A devotion for 14 April2020 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son. 2 He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment. 3 The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness. 4 He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor. 5 They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations. 6 He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth. 7 In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. 8 He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. 9 They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust. 10 The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. 11 Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him. 12 For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. 13 He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. 14 He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight. 15 And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: prayer also shall be made for him continually; and daily shall he be praised. 16 There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth. 17 His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed. 18 Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. 19 And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen. 20 The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.” (Psalm 72 KJV)
If I have previously written about this beautiful hymn, I cannot find where I have. It is considered by some to be the greatest hymn in the annals of the Protestant missionary movement. Its author is the renowned non-conformist, Isaac Watts, who composed the hymn in 1719. John Hatton composed the majestic music – DUKE STREET – in 1793. The hymn is based on the 72nd Psalm and inspired the Church to reach out to the dark places of the earth where no Word of God had previously been preached. It bears a wonderful and fruitful history in the missionary work of the Church and even for many far-flung churches of the Anglican Orthodox Communion.
JESUS SHALL REIGN WHERE’ER THE SUN
1 Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
does its successive journeys run,
his kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
till moons shall wax and wane no more.
2 To him shall endless prayer be made,
and praises throng to crown his head.
His name like sweet perfume shall rise
with every morning sacrifice.
3 People and realms of every tongue
dwell on his love with sweetest song,
and infant voices shall proclaim
their early blessings on his name.
4 Blessings abound where’er he reigns:
the prisoners leap to lose their chains,
the weary find eternal rest,
and all who suffer want are blest.
5 Let every creature rise and bring
the highest honors to our King,
angels descend with songs again,
and earth repeat the loud amen.
1 Jesus shall reign where’er the sun does its successive journeys run, his kingdom stretch from shore to shore, till moons shall wax and wane no more. At the time of its writing, the Church was spiritually dormant concerning the great famine of many nations around the world in hearing the Word of God. This hymn awakened that dormant Church to its obligations to “go into all the world.” It was not until 1779 that William Carey began to stir Christians with their responsibility to fulfill the Great Commission to the heathen. An Anglican Bishop once told Carey, “Young man, if God wants to save the heathen, he will do so without any help from you.” This is considered one of the finest missionary hymns ever written and one of the most widely used. As this stanza avers, Jesus shall reign where ever the beams of the sun fdiscovers lands and peoples upon whom to cast her light – because our Lord Jesus Christ is the essence and nature of Light, and in Him there is no darkness.
2 To him shall endless prayer be made, and praises throng to crown his head. His name like sweet perfume shall rise with every morning sacrifice. Our early morning sacrifices to our Lord are a broken and contrite heart for our sins of both commission and omission as the General Confession conveys. Hopefully, our first thoughts will be of our love and loyalty to the One who redeemed us with His own blood. “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.” Psalms 63:1-2
3 People and realms of every tongue dwell on his love with sweetest song, and infant voices shall proclaim their early blessings on his name. Yes, indeed, how well proclaimed that we all dwell on His love for without it, we are none of His. Many of our own family of churches were brought to the Throne of Grace singing this lovely hymn: “Probably no instance of its use has been more dramatic than when it was sung in one of the South Sea Islands in 1862. The conversion of the South Sea Islanders from cannibalism to Christianity is one of the most brilliant pages in the history of missionary conquest. One of the tribal kings had been with many of his people converted to Christianity, and he decided to proclaim a Christian constitution for his government. Accordingly, he set apart a certain day for the final ceremony. Over five thousand natives of the islands of Tonga, Fiji, and Samoa were present, rescued from the savagery of heathenism; and during the ceremony they all united their voices in singing: “Jesus shall reign where’er the sun Does His successive journeys run.” It is an inspiration to know that the former cannibals of Fiji even adopted the tune of a Christian hymn as their National Anthem: Meda Dau Doka or God Bless Fiji is the national anthem of Fiji. The melody was adapted from a 1911 hymn by Charles Austin Miles entitled Dwelling in Beulah Land due to the country’s Christian influences.”
4 Blessings abound where’er he reigns: the prisoners leap to lose their chains, the weary find eternal rest, and all who suffer want are blest. Those scattered across Africa, Asia and the Pacific Basin knew not of their lack and want until their eyes were opened by the Gospel with the Holy Spirit breathing meaning and understanding to their ears. But we have many in our own lands who have had an ongoing access to that Word and have not heard it. These are the modern-day prisoners in bondage to sin. America and Europe are foremost in that lot. It is far more serious to suffer want of the wisdom of God than the want of food and apparel.
5 Let every creature rise and bring the highest honors to our King, angels descend with songs again,
and earth repeat the loud amen. The Angels of God sang on the morning of Creation. “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” ob 38:4-7. The Angels of God sang at the birth of our Lord: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:8-14
There will come a third such visitation of the Heavenly Host singing at the return of our Lord. It is my prayer that you and your loved ones will be joining in that Heavenly chorus.