"HOME OF THE SOUL"
"And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal" (Rev. 4:6)
INTRO.: A song which talks about the spiritual place where the saints will dwell eternally before the throne of God is "Home of the Soul (#258 in Hymns for Worship Revised, and #365 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by James Rowe (1865-1933). A prolific hymn poem author, he is perhaps best known for "Love Lifted Me," although many other hymns by him appear in our books. The tune for "Home of the Soul" was composed by Samuel W. Beazley (1873-1944). It is dated 1911. The copyright was renewed in 1939 by the Stamps-Baxter Music and Printing Co. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century, it appeared in the 1952 Hymns of Praise and Devotion edited by Will W. Slater; the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater; the 1965 Great Christian Hymnal No. 2 edited by Tillit S. Teddlie; and the 1978 Hymns of Praise edited by Reuel Lemmons. Today it may be found in the 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1983 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship, Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.
The song envisions heaven as a wonderful goal toward which God’s children are striving.
I. Stanza 1 calls heaven a prize
"If for the prize we have striven, After our labors are o’er,
Rest to our souls will be given On the eternal shore."
A. Paul talks about pressing on toward the mark or goal for the prize: Phil. 3:13-14
B. This will occur after our labors are over, which will take place following death: Rev. 14:13
C. This prize will be given on the eternal shore because then we shall have eternal life: Mk. 10:30
II. Stanza 2 calls heaven a rest
"Yes, a sweet rest is remaining For the true children of God,
Where there will be no complaining, Never a chastening rod."
A. Just as Joshua gave the Israelites rest in Canaan, there yet remains a rest for the people of God: Heb. 4:9
B. This rest will be for the true children of God because it is they who have the hope of seeing Him as He is: 1 Jn. 3:1-2
C. In that place of rest, there will be nothing to cause complaining or bring the need of a chastening rod: Rev. 21:1-4
III. Stanza 3 calls heaven a homeland
"Soon, the bright homeland adorning, We shall behold the glad dawn.
Lean on the Lord till the morning; Trust till the night has gone."
A. The patriarchs of old looked upon heaven as their homeland: Heb. 11:13-16
B. The reception of a reward in this homeland is often pictured as the coming of a glad dawn or morning: Ps. 30:5
C. In order to receive the reward of this homeland, we must lean on the Lord and trust in Him: Prov. 3:5
CONCL.: The chorus reminds us of the blessedness of the eternal home that God has prepared for His people.
"Home of the soul, blessed kingdom of light,
Free from all care, and where falleth no night!
Oft in the storm, we are sighing for thee,
Beautiful home of the ransomed, beside the crystal sea."
Yes, we have responsibilities in our lives here below, but ultimately God’s purpose is for us to go to heaven, so as we go about our daily activities on earth, we must ever keep our affections on that "Home of the Soul."