Posted by: rcottrill | November 30, 2012

Trust in the Lord

Words: Thomas Obediah Chisholm (b. July 29, 1866; d. Feb. 29, 1960)
Music: Wendell Phillips Loveless (b. Feb. 2, 1892; d. Oct. 3, 1987)

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: In 1937, sacred music composer Wendell Loveless asked Thomas Chisholm to send him some of his poems, with the idea of setting them to music. This is one of those. The Wordwise Hymns link will tell you a bit more about Tom Chisholm (and yes, he died on February 29th, in 1960–which was a leap year).

Attempts have sometimes been made to remove the “thee’s and thou’s” in Chisholm’s hymn, with thought of modernizing it. In the hymnal Hymns for the Living Church (somewhat strangely and arbitrarily it seems to me), only God is allowed to be called Thee and Thou in its hymns.

The Cyber Hymnal also has attempted to change the lyric, but not without problems. Thee becomes you, and thy and thine become your. However, “mattereth” remains in the refrain, and in the second stanza we have “ruleth” and “seeeth” (sic. the third “e” is not needed). To replace these would require changing the wording of the whole line, as the number of syllables is reduced.

Better to leave things as they are in most of our older hymns, I believe. Though, as readers of this blog will know, I commonly use the New King James Version with its modernized language, in quoting Scripture, our hymns and gospel songs are something different.

Because they usually involve rhyming poetry, with a tune that has a definite metrical structure, modernizing the wording can get us into difficulty. As noted above, it may require changing an entire line to make it fit. In the process the author’s original and intended meaning may be lost.

The dictionary offers us a number of enlightening definitions of the word “trust.” It involves: a reliance on the integrity, strength, and ability of another, a confident expectation of something from that person. The word is used in the passage of Scripture upon which this song is based:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him [as Lord of your life, and Source of all you need], and He shall direct your paths” (Prov. 3:5-6).

The Hebrew word for “trust” in that text is batach. It means to have confidence in the Lord, and it carries the idea of feeling secure and safe. While “our own understanding” of circumstances may be flawed, God’s never is. His direction will always be the wisest and best for us.

The composer of the tune, Wendell Loveless, gives us these thoughts on the message of the hymn.

“In a day when so many are putting their trust in material possessions, their own puny efforts, drugs, and false religious beliefs, it is well to focus our thoughts upon the all-powerful, gracious, loving Saviour. Many have written to me of the blessing received through the use of this song.”

The Apostle Paul tells young Timothy, “We trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men [i.e. “all” meaning without distinction of race, gender, social status, wealth, etc.]….Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God” (I Tim. 4:10; 6:17).

CH- 1) Trust in the Lord with all thine heart,
This is God’s gracious command;
In all thy ways acknowledge Him,
So shalt thou dwell in the land.

Trust in the Lord, O troubled soul,
Rest in the arms of His care;
Whatever thy lot, it mattereth not,
For nothing can trouble thee there;
Trust in the Lord, O troubled soul,
Nothing can trouble thee there.

CH-4) Trust in the Lord—His eye will guide
All through the pathway ahead,
He hath redeemed and He will keep,
Trust Him and be not afraid.

1) How will today be different, in practical terms, if you live it trusting in the Lord?

2) What other hymns about faith do you know and use?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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