O WORSHIP THE KING
Robert Grant, 1779–1838
Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing to Him a psalm of praise. (Psalm 47:6, 7)
The word worship is a contraction of an old expression in the English language, woerth-scipe, denoting the giving of reverent praise to an object of superlative worth. True worship, then, is an act by a redeemed man, the creature, toward God, his Creator, whereby his will, intellect, and emotions gratefully respond to the revelation of God’s person expressed in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, as the Holy Spirit illuminates the written word to his heart.
The author of this text, Robert Grant, described himself and all of us as “frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,” even though he was a member of a distinguished British political family, a member of the Parliament of Scotland, and governor of Bombay, India, for a time. Throughout his entire life, Grant was a devoutly evangelical Christian who strongly supported the missionary outreach of his church and endeared himself to the people of India by establishing a medical college in Bombay.
Although this is the only hymn by Sir Robert Grant in common usage today, it is considered to be a model for worship. Its descriptive names used in exalting the Almighty are significant: Shield, Defender, Ancient of Days, Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend. Also the vivid imagery—“pavilioned in splendor,” “girded with praise,” “whose robe is the light,” “whose canopy space,” “chariots of wrath,” “wings of the storm”—aids us in the worthy praise and adoration of our heavenly King.
O worship the King, all-glorious above, and gratefully sing His pow’r and His love; our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days, pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.
O tell of His might, O sing of His grace, whose robe is the light, whose canopy space; His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form, and dark is His path on the wings of the storm.
Thy bountiful care what tongue can recite? It breathes in the air; it shines in the light. It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain, and sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.
Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail, in thee do we trust, nor find thee to fail; Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end! Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend.
For Today: Psalm 104; 22:28–31; 145:1–13; 1 Timothy 6:15, 16
Identify activities in a church service that are often substituted for the worship of God. Reflect again on the message of this hymn—