Sunday, November 25, 2012

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty


SONG WRITER: Joachim Neander                    

WHEN WRITTEN: 1680

HYMN HISTORY: The author of this hymn, Joachim Neander, was born in Bremen, Germany in 1650.  In his early years, he lived a lusty, immoral life.  Then he and a group of friends decided to attend a service conducted by a visiting preacher, Pastor Under-Eyke, and Neander was quickly converted.  He was then influenced by Philipp Jakob Spener, a Pietist who sought to return vitality to the Lutheran church, which in his opinion had become staid and barren.  The Pietists emphasized individual piety, and instituted small groups for prayer, scripture study, personal accountability, and good works.  They believed that trust in Christ rather than correct theology constituted the core of the faith.  This de-emphasis on theology brought the Pietists into conflict with the more traditional Lutherans.
            
In his mid-20s, Neander became director of the Latin School of Dusseldorf, where he served for several years.  He experienced considerable opposition there because of his pietism, and was eventually dismissed from that position.  He then suffered declining health, and died at age 30. 

Neander's life was tragic in the classic sense –– a life of great potential cut short by an untimely death.  However, he wrote 60 hymns –– most during his tenure at the Latin School.  Most are hymns of joyful praise, even though they were written at a time when Neander was living under considerable stress.  Several of his hymns can be found in hymnals today, having inspired Christians around the world for more than three centuries.  Few of us, regardless of longevity, can hope to have a legacy as enduring.  It seems fair to say that God made more of Neander's life than Neander could ever have expected.
  
BIBLE VERSE:      Revelation 4:8 - "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!"

HYMN LYRICS:

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration. 

Praise to the Lord, Who over all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires ever have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?


Praise to the Lord, Who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.


Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.

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