Read: Lamentations 3:22-23
Many of the Bible's psalms have titles and headings. Some of them tell what was going on in David's life when the psalm was written, Psalm 142. I like knowing those little facts because they often bring insights as I think about what the psalmist might have been experiencing when God gave him the psalm.
I also like knowing the backstory of hymns, and this morning, I was wondering about one of my favorites, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness". Here is the story of the lyricist, Thomas O. Chisholm: Mr. Chisholm was born in Kentucky in a log cabin in 1866. He became a teacher and taught in the same schoolhouse where he received his education. When he was 26 years old, Chisholm gave his life to the Savior, and after that he became a minister. However, poor health made him unable to continue in the ministry; so, he moved and made his living by selling insurance. Chisholm wrote many poems, including the words to this beloved hymn. Its lyrics were not birthed out of tragedy; instead, they were written to highlight God's ordinary and on-going faithfulness in the every-day goings-on of life. Thomas Chisholm sent the beautiful poem he had written, to a pastor friend, William Runyan with the desire that he compose music for it. The rest, as they say, is history.
With that in mind, let’s look at God's faithfulness and be encouraged and enjoy some of the truths Thomas Chisolm put forth in his hymn.
1. God is our unchanging Father, James 1:17. There are so many precious people who have no earthly model of a father who is steadfast in his love for his children. Sadly, they understand what it looks like to have a father who changes like the shifting shadows. What pleases him one day brings anger another time. How different it is with Almighty God. We can actually come to know Him through the scriptures. How amazing it is that Jesus the Messiah told Philip that as they were observing Him, they were observing the Father, John 14:9. Whether He spoke words that illustrated tender compassion or spoke of judgment, they were seeing and hearing the very heart of the Father as they walked with Jesus; so, we can come to know what brings Him joy and what displeases Him and breaks His heart. His standards don't change on a whim, and nothing can separate us from His love, Romans 8:38-39; Lamentations 3:22-23.
2. God is the faithful Creator/Sustainer, Genesis 1:14-18; Psalm 136:7-9; Colossians 1:16-17. Over and over the Bible reminds us that the magnificence we see in creation is due to the fact that we have a wonderful Creator Who has given us an orderly home on earth. He wants to comfort us by reminding us that He is in charge of its details, Isaiah 40:26; Genesis 8:22; Jeremiah 5:22. A few days ago, all of North America as well as many other regions experienced a partial lunar eclipse that lasted 3 hours, 28 minutes and 23 seconds. The last time such an eclipse occurred was February 18, 1440, and NASA tells us that another such event won't occur for another
648 years on February 8, 2669. What a reminder of the orderly way the Lord spoke His world into existence, Genesis 1. The fact that we can predict eclipses is a testament to the laws God has built into His creation. The stars and planets remain in their places. We know where they will be on any given day of the year. God Who created them has done all of this so that when we look up at what He has made, we will honor Him, not His creation, Psalm 19:1-6.
3. God is the faithful forgiver, Hebrews 8:12. How can we say thank You to the One Who has borne our sin in His own body and provided for us His own righteousness in sins' place, 2 Corinthians 5:21? No wonder the words of the hymn as well as scripture, rejoice in the truth that we have pardon for sin and peace with God, Romans 5:1! It is an amazing thought to ponder. When we receive the gift of salvation that Jesus offers, our sins will never be counted against us. There is no worry that Jesus will all-of-a-sudden bring them up and hold them over our heads. Instead of that, we are told that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Romans 8:1.
4. God is the faithful and present guide. One of the most difficult things about the last few years is the loneliness that most of us have experienced. Whether it was due to being isolated from special people or having to miss out on longed-for events, we can all relate. There are many questions we have and there aren't answers to many of them; however, there is one thing I do know. We aren't alone because we have a Guide Who lives in and through us. The Holy Spirit Who is Helper will never leave us, Hebrews 13:5. He is also Comforter and Counselor, John 14:18; John 14:26; John 15:26. We are not alone, even if at times, it feels that way. With the aid of our guide, we will come out of the fog because He gives us strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.
Back to the verses upon which this hymn is based, Lamentations 3:22-23 and the words Morning By Morning. What a good thing it is that God doesn't give us all we will need in a big parcel. I'm glad He didn't tell us that this was our allotment and that we would have to ration it out so that it would last all our lives. Instead of that, His provision comes enough for each day, in the same way that He provided the manna, Exodus 16. We don't have to worry that we will use too much of His resources and fret because there might not be enough for next month's needs. Thank You Lord for Your on-going faithfulness in the every-day details of life.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving!