"ALL LANDS TO GOD IN JOYFUL SOUNDS"
"Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands" (Ps. 66.1)
INTRO.: A song which tells us that the gospel message is intended for all lands is "All Lands To God In Joyful Sounds." The text is an anonymous metrical version of Psalm 66.1-7 taken from The Psalmist of 1912. The tune (Miles Lane or Shrubsole) was composed by William Shrubsole, who was born on Nov. 21, 1759, at Sheerness in Kent, England (some sources say at Canterbury c. 1760), the son of a blacksmith. After beginning his music training as a chorister in Canterbury Cathedral, at the age of 22, he became organist at Bangor Cathedral, but was dismissed less than two years later because of his sympathies with the Dissenters outside the established Anglican Church. As a young man, he worked as a shipwright in the dockyard and then as a clerk but in 1759 moved to London and entered the Bank of England. Subsequently he became Secretary to the Committee of the Treasury. At first he attended St. Anne’s Church in Blackfriars, but for the last twenty years years of his life he worshipped with the Congregationalists and attended Hoxton Academy Chapel.
This melody first appeared anonymously in the Gospel Magazine of Nov., 1779, with the first stanza of Edward Perronett’s "All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name" and for years remained the preferred melody for that hymn in England. Soon after this, it appeared in Addington’s 1780 Collection of Psalm Tunes attributed to Shrubsole. While in London, Shrubsole taught music privately and in 1784 secured a position as organist at Spa Fields Chapel, Clerkenwell, which was one of Lady Huntingdon’s independent chapels. Also an author whose hymns were contributed to the Evangelical Magazine, Christian Magazine, Theological Miscellany, Christian Observer, and Youth’s Magazine, he was a director and secretary with the London Missionary Society and died on Aug. 23, 1829 at Highbury, England (some sources say on Jan. 18, 1806, at London).
The modern harmonization of the tune is taken from The New Christian Hymnal of 1929. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, this text, to my knowledge, has never been included. The tune was found as an alternative melody with "All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name" in the 1921 Great Songs of the Church (No. 1) and the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 both edited by E. L. Jorgenson; and the 1963 Christian Hymnal
edited by J. Nelson Slater. The first time I saw this tune used with the metrical Psalm text was in the 1961 Trinity Hymnal published by Great Commission Publications for the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
The song reminds us that since all lands should praise God, the gospel message needs to be taken to all lands.
I. Stanza 1 centers upon God’s honor
"All lands, to God in joyful sounds, Aloft your voices raise;
Sing forth the honor of His Name, And glorious make His praise."
A. People of all lands and nations are to be taught the gospel of Christ: Matt. 28.19-20
B. Both those who teach and those who respond show forth the honor of His name: 1 Tim. 1.17
C. In this way, all the earth can be taught to praise the one true God: Heb. 13.15
II. Stanza 2 centers upon God’s works
"Say ye to God, how terrible In all Thy works art Thou!
To Thee the foes by Thy great power Shall be constrained to bow."
A. The word "terrible" in the scriptures does not mean what we usually think of it, very unpleasant or disagreeable, but causing great terror or fear and hence to be respected; the newer versions use "awesome": Ps. 45.4
B. What is said to be terrible or awesome are the works of God which can be seen by all lands: Ps. 145.4-7
C. It is God’s desire that because of His terrible works and their declaration in the preaching of His message even His foes would be
constrained to bow before Him: Isa. 45.23
III. Stanza 3 centers upon God’s worship
"Yea, all the earth shall worship Thee, And unto Thee shall sing;
To Thy great Name shall songs of joy With loud hosannas ring."
A. Another reason that the gospel message should be preached to all people is that God wants all people to worship Him: Jn. 4.24
B. In this worship, He wants people to sing unto Him: Col. 3.16
C. The purpose of this is so that people all over the world will praise His great name: Ps. 86.9
IV. Stanza 4 centers upon the dealings of God
"O come, behold the works of God, His mighty doings see;
In dealing with the sons of men Most wonderful is He."
A. Still another purpose in proclaiming God’s message to the whole world is that the Lord wants the whole world to see His mighty doings or deeds: Ps. 99.12
B. The purpose of these deeds has been to deal with the sons of men: Ps. 30.19
C. Such doings and dealings demonstrate how wonderful God is: Ps. 139.6
V. Stanza 5 centers upon the guidance of God
"He led in safety through the flood The people of His choice;
He turned the sea to solid ground; In Him let us rejoice."
A. One aspect of proclaiming the gospel message is declaring what God has done for His people; the "flood" here refers primarily to the Red Sea: Exo. 14.26-31
B. The people whom He led in safety through the flood were the people of His choice, the nation of Israel: 1 Ki. 3.8
C. While God has not promised to lead us through the Red Sea on solid ground, Christians are still His chosen people and they can look to His power for guidance through this life: Ps. 66.5-7
VI. Stanza 6 centers upon God’s rule
"He rules forever by His might, His eyes the nations try;
Let not the proud, rebellious ones Exalt themselves on high."
A. God wants His message to be proclaimed to the whole world because He rules over the entire universe and He wants to rule over everyone on earth: Ps. 103.19
B. One aspect of His rule is that His eyes try the nations and indeed will judge the whole world: Ps. 96.13
C. Therefore, the proud and rebellious should not exalt themselves on high because, unless they repent, they will ultimately be destroyed: 2 Thess. 1.7-9
CONCL.: There was a time when only metrical versions of the Old Testament Psalms were sung in English speaking churches. We still have several of these older Psalm versifications in our books, as well as several newer arrangements of some of the Psalms There are yet a few religious organizations today which allow only the Psalms for singing in their worship. Most of us are not opposed to the use of good hymns and gospel songs, but including the Psalms in our singing can be helpful in reminding us that we should be sending God’s message everywhere to encourage praise to come from "All Lands, to God, in Joyful Sounds."