“Outshine the Sun”

“OUTSHINE THE SUN”
“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament…” (Dan. 12:3)

     INTRO.: A song which reminds us that those who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament is “Outshine the Sun.” Both the text and the tune are of unknown origin. In American Negro Folk-Songs of 1928 Newman Ivey White wrote, "With this and the preceding song compare no. 298 in the Ham-Ramsay Revival Hymns, used extensively in Southern revivals today (Chattanooga, TN, n.d., but between 1917 and 1925). ‘If you will come to Jesus you will outshine the sun, You will outshine the sun, you will outshine the sun, And walk the golden streets on high.’ The remaining six stanzas differ only in the if clauses" (p. 107).  Unfortunately, she did not give the remaining six stanzas, but in Songs of Redemption and Praise edited by John A. Davis and John Ralston Clements in 1906, the following nine stanzas are found:
1. If you’ll give your heart to Jesus
2. If you’ll do as Jesus bids you
3. If you’ll win a soul for Jesus
4. If the Spirit dwells within you
5. If you’ll only stop your growling
6. If you’ll only stop your scowling
7. If you’ll follow in His footsteps
8. If you’ll freely give to Jesus
9. I will meet you in the morning When we’ll outshine…

     The Hymnary.org website cites six instances of the song beginning “If you will come to Jesus, You will outshine the sun,” the earliest being the 1909 Songs for the King’s Business edited by Franklin Edson Belden for the Sunday School Supply House in Chicago, IL, which says, “Adapted by F. E. Belden from words and music heard at Pacific Garden Mission, Chicago, in 1898, when used by Melville Trotter and Harry Monroe; musical theme borrowed from old song book.” The seven stanzas there are as follows:
1. If you will come to Jesus
2. If you keep on believing
3. If you keep on obeying
4. If you lift up the fallen
5. If you’re a cheerful giver
6. If you’re a smiling Christian
7. If you keep close to Jesus
The Hymnary.org website also cites two instances of a similar song beginning “If Jesus is your Savior, You will outshine the sun.” Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, a three-stanza version appeared in the children’s section of the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2 and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 both edited by L. O. Sanderson, where it is marked simply as “Arranged” (I suspect by editor Sanderson). This same version is found today in the 1977 Special Sacred Selections edited by Ellis J. Crum.  Using this version as a basis, I have altered the words somewhat to avoid needless repetition and give the song a little more substance.

     Often called a children’s hymn, the song encourages us to do what God wants in order to shine before Him.

I. Stanza 1 tells us that we must come to Jesus
“If you will come to Jesus, You will outshine the sun
Then when life’s day is done, Victory is won;
If you will live for Jesus, Then the race you will run,
And walk the gold streets on high.”
 A. Jesus wants us to come to Him: Matt. 11:28-30
 B. Only in this way can we have the victory that God will give: 1 Cor. 15:57
 C. If we do this, we can have the prize that He offers when the race is run: 2 Tim. 4:6-8

II. Stanza 2 tells us to keep close to Jesus
“If you keep close to Jesus, You will outshine the moon,
And if Jesus comes soon, You’ll sing His tune;
If you will live for Jesus, You will shine bright as noon,
And walk the gold streets on high.”
 A. The Lord wants us to draw near Him: Jas. 4:8
 B. One way that we keep near Him is to sing psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs: Col. 3:16
 C. This will help us to live for Him by faith all of our lives: Heb. 10:38-39

III. Stanza 3 tells us to be faithful
“If you are ever faithful, You will outshine each star,
There with no prison bar, You’ll dwell afar;
If you will live for Jesus, You will know where you are,
And walk the golden streets on high.”
 A. Christ wants us to be faithful to Him: Rev. 2:10
 B. Having been set free from the prison of sin, we have the hope of dwelling afar with Him in heaven: 1 Pet. 1:3-5
 C. And by living for Jesus we can know where we are in His favor through that which has been written: 1 Jn. 5:13

     CONCL.: Some see in this song similarities to certain minstrel songs, which talk about walking the golden streets. Often these drew on genuine African American spirituals. One well known example is “Oh, dem golden slippers” by James Allen Bland:
“Oh, dem golden slippers, Oh, dem golden slippers
Golden slippers I’se goin’ to wear Because they look so neat.
Oh, dem golden slippers Oh, dem golden slippers
Golden slippers I’se goin’ to wear To walk the golden street.”
In any event, it is good to know that if we obey the Lord and serve Him in this life, we shall “Outshine the Sun.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s