Lately our human mortality has again caused me to reflect on the passing of life and time in our older days. When we are young we were often anxious and impatient to become other than we were; wanting to grow older, be stronger, bigger, prettier, smarter; we wanted more to see and hear and feel, to have what we did not. But in our older years we desire to slow down time, to hold on to what we have or had; slowly letting go of so many things we once cherished or favored. When as a youth I was lost in sin and confusion, not having the grace of life for what was good and right before the eyes of God or man; I turned in desperation to something more solid and firm to stand on, to hope and live for, whatever that might be. In unbelief I was made to believe in a God Who loves us, calls us, and saves us. The Lord became my Helper, Shepherd, and Friend, and soon my All. In the early days, still a teen, in the churches they sung a song that I quickly embraced as my comfort and guide. In the first days and weeks of my life in Christ I listened to the Radio program of J Vernon McGee called Thru the Bible in Five Years; his theme song was How Firm a Foundation ye Saints of the Lord. As the years passed this Song would often appear or be recalled to encourage myself and others. So in contemplation of the passing of some dear friends, family members, and others of fame and fortune, my reflections of human mortality in light of eternity and everlasting life, I cannot do better in words than I find in this Song.
Firm Foundation formerly attributed to K. in John Ribbon’s Selections of Hymns in 1787; K.is either George Keith (commonly believed) or more correctly Robert Keene.
How firm a Foundation ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He has said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.
“Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.”
“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow,
For I will be with thee (thy) trouble to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.”
“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace all-sufficient shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.”
“Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.”
“The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no, never, no never forsake!”
[Thus on God’s Foundation the saints do now stand,
Awaitng the Lord, from the Father’s right hand;
The (sheep and the Shepherd) are truly now one,
In glory forever, while sufferings are done.]
(st 1-7 based on Isaiah 40-44-66. st.1= 1 Cor.3:11; st.2= Psalms; st.3= Isa.41:10; st.4-5= Isa.43:2; st.6= Rom.8:35-39, Heb.13:5, Deut.31:6; st.7= Mat.11:28-30, 16:18, 28:18-20; [st.8= Heb.13:8,20-21, 1Pet.5:4, John 10, 17.] (st.8 added in 1975 by mjm)