Posted by: rcottrill | July 22, 2015

I Will Praise Him

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Words: Margaret Jenkins Harris (b. July 31, 1865; d. Jan. 13, 1919)
Music: Margaret Jenkins Harris

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Mrs. Harris and her husband John were both active in the American revival and camp meeting scene of their day. Both were able speakers, and both were musicians and song writers as well. Margaret Harris frequently played the organ to accompany herself and her husband as they sang duets in meetings. This song of praise dates from 1898. It had five stanzas, but many hymn books only use the first four. The original fifth stanza said:

In the crowning day soon coming,
May I see my glorious King;
Join the mighty swelling chorus,
Make His highest praises ring.

But early on this was replaced with a Trinitarian closing (perhaps by the author herself). Though many books omit it, this doxology does seem to be a fitting conclusion to the song which refers to the Holy Spirit (CH-1); to Christ (CH-4), and perhaps to the God the Father (CH-3), though the focus seems to be especially on the Lord Jesus Christ.

CH-5) Glory, glory to the Father!
Glory, glory to the Son!
Glory, glory to the Spirit!
Glory to the Three in One!

The word “praise” means: to express admiration, gratitude, or honour. When it is directed toward another human being it’s sometimes qualified in some way–usually with the word “but.” For example, a coach might say to a hockey goalie, “You played a good game, but you let in that winning goal.” Or the patron of a restaurant might say to the cook, “That was an excellent meal, but the roast beef was a little overdone.” That kind of halfway congratulation can be disappointing and deflating.

If we truly want to encourage someone with our praise, it’s best to leave the qualifier for another time. But we know it’s there. No person is perfect; no task a person undertakes will be done perfectly. The exception to that is the Lord and what He does. Moses says of Him, “His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He” (Deut. 32:4), and the psalmist tells us, “There is no unrighteousness in Him” (Ps. 92:15).

“The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him” (Exod. 15:2).

It is proper for us to offer to the Lord unqualified praise. Not surprisingly, that word is used in our Bibles hundreds of times, from Genesis to Revelation. Most of these are found in the book of Psalms, the hymn book of Israel, and of the early church. As David declares, the Lord is “worthy to be praised” (Ps. 18:3). That thought is echoed in the book of Revelation: “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created” (Rev. 4:11).

Around the throne of God in heaven, praise is particularly directed to Christ, God’s sacrificial Lamb: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honour and glory and blessing!” (Rev. 5:12). He is “our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us” (Tit. 2:13-14), “Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever” (Heb. 13:21).

John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus to be “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29). We praise Him because, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). We praise Him because, “Jesus…delivers us from the wrath to come” I Thess. 1:10). We praise Him because, “He is also able to save to the uttermost [completely and forever] those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them (Heb. 7:25).

The Bible says, the blood of Jesus Christ His [the Father’s] Son cleanses us from all sin” (I Jn. 1:7). And the hymn echoes that truth with:

CH-1) When I saw the cleansing fountain
Open wide for all my sin,
I obeyed the Spirit’s wooing,
When He said, “Wilt thou be clean?”

I will praise Him! I will praise Him!
Praise the Lamb for sinners slain;
Give Him glory, all ye people,
For His blood can wash away each stain.

It’s through faith in Christ, accepting Him as personal Saviour, that we’re born again into the family of God (Jn. 1:12-13). What a privilege to be able to say, “Now we are children of God” (I Jn. 3:2). In the words of the hymn:

CH- 4) Blessèd be the name of Jesus!
I’m so glad He took me in;
He’s forgiven my transgressions,
He has cleansed my heart from sin.

Questions:
1) For what things are you especially praising the Lord today?

2) What are some other hymns of praise you love to sing?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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