"LORD OF HOSTS"
"Who is the King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory" (Psalm 24:10)
INTRO.: A song which praises God as the the Lord of hosts and King of glory is "Lord of Hosts." The text was written by Claude Eugene Worley who was born on Feb. 17, 1902, in Rochester, TX, near Abilene and attended his first school at Sabinal. When he was nine years old, his family joined with a small "American Colony" in Mexico under the leadership of gospel preacher W. A. Schultz. A short while later, they moved to McAllen, TX, where he finished grammar and high school, after which he attended college at Stanford in Palo Alto, CA, the University of Texas at Austin, and U. C. L. A. and U. S. C., both in Los Angeles, CA, earning A. B. and M. A. degrees and lacking only a little of completing work on a Ph. D. After serving as an assistant supervisor of public instruction with the Los Angeles County School System, he retired to enter into business, operating an import-export business for five years, and then engaging in buying and selling investment properties for about twenty years.
In all of this, his primary concern was being a faithful Christian. As a successful businessman, he was able to assist in the financial support of gospel preachers in difficult places and to help in the estblishment of several churches in different localities. Although he never did consider himself a "full time" preacher, he often drove many miles to speak for struggling groups who needed help. While living in Beverly Hills, CA, he preached regularly on an interim basis for churches in Bakersfield, Simi Valley, Palm Springs, Culver City, and Canoga Park. In addition, there were few congregations in that area which did not call on him at some time to "fill in" for a Sunday. Meeting work with small churches having little means of support took him to the San Francisco, CA, area, several remote regions of Oregon and Washington, and at least on one occasion to southwestern Canada. On top of this, Worley also produced hymns. The tune for this one was composed by Roy John (R. J.) Stevens (b. 1927). The song was copyrighted in 1971. To my knowledge, it has never been published in a hymnbook.
I first became acquainted with the song sometime between 1972 and 1974 when a student at Florida College in Temple Terrace, FL, and attending the North Blvd. church of Christ in Tampa, FL. Worley’s sister, the late Gladys Koonce, was on the faculty at the college and also a member at North Blvd. She had copies of this song and another ("Precious Communion" copyrighted in 1970 with the tune composed by Paula Stevens Ladd and R. J. Stevens) on gummed sheets which she and I pasted in the songbooks one Saturday afternoon. I attempted to lead it occasionally, especially on the monthly singing nights at North Blvd. With brother Stevens’s good music, it is an excellent song that deserves to be known and sung more than it has been. Still another 1971 hymn by Worley and Stevens, "Heaven, the Christian’s Dream," appeared in the Jan., 1975, issue of With All Boldness, a paper then published by J. Brent Lewis. And two other hymns by Worley, "God’s Power and Love" and "Hear Now Our Prayers," along with "Precious Communion," appear in Hymns for Worship. I had the privilege of meeting brother Worley on one occasion when he was in Tampa for the Florida College lectures. After a brief bout with cancer, he died at Desert Hospital, near his home in Palm Springs, CA, at the age of 81 on Oct. 31, 1983. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, "Lord of Hosts" has not appeared and is not found in any to my knowledge.
This song is a wonderful expression of honor and glory to our God.
I. Stanza 1 identifies God as the Ancient of Days who is worthy of worship
"Dear Lord of hosts and Ancient of Days,
We worship Thee now and give Thee our praise.
As Thou from heaven art ruling on high,
We bow before Thee and strive to draw nigh."
A. The Bible refers to God in Heaven on His throne as the Ancient of Days: Dan. 7.13
B. This eternal being, as Creator of the universe, is worthy of our worship: Jn. 4.24
C. Therefore, we should bow before Him and strive to draw nigh to Him: Jas. 4.8
II. Stanza 2 identifies God as the giver of every good and perfect gift
"The heavens, earth’s beauty, and flowers of spring
Proclaim Thy own glory and prove Thy great name;
Through all creation Thou showest true love,
That every good gift comes down from above."
A. Everything in the heavens and on the earth proclaims the glory of God: Ps. 148.1-12
B. In all that God has created, we see a witness of His love for mankind in making provisions for our physical needs: Acts 14.17
C. Thus, we should praise Him because every good gift comes down from above: Jas. 1.17
III. Stanza 3 identifies God as the source of our salvation
"Thou would that no one should perish in sin;
Thus life everlasting on Thee doth depend.
Let all the nations and all of mankind
Give praise unto Thee and have peace of mind."
A. God is not willing that any should perish: 2 Pet. 3.9
B. Thus, He offers life everlasting or eternal salvation to all who obey Christ: Heb. 5.8-9
C. Those who come to Him in obedience can have peace of mind: Phil. 4.6-7
CONCL.: The chorus then asks this God to be our guard to watch over us and our guide to direct us through life.
"Watch o’er us each moment through day and through night;
Direct now our footsteps in paths that are right.
Remind us each day Thy word is our guide
That leads us to heaven, a home by Thy side."
One could wish that this excellent hymn would be available in some form for us today to give us another option as we choose songs by which we can give praise unto the "Lord of Hosts."