“I’ll praise my Maker while I’ve breath, and when my voice is lost in death!..”
The beautiful words God gave to Issac Watts were some we always were drawn to. These words describe exactly how we feel as we praise Him. Even when we die, we will still praise God-He is so good, so Holy, so loving, and so righteous. Even in death, God holds onto his loved ones securely, perfectly. We cannot wait for the glorious day, to be in His Presence, praising His Name forever.
There are many beautiful hymns like “I’ll Praise My Maker” that are sung rather in rote, and maybe because the tune is so familiar, the temptation to let the mind wander becomes a problem. I noticed this as we sung our favorite hymns a few years ago. We asked the Lord to breathe new life into these songs for us. And in the case of “I’ll Praise My Maker”, we had begun playing with some tune ideas together. Rob, Robert, Gideon and I sat one Sunday and a solid sound was emerging, so we thought over some words to hymns that moved us. The Lord brought to our minds this Issac Watts classic. And like so often happens when the Holy Spirit moves, the words slid in among the chords and tune like they were always supposed to be there. We believe the Lord inspires each generation, and He fills praise with the life of His Presence. That’s what makes it sacred. So, to change a tune He has approved, or even apply new words to an old tune-if it draws the heart to God, we praise Him!
Then the Lord inspired Rob and Robert to change up the rhythm of the chorus. This gave an faster, alternate change of pace to the song. The verse is 4/4 and the verse is 6/8. The up beat change reminds me of that excited skip our heart feels when we draw near and sense the Lord’s Presence during times of worship or praise.
The Lord also introduced us to the Hebrew word “Elohim”. It is the Name Israel used that describes what we call the “triune” nature of God. God in Three Persons-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. What moved us was how Israel understood that God is One, and He is also Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Some might think of this as a New Testament revelation, but it isn’t. God has always revealed this beautiful mystery to His People. And the word Israel was so familiar with, was one we also wanted to apply to this song, in the place in the song where all of God is being praised, by His People on Mt. Zion.
“Praise shall employ my nobler powers/my days of praise shall ne’er be past/while life and thought and being last/or immortality endures…”
These words were the last ones sung by an aging, and ailing John Wesley as he spoke and sang for the last time before his death. When we were in North Dakota, I almost died having our youngest son. For me, it was one of those confirming times where I realized exactly what mattered and what didn’t. God was close during that time, as He always is, and moved me personally through the crisis. As a result, my days of praise, and all my nobler powers are now employed in praising Him. That moment of closeness during the crisis, and how He completely cared for the physical,emotional,and spiritual well being of our entire family was something we wanted to Praise Him for. And we never want to leave this beautiful place of Praise where He met us then, and now.
Praise is not a compartmentalized activity during our scheduled time of worship anymore, like maybe it was 10 years ago. Praise is now the air we breathe, and the house we move through. Praise fills the house all day as little fingers play strings, and voices sing. God moves through our house, and we are inspired, all the time, anytime.
By God’s Grace,OUR days of praise shall never be past! And oh, the awesome day, when we will sing before His Throne forever, is where are eyes are focused now, and is the greatest treasure for all eternity.