Posted by: rcottrill | July 30, 2018

Hide Thou Me

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Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Fanny Crosby (b. Mar. 24, 1820; d. Feb. 12, 1915)
Music: Robert Lowry (b. Mar. 12, 1826; d. Nov. 25, 1899)

Wordwise Hymns (Fanny Crosby)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Fanny Crosby, though she was blind from childhood, was a poet and hymn writer, as well as being a composer. She was also a fine singer, an organist, a harpist, and a devotional speaker of note. She produced something between eight and nine thousand hymns. The exact total may never be know, because she published many using a bewildered array of pen names. Further, it’s still possible to discover forgotten gems in this vast output, songs that haven’t been seen for many years.

In these articles about the traditional hymns and gospel songs of the church, we’ve looked at over eleven hundred selections. Though we’ve focused mainly on the content of the songs, we’ve looked at some interesting side issues. Which is the longest hymn–or the shortest? Which is the oldest? Which hymn writer produced the most songs?

Another question that could be asked–one that is more subjective–is which is the greatest hymn in the English language? The answer may depend on the theological position of the one who evaluates it, or a person’s individual need. A great hymn will display biblical accuracy and devotional depth. It will also be singable–which means it can be affected somewhat by the tune that is customarily used with it.

All of this aside, there are three hymns that have topped many lists of the greatest in the English language. They are:

¤ When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, by Isaac Watts
¤ Jesus, Lover of My Soul, by Charles Wesley
¤ Rock of Ages, by Augustus Toplady.

There is general agreement among scholars of hymnology that these three belong at or near the top of any list of superlative hymns.

One of these is of particular interest here, in part because of its strong influence on our hymnody. Rock of Ages takes up a theme that is common in the Bible. Passage after passage describes the Lord as our Rock, either in the sense of providing a firm spiritual foundation, or as a place to hide from the storms of life and of future judgment.

“He is the Rock, 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).

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; the God of my strength, in whom I will trust….The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let God be exalted, the Rock of my salvation!” (I Sam. 22:2 47).

“In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God” (Ps. 62:7).

There is even a verse which, depending on the translation, contains the phrase, “Rock of Ages.” In the English Standard Version, Isaiah 26:4 says, “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock [or a rock of ages].”

In the wilderness, when the Israelites were without water, the Lord said to Moses, “‘Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.’ And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel” (Exod. 17:6). This is seen as a prophetic picture of Christ being stricken on the cross to provide for us the water of eternal life. “That Rock was Christ” (I Cor. 10:4).

Such Scriptures have led hymn writers to make use of the rock imagery again and again. Hymns such as A Shelter in the Time of Storm; Hiding in Thee; The Solid Rock; and He Hideth My Soul are examples of this. So is a simple little prayer hymn by Fanny Crosby called Hide Thou Me. In this song we may be seeing the influence of Toplady’s hymn, written a century before.

CH-1) In Thy cleft, O Rock of Ages, hide Thou me!
When the fitful tempest rages, hide Thou me!
Where no mortal arm can sever
From my heart Thy love forever,
Hide me, O Thou Rock of Ages, safe in Thee!

CH-2) From the snare of sinful pleasure, hide Thou me!
Thou, my soul’s eternal treasure, hide Thou me!
When the world its power is wielding,
And my heart is almost yielding,
Hide me, O Thou Rock of Ages, safe in Thee!

CH-3) In the lonely night of sorrow, hide Thou me!
Till in glory dawns the morrow, hide Thou me!
When we’re nearing Jordan’s billow,
Let Thy bosom be my pillow;
Hide me, O Thou Rock of Ages, safe in Thee!

1) What particular trial or temptation has the Lord protected you from lately?

2) What Bible verses were a special help during this time?

Wordwise Hymns (Fanny Crosby)
The Cyber Hymnal


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