 106:48  Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, “Amen.” Praise ye the LORD.

We often use the word amen to conclude our prayers, but what does it mean? Consider this definition from the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary: “As a verb, it signifies to confirm, establish, verify; to trust, or give confidence; as a noun, truth, firmness, trust, confidence; as an adjective, firm, stable. In English, after the oriental manner, it is used at the beginning, but more generally at the end of declarations and prayers, in the sense of, be it firm, be it established.” So in the context of this hymn, we are enjoined to confirm or verify the teachings of God’s Word. We are to trust God, placing our confidence in Him and Him alone. Our faith in Him should be firm, for He never changes. He is the solid rock upon which our faith is founded. Gladly forever [for aye] we adore Him.

Have you learned to trust Him? Do you rest beneath the shelter of God’s wings? Have you tasted the water of life? If so, then please join me in praising Him today. And if not, why not? Come to Jesus today and experience His great love for you.

Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let him that heareth say, “Come.” And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

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Lyrics from Timelesstruths.org

Photo taken in Milton, Florida, 2018.

 

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