Posted by: rcottrill | August 1, 2014

In Tenderness He Sought Me

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Words: William Spencer Walton (b. Jan. 15, 1850; d. Aug. 26, 1906)
Music: Clarendon, by Adoniram Judson Gordon (b. Apr. 13, 1836; d. Feb, 2, 1895)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Mr. Walton was a career missionary in South Africa. He wrote a number of books, particularly about his experiences, and the Cyber Hymnal lists three hymns of his. Published in 1894, the present one is by far the best known. It is an excellent gospel song, revelling, as it does, in the joy of salvation from sin, through the grace of God and the finished work of Christ.

T he word tender (or tenderness) is perhaps not one we commonly use today to describe human feelings and motivations. (We’re more likely to use the term of a good steak!) But the psalmists speak frequently of the “tender mercies” of God.

“The LORD is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works: (Ps. 145:9).

“Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live; for Your law is my delight” (Ps. 119:77)

Frequently such prayers involve a plea for God’s compassion and mercy in the light of former sinfulness.

“Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, for they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions” (Ps. 25:6-7).

“Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O LORD; let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me. For innumerable evils have surrounded me; my iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up” (Ps. 40:11-12).

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions” (Ps. 51:1).

“Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us! Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us, for we have been brought very low” (Ps. 79:8).

In light of this emphasis, the words of Zacharias in the New Testament become powerfully significant. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Lk. 1:67), he spoke of the coming birth of the Saviour and said:

“Through the tender mercy of our God…the Dayspring [dawning] from on high has visited us (vs. 78).

This is reminiscent of the messianic promise of Malachi that “the Sun of Righteousness shall arise” (Mal. 4:2), and of the glorified Christ speaking of Himself as “the Bright and Morning Star” (Rev. 22:16). The Dayspring is the Lord Jesus Christ.

When Christ, who is “the light of the world” (Jn. 8:12) comes into our lives, a new day dawns, and the darkness is dispelled. Through faith in Christ, God has cleansed us of our sins (Eph. 1:7; I Jn. 1:7), and “delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Col. 1:13; cf. Acts 26:17-18). That is tender mercy indeed!

CH-1) In tenderness He sought me,
Weary and sick with sin;
And on His shoulders brought me
Back to His fold again.
While angels in His presence sang
Until the courts of heaven rang.

Oh, the love that sought me!
Oh, the blood that bought me!
Oh, the grace that brought me to the fold,
Wondrous grace that brought me to the fold.

CH-2) He washed the bleeding sin wounds,
And poured in oil and wine;
He whispered to assure me,
“I’ve found thee, thou art Mine;”
I never heard a sweeter voice;
It made my aching heart rejoice!

Not only do we have light now, through Christ, we look forward to the dawning of eternity, when all that is sinful and corrupt will be wiped away forever.

CH-5) So while the hours are passing,
All now is perfect rest,
I’m waiting for the morning,
The brightest and the best,
When He will call us to His side,
To be with Him, His spotless bride.

Questions:
1) In what way have you experienced the tender mercies of God today?

2) In what way is darkness a good symbol for sin?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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