Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

This hymn is one of my personal favorites because it articulates so well my relationship to God: His tremendous grace in constantly reaching out to me and my utter inability to serve Him as I should. Those in fact are the two core themes of this hymn.

The verses of the hymn can be briefly summarized as:

(1) Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.

Psalms 100:1, 5 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. For the LORD [is] good; his mercy [is] everlasting; and his truth [endureth] to all generations.

Psalms 66:8, 9, 20 O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard: Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved. Blessed [be] God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.

Psalms 107:1, 2, 8 O give thanks unto the LORD, for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say [so], whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!

Psalms 34:1-4; Psalms 98; Psalms 139:1-4;

Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Psalms 40:1-3 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, [and] established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, [even] praise unto our God: many shall see [it], and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

Psalms 95:1, 2, 6-8 O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he [is] our God; and we [are] the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, [and] as [in] the day of temptation in the wilderness:

Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

The rock of my salvation is more than just salvation from hell (2 Samuel 22:47-51). We can also praise God for His might and honor (Psalms 96).

It is interesting to note that singing God's praises is a key aspect of being filled with the Spirit and having an attitude of thanksgiving. We can see this presented in Ephesians 5:18-20 and Colossians 3:12-17. These are remarkably parallel passages and it is instructive to study them in parallel so that they can flesh each other out.

(2) Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,

Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

Romans 8:22, 23 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body.

2 Corinthians 5:2-3 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in [this] tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.

Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;

Romans 8:18-21 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Isaiah 25:1, 4 O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. .... For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.

2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory;

1 Peter 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

Having the right perspective is central to living the Christian life in a way that honors our Lord. We are reminded that keeping our focus on eternity will help us through the hard times.

Ephesians 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

This is an excerpt from Paul's prayer asking God to teach and grow the Ephesians.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;

1 Samuel 7:12 Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Eben–ezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.

Joshua 4:20-24 And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal. And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over: That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.

Hebrews 11:11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

This is good stuff: Samuel and Joshua erected a monument to a great thing God had done, so that they and future generations could look back and say, See here, God was faithful in the past. God showed Himself mighty in the past. God never changes, He will be faithful now, He will show Himself as the great God in my present trial. We learn from Sarah that, sometimes God waits for us to apply these lessons to our life and trust God before doing great things through us. Moses told the Israelites that keeping these lessons in mind will help us live obediently to God (Deuteronomy 11:1-9).

Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

Lamentations 3:22, 23 [It is of] the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. [They are] new every morning: great [is] thy faithfulness.

1 Corinthians 1:8, 9 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, [that ye may be] blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God [is] faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful [is] he that calleth you, who also will do [it].

2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep [you] from evil.

God is faithful: Numbers 23:19; Psalms 100:5; Isaiah 49:7(Messianic prophecy); Matthew 24:35; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18; Hebrews 10:23; Revelation 19:11

God's faithfulness in my life is a testimony to the unsaved: Joshua 2:10

Note that God's faithfulness does not mean absence of problems, but rather that He is working through the problems to refine me and prepare me for eternity. (Ephesians 5:26, 27; James 1:2-4)

(3) Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;

Ezekiel 34:11, 12 For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, [even] I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep [that are] scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.

Romans 5:6-8 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 9:25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.

Luke 15:1-7; Ephesians 2:1-5, 13

I was much more than just a stranger to God. As a gentile, I had no claim on any of the promises made to God's chosen people. As a sinner I was in rebellion against my creator.

He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Matthew 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Romans 5:9-10 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

How His kindness yet pursues me

2 Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

Galatians 4:4-7 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

There was great love shown when God saved us:

Even after salvation, His kindness yet pursues me in my daily life.

Romans 8:29, 30 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

This passage picks up on the theme of adoption and instructs us how God's loving plan extends well past redemption.

Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

God didn't save me from hell and then leave me to my own devices. His grace continues to work in my life. He works like a loving father to make me into the man I was created to be. (Hebrews 12:5-11)

Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

Ephesians 3:14, 17, 18, 19 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, ... that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what [is] the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.

Spending time meditating on the depth of God's love will help to form the correct perspective that we talked about earlier.

(4) O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.

2 Corinthians 5:14, 15 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And [that] he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.

Hosea 11:4 I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.

Romans 7:22-25 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Romans 16:25, 27 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, ... To God only wise, [be] glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

Philippians 4:6, 7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

My relationship with God was initiated by Him (1 John 4:19) and it is also kept by Him (1 Corinthians 1:8, 9; 1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24; 1 Peter 1:5). However, I do have a responsibility in maintaining the relationship (Revelation 2:4). I must keep my heart (love) focused on Christ above all else. There are many distractions to be wary of though. We can learn from the distractions that drew the hearts of Israel away from God. Two of the leading causes were earthly pleasures and earthly worries (1 Corinthians 10:6-11).

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Psalms 119:176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.

Jude 1:24, 25 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, [be] glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

I am helpless. I can not keep up even the small responsibility of keeping my heart solely for God on my own. I must constantly cry out to God to help me. However, I have confidence that my loving Lord will draw and keep me. It may be that sometimes He is just waiting for me to repent and cry out to Him (Deuteronomy 4:28-31; 1 Kings 8:47-50; Luke 15:20-22; 2 Corinthians 7:9-11).

Ephesians 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ:

To be a good and faithful servant of Christ requires a great deal of focus and discipline (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

(5) O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;

Psalms 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fullness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.

Psalms 17:15 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

To see and know Christ better is that what satisfies me? Or do I require friends, TV, steak, and a Hummer to be satisfied?

John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

2 Corinthians 5:1, 8 For we know that if our earthly house of [this] tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.... We are confident, [I say], and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

Philippians 1:23, 24 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh [is] more needful for you.

1 John 3:2, 3 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

This hope for the future should effect how I live in the present. In part, it effects how I live because when I see His lovely face, I will want to be received as a worthy servant. Matthew 25:21; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11; James 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:6-8; 1 Peter 1:7, 8; 2 Peter 3:11, 12; Revelation 3:11

Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;

Revelation 7:13-17 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

Does serving him day and night in his temple not sound like your idea of heaven? Does it sound a little boring? I really enjoy computers and electronics and many other things. However, when my fiancee is around all those desires diminish and all I really want is to spend time with her. I enjoy very much working on computers with her, but the predominant point is that I am with her, not the computers. That is a function of love, to delight to be in the presence of the one loved. The question then is simply, do I love Christ above all else (Matthew 22:37, 38)? If so, then service in His presence will delight and fulfill me. Psalms 95 talks about delighting in God's presence and giving Him the worship He deserves (Psalms 16:11; Psalms 51:11; Psalms 100). The Psalm concludes by reminding us that the Israelites failed to do this because they had a heart problem (Psalms 95:10) and it lead to separation from God (Psalms 95:11; Psalms 140:13). (See also: Fill My Cup, Lord)

Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

Isaiah 25:9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this [is] our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this [is] the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

Revelation 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

2 Peter 3:11-14 [Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought ye to be in [all] holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

Faith, love, and many other aspects of the Christian walk will make a change in how I go about my day to day life. The hope of glory is also one of those aspects of the Christian walk, my hope for the future should have a real and distinct effect on how I live in the present.

Revelation 22:4, 5 And they shall see his face; and his name [shall be] in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

Philippians 3:12-14 sums up much of the ideas in this hymn well.

Philippians 3:12-14 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

  1. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: — I have a long ways to go. There is a lot of change yet needed in my life. There will always be change needed in my life, until I get to heaven.
  2. if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus — Jesus sought me for a purpose (1 Peter 1:2). Now in love and duty I seek the same goals that Christ seeks to work in my life.
  3. forgetting those things which are behind
    1. Have I done great things? It is done and past and was only by God's strength. Remember that resting on your laurels only crushes them. (1 Corinthians 1:26-31; 1 Corinthians 9:16, 17; 2 Corinthians 10:17, 18; 1 Peter 1:24)
    2. Have I failed greatly? I can not go back and change those actions, I can only work to learn from them and do better.
  4. the prize of the high calling of God — God's grace is never ending
    1. Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God;
    2. His grace didn't end at redemption, but He also gave me the privilege of a high calling. (1 Peter 2:5, 9, 10)
    3. Out of duty alone, I ought to follow that calling with all my strength (Matthew 10:37, 38; Ephesians 4:1, 2; 1 Thessalonians 2:12), but God in His grace also offers me a prize. A prize, just for doing my duty!