Posted by: rcottrill | March 9, 2015

Lord, with Glowing Heart I’d Praise Thee

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Words: Francis Scott Key (b. Aug. 1, 1779; d. Jan. 11, 1843)
Music: Faben, by John Henry Wilcox (b. Oct. 6, 1827; June 29, 1875)

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Francis Scott Key is known in American history chiefly as the author of The Star-Spangled Banner. However, he was a dedicated Christian who taught Sunday School in his church. Mr. Key wrote a number of hymns, including one that reminds us who is the Lighter of the flame of our devotion to God.

The Wordwise Hymns link includes a couple of cross links giving more information about Mr. Key and his hymns. The present hymn is a fine one, and it’s surprising that few current hymn books include it. The tune Faben works fine, as does Hyfrydol. In my opinion the unnamed tune written for the hymn by Alfred Smith, for Living Hymns fits the words better still.

Around the time of Christ, the Roman poet Ovid made a statement that still has relevance today. He said, “The end does not justify the means.” In other words, just because the result is good, that doesn’t mean you can use any method you like to get there. An immoral or unethical methodology isn’t somehow purified by what seems to be a beneficial outcome.

There are numerous examples of this in the Bible. When Satan tempted the Lord Jesus, he offered Him dominion over all the kingdoms of the earth, if only He’d bow down and worship him (Matt. 4:8-9). It was a valid goal, and we know that Christ will indeed reign one day as “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16). However, bowing to the evil one was not the right way to achieve that. Only God is to be worshipped (vs. 10). And it’s God the Father who will give His Son dominion over the kingdoms of men (Ps. 2:7-9; Dan. 7:13-14).

Another interesting example of this is found in Leviticus chapter 10. Two priests named Nadab and Abihu came to burn incense in the tabernacle of worship. The smoke of burning incense was a ceremonial picture of praise and prayer ascending to the Lord (cf. Lk. 1:9-10). But something was terribly wrong. It may seem like a small thing, but it wasn’t insignificant to God.

The Bible tells us that Nadab and Abihu “offered profane [unauthorized] fire before the Lord” (Lev. 10:1) and it cost them their lives (vs. 2). It seems that the burning coals to ignite the incense were to come from the altar of sacrifice, out in the tabernacle courtyard (cf. Lev. 16:11-12). But what’s the difference? Fire is fire, isn’t it? No, not in God’s sight. With their disobedience, the two men had spoiled an important biblical symbol.

Our right to come before God to offer our praise and prayer is based on the our cleansing from sin through the shed blood of the sacrifice (Christ). Then it’s the indwelling Holy Spirit who “ignites” our prayer and praise. Those Old Testament tabernacle ceremonies were simply a foreshadowing of what was to come. In the New Testament, we learn that final and ultimate Sacrifice was offered by Christ on the cross. It is through Christ that we may approach the throne of God in prayer.

There’s what may be a revealing postscript to the account in Leviticus, perhaps shedding light on a mitigating problem. After Nadab and Abihu were slain by God, the Lord told Aaron, “”Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting….that you may distinguish between holy and unholy” (Lev. 10:9-10). When judgment is fogged by drugs or alcohol, serious misjudgments can be made.

The lighting of the flame within the hearts of God’s people is accomplished by the Holy Spirit. Through Him, we are equipped and empowered to approach God.

CH-1) Lord, with glowing heart I’d praise Thee,
For the bliss Thy love bestows,
For the pardoning grace that saves me,
And the peace that from it flows:
Help, O God, my weak endeavour;
This dull soul to rapture raise:
Thou must light the flame, or never
Can my love be warmed to praise.

CH-4) Lord, this bosom’s ardent feeling
Vainly would my lips express.
Low before Thy footstool kneeling,
Deign Thy suppliant’s prayer to bless:
Let Thy grace, my soul’s chief treasure,
Love’s pure flame within me raise;
And, since words can never measure,
Let my life show forth Thy praise.

1) What is substituted sometimes for the inner work of the Spirit as a motivator and generator of praise and worship?

2) What will be different about worship ignited by profane fire, and the spiritual fire of the Spirit of God?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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