"HAIL TO THE LORD’S ANOINTED"
"In His days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth" (Ps. 72:7)
INTRO.: A hymn which points to Him in whose days the righteouls shall flourish is "Hail to the Lord’s Anointed." The text was written by James Montgomery (1771-1854). Produced as a paraphrase of Ps. 72 in eight stanzas for a Moravian convocation at Fulneck, England, in December of 1821, it was included in Montgomery’s 1822 book of Psalm paraphrases, Songs of Zion, revised in 1828, and republished in his 1853 Original Hymns for Public, Private, and Social Devotion. Other well known hymns by Montgomery include "According to Thy Gracious Word," "Go to Dark Gethsemane," and "In the Hour of Trial."
Several tunes have been used with "Hail to the Lord’s Anointed," but the one (Mendebras) found in our books is anonymous and said to be a traditional German folk melody. It was arranged in 1830 by Lowell Mason (1792-1872). First used with "I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord" by Timothy Dwight, it was published in Mason’s 1839 Modern Psalmist. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for us in churches of Christ, the song appeared 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 1965 Great Christian Hymnal No. 2 edited by Tillit S. Teddlie. Today it may be found in the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand.
The song expresses praise to Christ as the Lord’s anointed who came to earth for mankind’s salvation.
I. Stanza 1 praises Him as great David’s greater Son
"Hail to the Lord’s anointed, great David’s greater Son!
Hail in the time appointed, His reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression, to set the captive free;
To take away transgression and rule in equity."
A. It was prophesied that the Messiah would be a descendent of David: 2 Sam. 7:12-13
B. The song is not talking about Christ’s second coming with a supposed literal millennial reign on earth, but about His first coming when He would reign spiritually over all the kingdoms of the earth: Dan. 2:44
C. His purpose in coming would be to set the captive free: Rom. 6:17-18
II. Stanza 2 praises Him as the one who comes to succor those who suffer wrong
"He comes in succor speedy to those who suffer wrong;
To help the poor and needy, and bid the weak be strong;
To give them songs for sighing, their darkness turn to light,
Whose souls, condemned and dying, were precious in His sight."
A. His purpose in coming would also be to succor or aid those who suffer wrong, need, or weakness: Heb. 2:17-18
B. It was prophesied that He would give them good things instead of that which causes sighing and darkness to comfort and console them: Isa. 61:1-3
C. The reason that He would want to do this is that souls are precious in His sight: Matt. 16:26
III. Stanza 3 praises Him as the one who comes to bring love, joy, and hope
"He shall come down like showers upon the fruitful earth;
Love, joy, and hope, like flowers, spring in His path to birth.
Before Him, on the mountains, shall peace, the herald, go,
And righteousness, in fountains, from hill to valley flow."
A. As the showers bring water to the earth, so the Messiah came to bring the water of life: Jn. 4:14
B. As the water causes the flowers to grow, so the Lord’s will produces the fruit of love, joy, and hope: Gal. 5:22-23
C. Both peace and righteousness result because His gospel reveals God’s plan of salvation and is the gospel of peace: Rom. 1:16, 10:15
IV. Stanza 4 praises Him as the King of all kings
"Kings shall fall down before Him, and gold and incense bring;
All nations shall adore Him, His praise all people sing;
For He shall have dominion o’er river, sea and shore,
Far as the eagle’s pinion or dove’s light wing can soar."
A. Kings shall fall down before Him because He is the King of kings: Rev. 19:11-16
B. All nations shall adore Him because people of all nations will flow into His kingdom: Isa. 2:1-2
C. As King, His dominion is an everlasting dominion over all peoples, nations, and languages: Dan. 7:13-14
V. Stanza 5 praises Him as the Mediator through whom we pray
"For Him shall prayer unceasing and daily vows ascend;
His kingdom still increasing, a kingdom without end:
The mountain dews shall nourish a seed in weakness sown,
Whose fruit shall spread and flourish and shake like Lebanon."
A. Some books change this "To Him shall praise unceasing." Others say, "To Him shall prayer unceasing." I understand this simply to mean that He is the one Mediator between God and man: 1 Tim. 2:1-5
B. As our Mediator/King, His kingdom is still increasing, like the mustard seed grows into a strong tree-like plant: Matt. 13:31-32
C. The seed of His kingdom which is sown in weakness but which flourishes is the word: Lk. 8:11-15
VI. Stanza 6 praises Him as the eternal victor
"O’er every foe victorious, He on His throne shall rest;
From age to age more glorious, all blessing and all blest.
The tide of time shall never His covenant remove;
His Name shall stand forever, His Name to us is Love."
A. The end result of His coming is that He sits as victor over every foe upon His throne: Rev. 3:21
B. From age to age, He will be so glorious and exalted that every knee should bow to Him and every tongue should confess Him: Phil. 2:9-11
C. Also, His name and His reign will stand forever and ever: Rev. 11:15
CONCL.: The two other stanzas, which are normally not used, although I have seen #3 in at least one book, are as follows:
3. "By such shall He be fearèd while sun and moon endure;
Beloved, obeyed, reverèd; for He shall judge the poor
Through changing generations, with justice, mercy, truth,
While stars maintain their stations, or moons renew their youth."
5. "Arabia’s desert ranger to Him shall bow the knee;
The Ethiopian stranger His glory come to see;
With offerings of devotion ships from the isles shall meet,
To pour the wealth of oceans in tribute at His feet."
When we read all the Old Testament prophecies about what the Messiah was to do when He came, and then read the fulfilment of those prophecies in the life and present reign of Jesus Christ, we are filled with awe and wonder in which we say, "Hail, to the Lord’s Anointed."