(SINCE) “THE LOVE OF GOD” (HAS SHED)
“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude v. 21)
INTRO.: A song which encourages us to keep ourselves in God’s love while looking to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life is “The Love of God” beginning “Since the love of God has shed” (#636 in Hymns for Worship Revised, #266 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Laurene Highfield, who, though her name is known, is next to anonymous, at least terrestrially as a songwriter. One source says that she was born at Quincy, IL, in 1870. What we do know about her is that she was a playwright, who lived in Adams County, IL, in 1900 and 1910. Some of the scripts attributed to her include The Usurper Overthrown; Immanuel; Hope for the Ages; Hail to the Victor; and The Jolly Tars. Also she produced about three hundred hymns and sacred songs, the libretto of one oratorio, and several cantatas, among other works.
Another of Highfield’s fairly well-known hymns, though it has not appeared in any of our books, is “The Work Must Go On.” In addition, we know “The Love of God” was a 1916 composition (some sources give a 1917 copyright date), written when she was 46 years old, with the tune (Priceless Blessings) composed by Samuel William Beazley (1873-1944). Copyrighted by Beazley, the song was later owned by Stamps-Baxter after its renewal in 1944. A couple of other collaborations between Highfield and Beazley which have appeared in many of our books are “Somebody Loves You: ‘Tis Jesus” and “Cling to His Hand.” This is about all the information available on Laurene Highfield. Even her date of death is not well-known. One source gives 1970, which is not impossible, though another says 1927, which is probably more likely.
Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church for use in churches of Christ, the song has appeared in the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater; 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 Hymns of Praise edited by Reuel Lemmons; the 1978/1983 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; the 1992 Praise for t he Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat; the 2009 Favorite Songs of the Church and the 2010 Songs for Worship and Praise both edited by Robert J. Taylor Jr.; the 2012 Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs edited by Steve Wolfgang et. al.; and the 2017 Standard Songs of the Church edited by Michael Grissom; in addition to Hymns for Worship and Sacred Selections.
The song explains what we must do to keep ourselves in God’s love.
I. Stanza 1 tells us to hide in our hearts
Since the love of God has shed
Priceless blessings on my head,
I have made it my own;
I will hide it in my heart
That it never may depart,
It shall rule there alone.
- The love of God makes possible the priceless spiritual blessings that we have: Eph. 1:3-4
- We need to hide it in our hearts: Rom. 5 :5
- This will enable Christ to dwell and rule in our hearts: Eph. 3:17-19
- Stanza 2
II. Stanza 2 tells us to let Jesus who manifested it reign in our lives
Since the Son of God came down
With His love our lives to crown,
He with us would remain;
Greater love there could not be,
Jesus died for you and me,
In our hearts, He would reign.
- Because of His love for us, the Son of God came down: Phil. 2:5-7
- His purpose in this was to show His love by dying for us: 1 Jn. 3:16
- Therefore, we should sanctify and crown Him as Lord in our hearts: 1 Pet. 3:15
III. Stanza 3 tells us to share it with others by serving mankind
He who gave His love to me
That I might from sin be free
Bids me share it today;
“As I love you,” He has said,
“You must serve men in My stead
As you go on your way.”
- Jesus manifested His love for us by making it possible for us be free from sin: Rom. 8:1-2
- He in turn bids us share His love with others: 1 Jn. 4:9-11
- We do this by serving our fellow man: Gal. 5:13-14
IV. Stanza 4 tells us to reflect it in our example
While His love burns true and bright
We are walking in the light,
He has shown us the road;
We His glory must reflect,
Lest our dimness and neglect
Keep some soul from its God.
- As a result of His love, we can walk in the light: 1 Jn. 1:5-7
- We in turn must reflect His glory as lights in this world: Matt. 5:14-16
- If we don’t, our dimness and neglect may keep some soul from God by placing a stumblingblock before him: Rom. 14:13
CONCL.: The chorus reminds us of how important God’s love is to us.
The love of God within the heart
Will kindliness and warmth impart;
The soul will glow like Jesus in His tender mercy,
If the heart is made His dwelling place;
The love of God glows like a flame,
Through endless years it is the same;
The love of God will never fail nor lose its glory
Till we see Him face to face.
The apostle John summed up the character of God by saying, “God is love.” Without this love, we could never hope to be saved and go to heaven. Therefore, it is entirely appropriate that we extol in song “The Love of God.”