God of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand by Daniel C. Roberts, 1876.
God of our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand
Leads forth in beauty all the starry band.
Of Shining worlds in splendor through the skies
Our grateful songs, before thy throne arise.
Observe: Roberts hymn was written to commemorate the 100th anniversary of our Declaration of Independence. Although we don’t sing this hymn in our church, Memorial Day is when we remember those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
Freedom is the central principle of God’s redeeming plan. When a young virgin named Mary was told she would soon give birth to a very special baby, she sang, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior … He has shown strength with his arm (Luke 1:47, 51, ESV). While we are not to confuse worldly kingdoms with the Kingdom of God, we do recognize the common grace of God’s almighty hand to bring the vision of “shining worlds of splendor” that he promises will come.
Thy Love divine hath led us in the past.
In this free land by thee our lot is cast.
Be thou our ruler, guardian, guide, and stay.
Thy Word Our Law, thy Paths our chosen ways.
The Declaration of Independence states, as self-evident truths, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Fallen humanity does not discover this ‘self-evident truth.’ Instead, human truth is self-centered. Verse 2 properly sets our focus on two important facts, that “Love divine hath led us in the past,” and “Thy Word Our Law, thy Paths our chosen ways.”
Verse 3 honors those fallen in defense of our liberty, reminding us that God inspired many, and their sacrifice is cause for our faith.
From wars alarms, from deadly pestilence,
Be thy Strong arm our ever sure defense;
Thy true religion in our hearts increase,
Thy Bounteous goodness, nourish us in peace.
Finally, in verse 4, Roberts writes of God’s unchanging promise to his people.
Refresh thy people on their toilsome way;
Lead us from night, to never ending day;
Fill all our lives, with love and grace divine,
And glory, laud, and praise be ever thine.
May God bless you and your loved ones who have served in the past, and may he continue to bless and keep those who are serving us now.
Blessings, Pastor Don.