Posted by: rcottrill | April 2, 2012

Like a River Glorious

Words: Frances Ridley Havergal (b. Dec. 14, 1836; d. June 3, 1879)
Music: Wye Valley, by James Mountain (b. June 16, 1844; d. June 27, 1933)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (James Mountain)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Miss Havergal wrote the text for this hymn in November of 1874. James Mountain wrote the majestic tune specifically for the hymn.

The word “peace” and other forms of it are found over 400 times in the Bible. The Hebrew word shalom carries a number of positive meanings such as: peace, safety, prosperity, and friendship. In the New Testament, the Greek word commonly translated “peace” is eirene (pronounced i-RAY-nay), with shades of meaning such as: peace, tranquility, rest, and quietness. Together these give us a sense of what God’s peace is all about.

The word is applied in several ways, in addition to relating to friendly relations between individuals or nations. Spiritually, when a sinner comes to the Saviour, he and God are reconciled, by faith. Sin is no longer a barrier between them, and the believer is said to have peace with God (Rom. 5:1). In committing our concerns to God in prayer, we are able to experience the peace of God within (Phil. 4:6-7). And when Christ, the Prince of Peace returns, He will establish a lasting peace on earth (Isa. 9:6-7; cf. 2:4).

CH-1) Like a river glorious, is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious, in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth, fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth, deeper all the way.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

Frances Havergal based her beautiful hymn on a couple of texts from Isaiah.

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isa. 26:3).

“ Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea” (Isa. 48:18).

“Stayed upon Jehovah” (Refrain)–that phrase comes from Isaiah 26:3. It represents an attitude of enduring trust and confidence. Faith puts us in a place of safety, “hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand” (CH-2).

The second Scripture text is addressed to the people of Israel when they were facing impending judgment (the Babylonian Captivity). In a life of obedience to the Word of God is found the river of God’s peace. But instead, in their waywardness, they would face conflict, and turmoil, and bondage. “O that you had heeded!”

Notice, we have faith represented in the first text, and obedience in the second. These are the keys to inner peace. But earthly trials also come upon people who trust and obey God. What of times when trials come our way, and burdens weigh upon us? Then we can be confident that a wise and loving God would allow only those things to touch the life of His child that are ultimately for our best and for His glory. He works in all things for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28).

CH-3) Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully all for us to do.
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.

Questions:
1) What kinds of things do you find most often disturb your peace in daily life?

2) What is your remedy, when this happens?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (James Mountain)
The Cyber Hymnal


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