Posted by: rcottrill | September 7, 2012

He Hideth My Soul

Words: Frances Jane (“Fanny”) Crosby (b. Mar. 24, 1820; d. Feb. 12, 1915)
Music: William James Kirkpatrick (b. Feb. 27, 1838; d. Sept. 20, 1921)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Fanny’s birth and death)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: I have no Almanac information on this particular hymn, but have linked to articles about the author’s birth and death.

This is another of Fanny Crosby’s joyful gospel songs with many allusions to Scripture. It has been blessing the saints since it was first published in 1890. In this case, the tune seems to have come first, with Mr. Kirkpatrick asking Fanny to supply some suitable words for it. Indeed she did! And He Hideth My Soul became one of her personal favourites of the thousands of songs that flowed from her pen.

Fanny’s mother died the same year the hymn was published, and she wrote a poem to mark the day (Sept. 2). It contains the lines:

Oh, mother we are coming;
The time will not be long
Till we shall clasp thy hand again,
And join the blessed song.

Though the time would not be long in God’s sight, it would be another twenty-five years before Fanny Crosby joined her mother in praises before the throne of God. She lived a rich and very full life, dying at the age of ninety-five. And unlike many hymn writers who laboured in relative obscurity, Fanny was very much a public figure, the friend of American presidents, Civil War generals, and other notables. She was also the first woman to address the United States Senate.

The first stanza and the refrain of the song alludes to a mysterious incident in the life of Moses, when he asked the Lord, “Please, show me Your glory” (Exod. 33:18). God was willing to manifest His presence to Moses in a physical but carefully limited way.

“‘You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.’ And the LORD said, ‘Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen’” (Exod. 33:20-22).

CH-1) A wonderful Saviour is Jesus my Lord,
A wonderful Saviour to me;
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
Where rivers of pleasure I see.

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life with the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.

The experience of Moses was surely an affirmation of the presence and power of God, something that concerned him greatly (Exod. 33:14-15). The incident likely blessed Fanny Crosby in a similar way, as she thought of the Lord’s loving care. He took her burdens upon Himself, and sustained her (CH-2). He crowned her life with numberless blessings, and filled her with His fullness (CH-3).

With the same confidence she had for her recently departed mother, Fanny looked forward to that great day when she would be found in the presence of the Lord, praising Him with multitudes of saints and angels around His glorious throne.

CH-4) When clothed in His brightness, transported I rise
To meet Him in clouds of the sky,
His perfect salvation, His wonderful love
I’ll shout with the millions on high.

Questions:
1) In practical terms, how does the Lord “hide” us? And what is the result of this?

2) What is your personal favourite of all of Fanny Crosby’s songs? (And why?)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Fanny’s birth and death)
The Cyber Hymnal


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