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Notes on the Notes – September 27, 2020

Creation 3

Life-giving Water

Exodus 17:17           Phil. 2:1-13

This Week’s Music:

“Crashing Waters at Creation” (VU #449)

“Crashing waters at creation, ordered by the spirit’s breath,
First to witness day’s beginning from the brightness of night’s death.

Parting water stood and trembled as the captives passed on through,
Washing off the chains of bondage – channel to a life made new.

Cleansing water once at Jordan closed around the one love-told,
Opened to reveal the glory ever new and ever old.

Living water, never ending, quench the thirst and flood the soul.
Well-spring, Source of life eternal, drench our dryness, make us whole.”

This hymn by Sylvia Dunston reminds us of the use and significance of water in the journey of faith.  She takes us through creation, the crossing of the Hebrews through the waters of the Red Sea during the Exodus, and the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan river, through to our own baptism.  The song is taken from her collection In Search of Hope and Grace (1991).   This week we will be using the tune, STUTTGART, which we are familiar with as the melody for the hymn “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus.”

“O God of Bethel” (VU #650)

The original text of this hymn was written by Philip Doddridge in 1736 and emphasized that God has promised His people to be with them and keep them in all places where they go.  The text was later revised by John Logan around 1781. The tune, SALZBURG, is usually attibuted to Johann Michael Haydn (ca 1806), the younger brother of Franz Josef Haydn.

I. Stanza 1 addresses God as the one who has always fed and led His people:

“O God of Bethel, by whose hand Thy people still are fed,
Who through this weary pilgrimage have all your servants led.”

 A. Bethel was the place where Jacob had his dream, received God’s blessing, and promised to serve Him: Gen. 28:16-22
B. It is by God’s hand that we are still fed, just as God sent manna for the children of Israel in the wilderness: Exo. 16:14-15
C. And as God led them, God still leads us through our weary pilgrimage: 1 Pet. 2:11-12

II. Stanza 2 says that we present our vows and our prayers before His throne:

“Our vows, our prayers, we now present Before your throne of grace;
God of past ages, be the God Of each succeeding race.”

 A. Because God is loving, we can make our requests known to Him in prayer: Phil. 4:6-7
B. This is symbolized by our coming before God’s throne of grace for help in time of need: Heb. 4:14-16
C. But we can do these things only as we make Him our God, just as God was the God of past generations who determined to serve Him with all their house: Josh. 24:15

III. Stanza 3 asks God to guide us and give us our daily bread:

“Through each perplexing path of life Our wandering footsteps guide;
Give us each day our daily bread, And shelter fit provide.”

 A. The path of life is often perplexing, and the right way is described as straight and narrow or difficult: Matt. 7:13-14
B. However, we look to God to guide us with His word as the lamp to our feet and light to our pathway: Ps. 119:105
C. In addition, we also look to God to give us each day our daily bread: Matt. 6:11

IV. Stanza 4 makes the request that God cover us with His wings and lead us to heaven:

“O spread your covering wings around Till all our wanderings cease,
And at our God’s beloved abode our souls arrive in peace.”

 A. We can request that God spread His covering wings around us as we journey through life: Ps. 36:7
B. Someday all our wanderings will cease when we pass from this life: Heb. 9:27
C. And our hope is that we shall arrive at peace in our Father’s loved abode: Jn. 14:1-3

(Source: https://hymnstudiesblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/27/quoto-god-of-bethelquot/)

Hear the hymn played on organ at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNjMIXp7ZhQ

“Moses Smote the Rock”        

“Out in the wilderness the Israelites complained,
‘We are getting thirsty, our strength is being drained.
Why did you bring us here with our sons and daughters
Out in this desert, without any water?’
God spoke to Moses, ‘Bring your flock,
Come to Mount Horeb, and meet me at the rock.’

God said to Moses, ‘Take the rod I gave to you.
You used it on the Nile and I brought you through.
Now go to that stone and hit it with your rod,
That all may know that I am your God!’
Moses called the people, he called his flock,
And when he hit the stone they got water from the rock.

Wandering in the wilderness, we needn’t be dismayed,
For He is still our God, who will give us aid.
And, when we find ourselves in a rocky place we can look to the Lord for His saving grace.
We are His children, we are His flock,
And He pours out blessing light water from a rock.”

Today’s anthem is a re-telling of the story from Exodus 17:1-6.  The third stanza is a reminder that God’s grace and blessings are always with us. It was written by Arlene Ydstie in 1984.

“Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” (VU #651)

“Guide me, O though great Jehovah, pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but thou art mighty, hold me with thy powerful hand.
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more,
Feed me till I want no more.

Open now the crystal fountain, whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar lead me all my journey through.
Strong deliverer, strong deliverer, be thou still my strength and shield,
Be though still my strength and shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan, bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of death, and hell’s destruction, land me safe on Canaan’s side;
Songs of praises, songs of praises I will ever give to thee
I will ever give to thee.”

William Williams was a hymn writer (in Welsh and English) and an itinerant preacher during the Welsh revival of the 1740s. The theme of this hymn, written in Welsh in 1745, is the Israelites’ return to the promised land.  More generally, the hymn confesses our human weakness, and trust in God’s divinity to bring us through the wilderness of life to a home in heaven.  The tune CWM RHONDDA was composed in 1905 by John Hughes, the precentor at Llantwit Fardre chapel, for a Baptist Cymanfau Ganu (Singing Festival) in Pontypridd.

Sing along with choirs and congregation at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT4n1hGjDDg

Enjoy the virtuoso organ playing of Diane Bish at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKJPjW-Y_WU

To Ponder:

What does water mean for you? 

When have you experienced too much water?  Not enough water? 

How has the significance of water changed in the present time?

Categories: Notes on the Notes