Posted by: rcottrill | November 2, 2011

The Day Thou Gavest, Lord

Words: John Ellerton (b. Dec. 16. 1826; d. June 15, 1893)
Music: St. Clement, by Clement Cotterill Scholefield (b. June 22, 1839; d. Sept. 10, 1904)


Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Over the centuries, empires have come and gone. In their day, a few have boasted of their worldwide reach with some version of a now-familiar phrase. Its first application to Britain was likely made in 1773, by George MacCartney, when he wrote of “this vast empire on which the sun never sets.” Maps showed the traditional pink applied to nation after nation, around the world, and phrase was taken up, “The sun never sets on the British Empire.

But, of course, it did. With the coming of the Second World War, the British Empire began to shrink. Many of its colonies and possessions have now become independent nations. But the inspiring point of John Ellerton’s stirring hymn is that the kingdom of God is eternal. It will never pass away. His hymn says, “Thy throne shall never, like earth’s proud empires, pass away” (CH-5). Numerous Scriptures make the point. Here is a sampling.

“The LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King” (Jer. 10:10). “Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever” (Isa. 9:7). “The LORD is King forever and ever” (Ps. 10:16; cf. Ps. 145:13; 146:10).

“The God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed…it shall stand forever” (Dan. 2:44). “His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And His dominion is from generation to generation” (Dan. 4:3). “To Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed” (Dan. 7:14).

“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen” (I Tim. 1:17). “Of His kingdom there will be no end” (Lk. 1:33). “The seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:15).

Though Christ is not yet reigning on earth, universally and visibly, when we trust in Him as our Saviour we become citizens of the heavenly kingdom (Phil. 3:20; Col. 1:13-14). And as the work of evangelism goes on, more are being added to the kingdom, all over the globe, and fresh voices of praise and prayer are ascending to the throne. This is the wonderful truth Ellerton’s hymn emphasizes: that the sun never sets on the kingdom of God. The hymn needs to be read or sung in its entirety to get the full impact. I encourage you to go to click on the Cyber Hymnal link so that you can do that.

CH-4) The sun that bids us rest is waking
Our brethren ’neath the western sky,
And hour by hour fresh lips are making
Thy wondrous doings heard on high.

CH-5) So be it, Lord; Thy throne shall never,
Like earth’s proud empires, pass away:
Thy kingdom stands, and grows forever,
Till all Thy creatures own Thy sway.

1) What encouragements do you take from John Ellerton’s beautiful hymn?

2) Will you be part of the chorus of praise and prayer today?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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