Posted by: rcottrill | January 5, 2011

Join All the Glorious Names

Words: Isaac Watts (b. July 17, 1674; d. Nov. 25, 1748)
Music: Darwall, by John Darwall (b. Jan. __ , 1731; d. Dec. 18, 1789)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (about Isaac Watts)
The Cyber Hymnal

Doesn’t it hurt you when you hear the Lord’s name taken in vain? Are you ever tempted to ask whether the person knows the One with whose name they punctuate their everyday conversation? Fifty or sixty years ago, profanity was kept off the airwaves. It was extremely unusual to hear it on radio or television. Now, it seems, anything goes–and our culture has been further degraded as a result. If we are Christians, we should speak the names of deity with love and reverence.

A host of names and descriptive titles are ascribed to God in His Word–many in particular that are applied to the Lord Jesus Christ. (As I write, I have a book open that lists over 100 “Names, Titles, and Offices of Christ.”) I believe part of the reason for these is to give us some awareness of the infinite diversity in both the nature and character of God, and in what He has done.

And yet, the more we learn, the more we realize there’s still far more to be explored. Even a hundred names can’t begin to reveal the infinite richness of the person of the Lord. That is the point that Isaac Watts makes in this hymn, while presenting a few of the names and titles of deity. In the original, which has a dozen stanzas, he gives us 15 of them–3 more, if we consider “the glorious names of Wisdom, Love and Power” (CH-1) as titles too, which seems intended.

Here are the 18, as they appear in the complete hymn, but in alphabetical order, with some Scriptures, so that you can meditate on them further. (A few are implied, if not given as a direct title.)

Advocate (I Jn. 2:1-2); Captain (Heb. 2:10); Christ (Matt. 1:1); Conqueror (cf. I Cor. 15:57); Counselor (Isa. 9:6); Guide (Lk. 1:78-79); High Priest (Heb. 4:14); King (Rev. 19:13, 16); Lord (Matt. 3:3; 12:8); Love (I Jn. 4:8, 16); Pattern (or Example, Jn. 13:15; I Pet. 2:21); Power (I Cor. 1:24) ; Prophet (Jn. 6:14); Redeemer (Job 19:25); Saviour (II Pet. 3:18; I Jn. 4:14); Shepherd (I Pet. 2:25; 5:4); Surety (or Guarantee, Heb. 7:22); Wisdom (I Cor. 1:24, 30).

Below are three stanzas not usually included in our hymn books (CH-6, 7, and 12). They show not only the strength of Isaac Watts’s theology, but the depth of his devotion.

I love my Shepherd’s voice,
His watchful eyes shall keep
My wand’ring soul among
The thousands of His sheep:
He feeds His flock, He calls their names,
His bosom bears the tender lambs.

To this dear Surety’s hand
Will I commit my cause;
He answers and fulfils
His Father’s broken laws:
Behold my soul at freedom set!
My Surety paid the dreadful debt.

Should all the hosts of death,
And powers of hell unknown,
Put their most dreadful forms
Of rage and mischief on,
I shall be safe, for Christ displays
Superior power, and guardian grace.

Questions:
1) What particular blessings come to us from the Lord Jesus Christ because He blends in His character perfect “wisdom, love, and power”?

2) In the book of Malachi, the Lord accuses the backslidden priests of Israel of despising (showing contempt for) His name (Mal. 1:6).

☼ Why does despising the name of God actually show contempt for His Person?

☼ People show contempt when they use God’s name as a swear word. But in the context, in Malachi (vs. 7-8), the Lord indicates another way in which His name can be despised. What is it? And how might this be applied on this side of the cross?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (about Isaac Watts)
The Cyber Hymnal


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