Posted by: rcottrill | November 13, 2015

I Know That My Redeemer Lives (Medley)

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Words: Samuel Medley (b. June 23, 1738; d. June 17, 1799)
Music: Duke Street, by John C. Hatton (b. Sept. ___, 1710; d. December ____, 1793)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Samuel Medley)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Little is known of Mr. Hatton, except that he lived on Duke Street in an English city, and named the one tune we have from him after his street. It is a tune also used with Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun. But, though I’m not a Mormon, I’ve always enjoyed another tune used by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for this hymn, and I notice it can be downloaded and printed from the Net here. It’s a longer melody, and takes in two of Medley’s stanzas each time.

There are some odd expressions that have entered the English language, and seem to cling to it like prickly burrs. For instance, many times we are told that an item is available “for free,” when a simple “free” would do. Or there’s the word “so” used frequently to begin sentences when it has no meaning related to what comes after.

And there’s the person who inserts, “ya know,” into every other sentence, as a nervous tic, or a kind of verbal punctuation. But the phrase is often nonsense, being attached to new information, things that the hearer definitely does not know yet–ya know.

It got me thinking about what we know and what we don’t. At the every-day level, it is difficult to think of things we can say we know to be so without the slightest doubt or question. Benjamin Franklin said there were only two things certain in life, death and taxes. But even those need to be qualified. Taxes may be cut or abolished. And the Bible teaches that those Christians who are alive at the time of Christ’s return will be caught up to meet Him, transformed in an instant, without passing through death (I Cor. 15:51-52; I Thess. 4:17).

Think of the many things we state as certainties which actually aren’t. Someone might say, for example, “I know my computer is secure from hackers; I know my wife wouldn’t cheat on me; I know I’m in good health; I know…” But, of course, we don’t. Not really.

One of the areas the Bible addresses in this regard is the plans we make. James says:

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit;’ whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that’” (Jas. 4:13-15).

The only true certitudes in life are rooted in the holy character, and Bible promises, of Almighty God. He is a God of truth (Deut. 32:4), who cannot lie (Tit. 1:2). The Bible itself is called “the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15), and we can count absolutely on what God has said there. On that basis, the Apostle Paul testifies, “I know whom I have believed [the Lord Jesus Christ] and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day [the day of Christ’s return]” (II Tim. 1:12).

Knowing God through a deeply personal walk of faith, the patriarch Job was able to say, even in a time of terrible trouble and distress:

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed [i.e. this mortal body], this I know, that in my flesh [a resurrection body] I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another [perhaps meaning, not as a stranger, but as a Friend]” (Job 19:25-27).

Job’s great declaration of faith, “I know that my Redeemer lives,” was used by Handel in his peerless oratorio, Messiah, where it appears in the third section, dealing with the coming Resurrection Day. Among several hymns that have been built on Job’s words is one published in 1775 by an English clergyman named Samuel Medley. In eight stanzas, the song enumerates about twenty of the many blessings that are ours because our Saviour lives.

CH-1) I know that my Redeemer lives;
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever living head.

CH-2) He lives to bless me with His love,
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed,
He lives to help in time of need.

CH-4) He lives to grant me rich supply,
He lives to guide me with His eye,
He lives to comfort me when faint,
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.

CH-5) He lives to silence all my fears,
He lives to wipe away my tears
He lives to calm my troubled heart,
He lives all blessings to impart.

CH-7) He lives and grants me daily breath;
He lives, and I shall conquer death:
He lives my mansion to prepare;
He lives to bring me safely there.

Questions:
1) From this hymn, or your own Bible study, what blessings do you most appreciate because “He lives”?

2) Is this a hymn your church could use on Resurrection Sunday, or perhaps at a Communion Service?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Samuel Medley)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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