THE LOVE OF GOD
Words and Music by Frederick M. Lehman, 1868–1953
The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
Never has God’s eternal love been described more vividly than in the words of this greatly loved hymn: “measureless,” “strong,” “evermore endure … ”
The unusual third stanza of the hymn was a small part of an ancient lengthy poem composed in 1096 by a Jewish songwriter, Rabbi Mayer, in Worms, Germany. The poem, entitled “Hadamut,” was written in the Arabic language. The lines were found one day in revised form on the walls of a patient’s room in an insane asylum after the patient’s death. The opinion has since been that the unknown patient, during times of sanity, adapted from the Jewish poem what is now the third verse of “The Love of God.”
The words of this third stanza were quoted one day at a Nazarene campmeeting. In the meeting was Frederick M. Lehman, a Nazarene pastor, who described his reaction:
The profound depths of the lines moved us to preserve the words for future generations. Not until we had come to California did this urge find fulfillment, and that at a time when circumstances forced us to hard manual labor. One day, during short intervals of inattention to our work, we picked up a scrap of paper and added the first two stanzas and chorus to the existing third verse lines.
Pastor Lehman completed the hymn in 1917. His daughter Claudia (Mrs. W. W. Mays) assisted him with the music.
The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell,
It goes beyond the highest star and reaches to the lowest hell,
The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win:
His erring child He reconciled and pardoned from his sin.
When years of time shall pass away and earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray, on rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure shall still endure, all measureless and strong:
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—the saints’ and angels’ song.
Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made,
Were ev’ry stalk on earth a quill and ev’ry man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole tho stretched from sky to sky.
Chorus: O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure—the saints’ and angels’ song.
John 15:9; Ephesians 3:1, 19; 1 John 3:1; Revelation 1:5, 6
Consciously try to personalize and experience the truth of this hymn in every situation that comes your way. Carry this musical message with you realizing that—