Posted by: rcottrill | August 28, 2015

He Is So Precious to Me

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Words: Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (b. Aug. 18, 1856; Sept. 15, 1932)
Music: Zerubbabel, by Charles Hutchinson Gabriel

Wordwise Hymns
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Note: Gabriel grew up on an Iowa farm, where he taught himself to play the family’s reed organ. He began teaching in singing schools by age 16, and went on to become a church music director, as well as a composer and publisher. He became one of the most prominent hymn writers of the early twentieth century. Evangelical hymn books still contain many of his songs. My Saviour’s Love; More Like the Master; O That Will Be Glory; and Send the Light, to name a few. As well as the lyrics, he wrote the tunes for his songs, also composing dozens of tunes for the songs of others.

Mr. Gabriel wrote and published the present song in 1902. At that time, the first stanza was somewhat different from what we use now. Actually, I rather like the original in some ways, though there’s nothing particularly wrong with the version that appeared several years later. The 1902 publication has:

1) I’m happy in Jesus, my Saviour, my King,
And all the day long of His goodness I sing;
To Him in my weakness I lovingly cling,
For He is so precious to me.

In Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, the cringing, creepy Gollum lusts after the magic ring, which he speaks of as “my precious.” It’s recovery and possession was the obsession of his dark and depraved existence.

It’s startling to learn what’s precious to some individuals. We have precious metals, and precious gems, and our precious time. But every now and then on the news we see people afflicted with a passion for hoarding. With their distorted value system, it seems that everything is precious. Nothing can ever be thrown away. Their homes become a serious health hazard, filled from floor to ceiling with whatever comes their way.

Living a balanced life, with the ability to discern between what is mundane and what is extraordinary, between junk and jewelry, the trivial and the precious, depends on what measure we use to weigh their worth. In other words, it depends on our value system. It’s helpful to ask ourselves questions such as: What will I think of this a year from now? What will it mean to me ten years from now? And what will it mean in eternity?

The Lord Jesus discussed values in the Sermon on the Mount. He said:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal….Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:19-20, 33).

Years later, in his two epistles, the Apostle Peter lists several things that are “precious” in spiritual and eternal terms. Believers are “chosen by God and precious” (I Pet. 2:4), and their faith in God is a precious thing (I Pet. 1:7; II Pet. 1:1). The faithful promises of God are precious to us as well (II Pet. 1:4), and the Bible contains hundreds of them.

Most precious of all to Christians is the Lord Jesus, our Saviour. Applying the illustration of stones used in the erection of a building, Peter says, He was precious to God the Father, and became “the chief cornerstone” in the building God was constructing–meaning the church (I Pet. 2:6). “To you who believe, He is precious.” But to those who refuse to accept Him, Him He is “the stone which the builders rejected” (I Pet. 2:7).

Charles Gabriel wrote a fine gospel song about that called He Is So Precious to Me, which begins:

CH-1) So precious is Jesus, my Saviour, my King;
His praise all the day long with rapture I sing.
To Him in my weakness for strength I can cling,
For He is so precious to me.

For He is so precious to me;
For He is so precious to me.
’Tis heaven below, my Redeemer to know,
For He is so precious to me.

Then the author expresses a regret that the Lord had to wait so long to gain admittance to his heart.

CH-2) He stood at my heart’s door ’mid sunshine and rain,
And patiently waited an entrance to gain.
What shame that so long He entreated in vain,
For He is so precious to me.

Finally, he looks forward to the day when he can be in heaven with the Lord, in the place Jesus says He is preparing for His own (Jn. 14:2-3).

CH-4) I praise Him because He appointed a place
Where some day, through faith in His wonderful grace,
I know I shall see Him, shall look on His face,
For He is so precious to me.

1) In addition to the Lord Jesus Christ, what spiritual treasures do you consider especially precious?

2) What is it about the things you mentioned that makes them precious to you?

Wordwise Hymns
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