Monday, November 14, 2005

Not to us.... Psalm 115

Preparing a study on Psalm 115, I found this hymn based on it. It's in 8787 meter which fits nicely to the tune of Love Divine All Loves Excelling...
Not to us be glory given,
but to him who reigns above;
Glory to the God of heaven,
for his faithfulness and love!
What tho’ unbelieving voices
hear no word and see no sign,
Still in God my heart rejoices,
working out his will divine.

Not what human fingers fashion,
gold and silver, deaf and blind,
Dead to knowledge and compassion,
having neither heart nor mind –
Lifeless gods some yet adore them ,
nerveless hands and feet of clay,
All become, who bow before them ,
lost indeed, and dead as they.

Not in them the hope of blessing;
hope is in the living Lord!
High and low, his name confessing,
find in him their shield and sword.
Hope of all whose hearts revere him,
God of Israel, still the same!
God of Aaron! Those who fear him
he remembers all by name.

Not the dead, but we the living
praise the Lord with all our power;
Of his goodness freely giving,
his is heaven, earth is ours.
Not to us be glory given,
but to him who reigns above:
Glory to the God of heaven
for his faithfulness and love!
(Timothy Dudley-Smith 1974)


  1. Aah, Timothy Dudley Smith, great stuff.

    Good tune to fit it too as well, the metre thing with hymns is so handy.

    But...God of Aaron? Why Aaron, specifically?! :-p

  2. Was looking desperate for a while cos the only one i could find in The Source was What a friend we have in Jesus.... any other good 8787 tunes?

    Aaron: cos thats what the Psalm says... an exodus reference..?

  3. I'm singing it right now to a tune which came so naturally I can only assume we sung it to that in Emmanuel Leamington and therefore that it's in Praise!... ah yes, see here. Both Praise! and Christian Hymns have good metrical indices at the back (unfortunatly not available on the Praise! website). (My Revised Scottish Metrical Version Psalter also has 2 versions of the psalm but I doubt you'll be keen on that :D A Metrical Psalter music book may have a fair number of suitable tunes in though.)

    The 'God of Aaron' title is made rather obscure in the TDS paraphrase, as good as it is, because he's reduced the the "Israel, Aaron, those who fear the Lord" pattern of vv9-13 to 3 lines with no pattern. In the psalmist's pattern, it is the "house of Aaron" which is addressed - ie the Priesthood, after the whole nation is addressed, and before the 'you who fear the Lord' is addressed. All poetry. That would be one of my criticisms of TDS - I laud him for attempting to write modern hymns, and basing many on the psalms, but he's not a poet. This is one of his better offerings :) But then I was brought up on the Scottish Metrical, which tried to keep really close to the psalms but squished them into metre and made them rhyme by sound rather than idea (urgh) - but it does mean I know a fair number of psalms by heart. If TDS's help people sing the main ideas of the psalm then all good.

  4. PS. Sorry, I seemed to delete the part of that post where I said that as I don't have my hymn books with me, I can't find you the tune to which I find myself singing the TDS Ps115. It may not be what's written for it in Praise! - but if you don't have one get hold of it if only for the joy of all the indices you could want in a hymn book :D.