"I SING THE MIGHTY POWER OF GOD"
"For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them…" (Exo. 20.11)
INTRO.: A hymn which indicates that one aspect of our worship is to sing about the Lord who made heaven and earth is "I Sing The Mighty Power of God." The text was written by Isaac Watts (1674-1748). Originally in eight four-line stanzas with the opening line, "I sing th’almighty power of God," it was first published in his 1715 Divine and Moral Songs for Children. Various alterations have been made through the years. The usual tune (Ellacombe) used with the song is of unknown origin. It first appeared in the Wurttemberg, Germany, Gesangbuch der herzoglichen of 1748. In the 1833 Vollstandige Sammlung edited by Xavier Ludwig Hartwig it is given the date of 1700. The arrangement was made by William Henry Monk (1823-1889). It first appeared in the 1868 Appendix to Hymns Ancient and Modern.
Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the text appeared with a tune (Hermann) by Nicolaus Hermann and the tune appeared with a text "Go Forward, Christian Soldier" by Lawrence Tuttiett in the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater. Today, the song is found in the 1986 Great Songs Revised edited by Forrest M. McCann (the tune is also used with Jeanette Threlfall’s "Hosanna, Loud Hosanna"), the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand, and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise edited by Alton H. Howard. Most modern books combine the original four-line stanzas into eight-line stanzas, but the majority omit the final two, which I have transposed to make stanza 3 below.
While probably not very familiar to us, this is an excellent hymn of praise to our Creator.
I. Stanza 1 emphasizes the creative power of God
"I sing the mighty power of God That made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad, And built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained The sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at His command, And all the stars obey."
A. It was God who established the mountains by His strength: Ps. 65.5-6
B. He also spread the flowing seas abroad and built the lofty skies of the firmament: Gen. 1.6-10
C. In addition, He ordained the sun to rule the day, the moon to rule the night, and the stars to shine: Gen. 1.14-18
II. Stanza 2 emphasizes the providential goodness of God
"I sing the goodness of the Lord That filled the earth with food;
He formed the creatures with His word And then pronounced them good.
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed Where’er I turn my eye,
If I survey the ground I treat Or gaze upon the sky."
A. It is God who fills the earth with food: Acts 14.17
B. He began this when He formed the creatures with His word and pronounced them good: Gen. 1.31
C. As a result of His goodness, His wonders are displayed whevever we turn: Ps. 19.1, 107.23-24
III. Stanza 3 emphasizes the loving protection of God
"In heaven He shines with beams of love, With wrath in hell beneath;
‘Tis on His earth I stand or move, And ’tis His air I breathe.
His hand is my perpetual guard, He keeps me with His eye;
Why should I then forget the Lord Who is forever nigh?"
A. While we must never forget that God’s wrath is demonstrated in hell, we must also remember that His love shines down from heaven: Ps. 103.8-14
B. This love is manifested to those who stand on the earth because the earth is the Lord’s: Ps. 24.1
C. Therefore, we can look to Him as our perpetual guard who keeps us with His eye: Ps. 32.8, 33.18
IV. Stanza 4 emphasizes the watchful care of God
"There’s not a plant nor flower below But makes Thy glories known;
And clouds arise and tempest blow By order from Thy throne.
While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care,
And everywhere that man can be, Thou, God, art present there."
(The original last two lines read as follows; I do not know who altered them or where:
"Creatures–as numerous as they be–Are subject to Thy care;
There’s not a place where we can flee But God is present there.")
A. The very plants and flowers of earth make known that God cares for them: Matt. 6.28-30
B. This reminds us that all who receive life from God are in His care because He cares for us: 1 Pet. 5.7
C. Thus, we can know that everywhere we might be, God is present there: Ps. 139.7-12
CONCL.: This hymn was written for children, and it is certainly an appropriate one for them to learn and sing. However, it is equally appropriate for adults. It is a pity that it has not been included in more of our books through the years, but I am glad that it is finding its way into more recent ones published by brethren. When I consider all that God has done, is doing, and will do for me, "I Sing The Mighty Power of God."