Posted by: rcottrill | April 8, 2019

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

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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: Thomas Obediah Chisholm (b. July 29, 1866; d. Feb. 29, 1960)
Music: Faithfulness (or Runyan) William Marion Runyan (b. Jan. 21, 1870; d. July 29, 1957)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Over the years, Mr. Chisholm was a newspaper editor, a preacher, and an insurance salesman. But it’s as a writer of hundreds of gospel songs that he’s had his widest impact. (He also gave us O to Be Like Thee, Trust in the Lord, and Living for Jesus (“a life that is true”).

It began with an orchestra playing the exciting overture from Rossini’s opera, William Tell. Then, over the music, we heard a galloping horse, and a shout of, “Hi-yo, Silver!” and an announcer informing us we’d “return to those thrilling days of yesteryear,” as “the Lone Ranger rides again.” The western was one of the most popular programs on early radio. From 1933 onward nearly 3,000 shows were broadcast. It moved on to television in 1949, and continued there, weekly, for eight years.

Early on, a Native American named Tonto was introduced in the radio series, for a practical reason. The Lone Ranger needed someone to talk to, in order to describe the action, or explain what he was going to do. His “faithful Indian companion,” was played later in every television episode by Mohawk actor Jay Silverheels. He, in turn, referred to the Lone Ranger as Kemosabe (Ke-mo SAH-bee), which has been explained to mean trusty scout, or faithful friend.

It’s great to have someone you can rely on, especially in difficult times. We truly appreciate those we can describe as faithful friends, those who are, loyal, trustworthy, and dependable. Countless amazing stories illustrate how the word has also been applied to dogs. Some even come to be thought of as family members. Many seem to have a genuine affection and empathy for their owners, a strong sense of loyalty, and the instinct to protect them.

In the Bible, some form of the word “faithful” is used over a hundred times. Often the Lord is described that way.

“Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations” (Ps. 119:89-90).

“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (I Cor. 1:9).

As we look to Him in faith, He is faithful to protect us from the attacks of the devil (II Thess. 3:3), faithful to give us the means to deal with temptation (I Cor. 10:13), and faithful to forgive us, when we confess our sins to Him (I Jn. 1:9).

Again and again we’re assured of God’s faithfulness to His Word. When God says it, we can count on it. “He who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23). “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (I Tim. 1:15). And Christ Himself is “called Faithful and True” (Rev. 19:11), and described as, “Jesus Christ, the faithful witness” (Rev. 1:5).

That’s surely one aspect of the likeness of God (Gen. 1:26-27) we’re are intended to reflect. It’s a quality the Spirit of God wants to build into our character (Gal. 5:22-23). Paul speaks of Timothy as, “my beloved and faithful son in the Lord” (I Cor. 4:17). Peter refers to, “Silvanus, our faithful brother” (I Pet. 5:12). When believers stand before the Lord, we all hope to hear the words of commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:23).

When the people of Israel turned away from God and began worshiping idols, He called them back to Himself through His prophets. But when they refused to repent, He disciplined them severely. Many were carried into captivity in Babylon, and their temple and the holy city of Jerusalem were looted and destroyed.

In the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah voices grief and sorrow over what had happened in Jerusalem, but he also sees restoration and brighter days ahead for Israel.

“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lam. 3:22-23).

In 1923, hymn writer Thomas Obediah Chisholm created a beautiful hymn, based on those words of Jeremiah.

CH-1) Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

CH-3) Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Questions:
1) Have you ever been blessed to have a faithful friend? (In what ways has he/she shown faithfulness?)

2) How has God shown His faithfulness to you?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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