Carolyn Wood’s Devotional – August 7, 2021

“Fairest Lord Jesus” – 1677

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given . . . And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God. Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

This week we jump back 200 years from last week’s hymn. This hymn came from Roman Catholic Jesuits in Germany and originally had six verses. It first appeared in 1677 in a Jesuit hymnbook titled Munster Gesanbuch, but the text of the hymn was in existence at least fifteen years earlier, for it has been found in a manuscript dating back to 1662. Yet the origin of the words remains a mystery.

Who translated it into English? That, too, is largely a mystery. The first three stanzas are the work of an anonymous translator. The fourth stanza was by Joseph A. Seiss, and it first appeared in a Lutheran Sunday School book in 1873.

How appropriate that no human author draws attention to the great theme of this song. There’s no source to distract from the subject, no story to detract from the Savior.

This hymn emphasizes the beauty and wonder of Christ, and it alludes to His dual nature, that He was both human and divine, God made flesh, the God-Man: O Thou of God and man the Son . . . . Son of God and Son of Man . . . .

It brings to mind one of the greatest observations ever made about Christ, uttered by the “Golden-mouthed” preacher of Antioch, John Chrysostom, in a fourth-century sermon: “I do not think of Crist as God alone, or man alone, but both together. For I know He was hungry, and I know that with five loaves He fed five thousand. I know He was thirsty, and I know that He turned the water into wine. I know He was carried in a ship, and I know that He walked on the sea. I know that He died, and I know that He raised the dead. I know that He was set before Pilate, and I know that He sits with the Father on His throne. I know that He was worshiped by angels, and I know that He was stoned by the Jews. And truly some of these I ascribe to the human, and others to the divine nature. For by reason of this He is said to have been both God and man.”

Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
Now and forever more be Thine.

Jesus tells us to trust Him with every fiber of our beings! What He can accomplish in and through us is proportional to how much we depend on Him. One aspect of this is the degree to which we trust Him in a crisis or major decision. Some people fail miserably here, while others are at their best in tough times. Another aspect is even more telling: the constancy of our trust in Jesus. People who rely on Him in the midst of adversity may forget about Him when life is flowing smoothly. Difficult times can jolt us into awareness of our need for Him, whereas smooth sailing can lull us into the stupor of self-sufficiency. Yep, got me pegged!

Jesus cares as much about our tiny trust-steps through daily life as about our dramatic leaps of faith. We may think that no one notices, but the One who is always beside us sees everything— and rejoices. Consistently trusting in Jesus is vital to flourishing in His Presence.

I don’t know about you, but I suspect we have at least one thing in common and that would be: when I’m in trouble, I turn to God’s word. Solace and strength can always be found there. Here are a few passages that have always made me feel better in the midst of crisis.

Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—
in peace because they trust in you.
Trust in the LORD forever,
for in the LORD GOD
you have an everlasting rock. Isaiah 16:3-4

when I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I am not afraid;
what can flesh do to me? Psalm 56:3-4

Happy are those who make
The LORD their trust,
who do not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after false gods. Psalm 40:4

Paul Baloche Fairest Lord Jesus (My Soul’s Glory)

Grace, Peace and Joy to you as you listen!