Text by: Josiah Conder (1789-1855)
|Church Triumphant||https://youtu.be/1qsOKYZjDxE||J W Elliott|
|Deus tuorum militum||http://youtu.be/O65EfBWNGgo||Grenoble church melody|
Most hymnals will only use four or five of the verses, here is the complete poem.
1. The Lord is King! lift up thy voice,
O earth; and all ye heav’ns, rejoice!
from world to world the joy shall ring,
The Lord omnipotent is King.
2. The Lord is King! who then shall dare
resist his will, distrust his care,
or murmur at his wise decrees,
or doubt his royal promises?
3. The Lord is King! Child of the dust,
The Judge of all the earth is just;
Holy and true are all His ways;
Let every creature speak His praise.
4. O when His wisdom can mistake,
His might decay, His love forsake,
then may His children cease to sing,
The Lord omnipotent is King!
5. Alike pervaded by his eye,
all parts of his dominion lie;
this world of ours, and worlds unseen,
and thin the boundary between.
6. He reigns! ye saints, exalt your strains;
Your God is King, your Father reigns;
And He is at the Father’s side,
The Man of love, the Crucified.
7. Come, make your wants, your burdens known;
He will present them at the throne;
And angel bands are waiting there
His messages of love to bear.
8. One Lord, one empire, all secures;
he reigns, and life and death are yours:
through earth and heav’n one song shall ring,
The Lord omnipotent is King!
Josiah Conder draws heavily from imagery of the Psalms throughout this entire hymn. One cannot always identify a specific scripture which served as the inspiration, but a few stand out.
The phrase “the Lord is King” is found only in the book of Psalms 10:16 which reads “the Lord is King ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land.” But this is not just any ordinary king, this is the Lord Omnipotent who is King. This theme of the Lord’s omnipotence is the guiding image throughout the hymn. Marking the end of the first, fourth, and final stanzas. It is this omnipotence which everything else comes from.
If the Lord is truly omnipotent, possessing all power and authority, what type of fool would dare “resist his will, distrust his care, or murmur at his wise decrees, or doubt his royal promises?” Psalm 1 compares the man who has wisdom and avoids the foolish man who denies the Law. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”
“Child of dust” describes the unparalleled event of the incarnation. The omnipotent became a child of dust. By becoming a child of dust like his creation, he demonstrated His love and willingness to sacrifice to bring his children back to Himself.
The fourth stanza tells of the time we can cease to sing the Lord’s praises. “when His wisdom can mistake, His might decay, His love forsake, then may His children cease to sing” However, the Lord is omnipotent, His wisdom cannot be wrong, He will not know decay, and He will never forsake His love for us.
In the fifth stanza we sing of His omnipotence which extends to all things, things of this world and things not of this world, he knows the very line which separates them.
The Lord reigns, our God is King, the Father reigns. The Child of Dust is at the Father’s side, the Man of love, the Crucified! Come to the Father with your burdens. The Child of Dust will present them to the throne where the angels are waiting to declare His message of love.
And finally, one Lord, and one empire which is His Kingdom throughout all of Heaven and Earth, one song shall ring throughout. The Lord Omnipotent is King! And herein lies our greatest hope.