Tuesday, May 16, 2017

All People That On Earth Do Dwell

All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
Him serve with mirth, his praise forth tell
Come ye before him and rejoice.

Know that the Lord is God indeed;
Without our aid He did us make;
We are His flock; He doth us feed,
and for His sheep He doth us take.

O, enter then His gates with praise;
Approach with joy His courts unto;
Praise, laud, and bless His name always,
For it is seemly so to do.

For why? The Lord our God is good;
His mercy is forever sure;
His truth at all times firmly stood,
And shall from age to age endure.

Sunday before last, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang All People That On Earth Do Dwell, a setting of William Kethe's adaptation of the 100th Psalm. Many hymns of praise feel saccharine to me, so I especially enjoyed singing a song of praise that speaks to my heart.

This text stands out to me because instead of praising by attempting to create an impressive concatenation of superlatives, it teaches specifics about God's goodness. In particular, the second verse teaches us that "Without our aid He did us make." He created each one of us and this marvelous world in which we live. It continues, "We are His flock; He doth us feed, and for His sheep He doth us take." Sheep are terrible at taking care of themselves, so caring for them is a tremendous responsibility. And yet He chooses to feed us, day by day.

The second verse gives us ample reason to praise the Lord, but the third and fourth verses are what leave me in a state of awe: "Enter then His gates with praise; Approach with joy His courts unto." We are invited to pass through His gates and enter into His courts on high. Almighty God has invited us to live with Him forever! In fact, "His mercy is forever sure." He gave us His Son, who lived a perfect life, died, and rose again so that He could bring us back to His Father's presence.

I also take comfort in the fact that "His truth at all times firmly stood, and shall from age to age endure." In a world of good but fallible people with ever-changing understanding of the world and the complexities of life, I take great comfort in knowing that I can rely on God to teach unchanging, perfect truth.

"The Lord our God is good." And I am grateful for it.

1 comment:

Bryan Tanner said...

Thanks, Petey. I appreciate your perspective on which hymns touch you the most. It seems you're a no-nonsense, truth kind of guy. I hope your ward will get to hear a similar confession from you in testimony meeting.