Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Heart of Worship Tuesday: “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing/O Thou Fount”

Singing to God is a beautiful thing. Encouraging each other through song is one of the greatest blessings there is.

As Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them.”

Singing is such an important part of our worship. Knowing this, why shouldn’t we also be mindful of what we are singing? When our hearts are engaged with the words' meaning, it makes our worship that much better. When we understand what we are singing, the more we encourage one another. (Eph. 5:19.)

Today, in this first installment, we will be looking at “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”.

This is on my list of favorite old hymns. Not only is the melody pretty, but the words are beautiful. Robert Robinson wrote it in 1757 . He  was formerly a pretty rough member of society. He was a gambler and a drunk. One night while attending an evangelistic meeting, the words of the minister got to his heart. After a few years, he finally changed his life and looked to God. He wrote this as a poem to go along with a sermon he gave. (1)

The first verse says,
“Come thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace.
Streams of mercy never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it, Mount of thy redeeming love.”

God is the “fount of every blessing”, is He not? He loves His people immensely. He blesses and takes care of us. Every good thing we have is from God. (James 1:17.) The greatest blessing we have from God is His love and mercy. As the verse says, “Streams of mercy never ceasing…”. God’s mercy and love is never ending. (Romans 8:31-39.)

The writer is asking God to teach him a “sonnet sung by flaming tongues above”. Sonnets are usually written as love poems. He wants to sing a love song that heavenly beings sing to their creator. He may think that if he could sing songs like the angels, the words He sings would be closer to being worthy of God. He wants to be focused on God’s love, “fixed upon it, Mount of thy redeeming love.”

This verse is all about awe and humbleness we have towards God’s love and mercy. It’s amazing isn’t it? God loved us, sinners, so much that He sent His son to die for us. (John 3:16.) If that isn’t love, I’d like to know what is.

“Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by thy help I’ve come
And I hope by thy good pleasure safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger wandering from the throne of God
He to rescue me from danger interposed His precious blood.”

 According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, an Ebenezer is defined as “a commemoration of divine assistance.” (2) The dictionary webpage also makes reference to 1st Samuel 7:12. Here, after the victory of the Israelites against the Philistines, the Prophet Samuel sets up a “stone of help” to commemorate God’s help in the battle. This would be comparable to statues or memorials honoring an event or person.

Spiritually speaking, the writer is putting up his own commemoration of God’s help towards him. He is saying that God is the only reason he has changed and made it this far. In the next part, it compares where He was before God. He was a stranger who insisted on staying away from God. But, Jesus patiently waited for him, as he does for us. When he finally came to his senses, the blood of Jesus was there to cleanse him.

So many people try so hard to avoid being convicted by God. One way or another, it will catch up with us. Whether in this life or the next, God will convict us that He is the one true God. (Romans 14:11.)

“O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be
Let thy goodness like a fetter bind my wandering to thee.
Never let me wander from thee, never leave the God I love.
Take my heart, O, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.”

Because of our sinful nature, we can never ever repay what God did for us. We can never live up to what we are supposed to be. But, that is what Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is for. Jesus’ goodness and perfection is our salvation.

 The writer is aware of his sin, and how alluring it is. He is asking God to help him not to walk away from Him back into the world that he once knew. He is asking God to take his heart and seal it in heaven. It makes me think of the verse, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

This is something that should be prayerfully on our minds every day. We should always be praying that God helps us to keep our focus on Him, and not be enticed back into the world. We should all be aware of just how tempting it is to sin. We should all be aware of the one who is out to destroy us. (1 Peter 5:8.)

What we have is a prayerful song. The singer is humbly coming before God realizing how unworthy he is to do so. We all are. It is a song praising God for His goodness and mercy. It is a song praising Him for loving us in our imperfection. Let us never forget how blessed we are to have received God’s love and mercy. Let us never forget what a call we have to serve God each day.

Sung by the Fiddlesticks

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