Posted by: rcottrill | May 11, 2016

Do You Wonder Why?

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Words: Ida A. Koritz
Music: Ida A. Koritz

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (none)
Hymnary.org

Note: In this blog I deal mainly with our traditional hymns and gospel songs. Do You Wonder Why? is more of a chorus than a hymn. It’s only claim to the latter might be the suggestion that it can be sung several times substituting for the words “love Him,” phrases such as: “praise Him,” “trust Him,” and “serve Him.”

By it’s very simplicity the song is suitable for all ages, and easy to learn. And it says something important. Hymnary.org mistakenly dates the song from 1946, but I’ve seen several books that put the publication date at 1925. Of Ida Koritz we have no information but her name.

Human beings are inquisitive. It starts when we are small children and continues all through our lives. It seems to be a God-given trait that is virtually universal. We want to know why something is, or is not. Searching, sifting, peering, probing, we look for answers to big mysteries and small.

Why?–it’s such a short word. But it opens the door to learning. “Why?” is a question asked by scientists, by medical doctors, by poets, and by theologians. For what reason is this so, or not so? The word can examine both causes and effects. In it’s negative form, “Why not?” it’s a question asked by dreamers, and the likes of explorers, pioneers, inventors, and entrepreneurs. As a personal complaint, more often of pain than pleasure, it’s “Why me?”

There are some “why’s?” by famous men.

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how” (philosopher Friedrich Nietzche).

“After I’m dead I’d rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one” (Roman senator and historian Cato the Elder (234 BC-149 BC).

Then there’s the famous poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson, commemorating the folly of the British Light Brigade charging on horseback into a line of Russian cannons, during the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War (1854).

“Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.”

The word is found over four hundred times in our Bibles. The very first instance comes from God Himself. When the Lord accepted Abel’s sacrifice, but rejected one from his brother Cain, the latter was insulted. But God sought him out and asked, “Why are you angry?” (Gen. 4:6). Not that God didn’t know the answer. He was asking the question so Cain would face what was in his heart.

The Bible says, “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain” (Heb. 11:4). But Cain rejected the overtures of God, and killed his brother in a jealous rage (Gen. 4:8). In one of the Bible’s last use of why, First John returns to Cain and the lessons of his life. “We should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one [Satan] and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous” (I Jn. 3:11-12).

There are many other uses of the word. The Lord Jesus challenged the self-righteous and hypocritical Jewish leaders with, “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” (Matt. 7:3). We are often too quick to find faults in others, when we should be more diligent in dealing with our own. To Christians who differ on issues in which God gives us freedom to choose, the Bible says, “Why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” (Rom. 14:10; cf. vs. 1-13).

Then there’s the why that’s found in a declaration of the sovereignty of God in how He made us. “Indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Does not the potter have power over the clay?” (Rom. 9:20-21; cf. Ps. 139:13-16).

The why question also came from the lips of dithering Pilate, when he asked the raucous crowd what he should do with Jesus, who had been arrested. The holy Son of God could be charged with no sin (I Pet. 2:22), but, “They shouted, saying, ‘Crucify Him, crucify Him!’ Then he said to them the third time, ‘Why, what evil has He done? I have found no reason for death in Him’” (Lk. 23:21-22).

The answer to Pilate’s “Why?” is: because a sovereign God was working through the evil done toward Christ to provide for our salvation. Far beyond the weakness of the governor and the unbelief of those who rejected Christ and wanted Him dead, God had a glorious purpose. “Christ died for our sins” (I Cor. 15:3). Our eternal salvation is a gift of God, through faith in Christ (Rom. 6:23). “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (I Pet. 3:18).

If we have new life in Christ, it should be seen in our words and actions, and our attitude. These may lead someone observing us might ask, “Why does Jesus mean so much to you?” And the Word of God urges us, “Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (I Pet. 3:15).

Do you wonder why it is I love Him,
I love Him, I love Him?
Do you wonder why it is I love Him?
I will gladly tell you why.
It’s because He left His home in glory
To die for me.
This is why I cannot help but love Him,
Jesus Christ, who died for me.

Questions:
1) Have you had an opportunity recently to tell someone else why you love and serve the Lord Jesus?

2) What response have you received from your witness?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (none)
Hymnary.org


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