Hymn of the Week: O Worship the King
As you know if you have followed us awhile, we like to teach our children a new hymn every week. Now, we don’t always succeed, but here’s the idea: Each day of that week, we sing the same hymn all the way through. Each day, we explain a different verse of that hymn. There is so much truth, encouragement and admonition in the hymns of the faith that we don’t want our children to miss!’
This week’s hymn is O Worship the King. It was originally written by William Kethe and published in the Genevan Psalter of 1561. It was modernized and adapted by Robert Grant and published in Christian Psalmnody in 1833. The most common tune was composed in the 1700s, most likely, by Johann Haydn.
O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His power and His love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.
O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space,
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.
The earth with its store of wonders untold,
Almighty, Thy power hath founded of old;
Established it fast by a changeless decree,
And round it hath cast, like a mantle, the sea.
Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.
Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.
O measureless might! Ineffable love!
While angels delight to worship Thee above,
The humbler creation, though feeble their lays,
With true adoration shall all sing Thy praise.
Here is some of Kethe’s original wording:
My foule praise the Lord, speake good of his Name,
O Lord our great God how doeft thou appeare,
So passing in glorie, that great is thy fame,
Honour and maieftie, in thee fhine moft cleare.
His chamber beames lie, in the clouds full fure,
Which as his chariot, are made him to beare.
And there with much fwitneff his courfe doth endure:
Vpon the wings riding, of winds in the aire.
Although there is nothing hard to understand in this hymn, there are quite a few difficult words that we ought to define for our children and Scripture references we ought to point them to. For example, Ancient of Days is a name for God that we find in Daniel 7. How awe-inspiring to read this description of our Lord on His throne!
May the Lord bless you and us this week as we teach our children to serve our King.