Isaac Watts, John Piper & The Sovereignty of God

As long as I live, I will never tire of hearing sermons that declare the total sovereignty of God. And so it is that I find myself greatly blessed by a ten-minute sermon that I watched on YouTube last night.

My dial-up internet service is painfully slow when it comes to downloading video and audio clips. But this particular video was well worth waiting for. My thanks to Amy Scott for putting the link on her blog. I encourage you to take a few minutes and watch this wonderful sermon:

The Supremacy of Christ, by John Piper

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Then, today in church, part of the pastor’s speech centered around the sovereignty of God. Marlene and I were both thinking of the John Piper video as we listened to the sermon. At the end of the service, the congregation sang the hymn, “Praise For Creation And Providence,” more popularly known as I Sing the Mighty Power of God, by Isaac Watts, the great puritan hymnal writer.

I went looking for some information about Watts and came up with this excerpt:
”At a very early age, Isaac showed exceptional aptitude for study and learned Latin at the age of five, Greek at nine, French at eleven and Hebrew at thirteen. For twelve years, his mother taught him the writing of rhyme and verse. Isaac developed a habit of rhyming his everyday conversation that became very annoying to his father. Being very irritated with young Isaac’s incessant rhyming, one day his father severely scolded him and young Isaac responded with, "Oh father, do some pity take, and I will no more verses make."
But he did make more verses. I love this story from the American Revolution:
”Altogether he wrote more than 600 hymns for the church plus rhyming verse and poetry for educational tutoring. These hymns were widely accepted throughout the English-speaking world and were welcomed by the early American colonists, as they were brought over from the old world by new English immigrants. The hymn books of the churches of New England during the time of the American Revolution were largely filled with the songs of Isaac Watts. During the war, while American colonists were engaged in battle with British soldiers, they ran out of ‘wad’ for their muskets. A local pastor who was nearby ran into the church and gathered up the hymn books. He then proceeded to tear out the pages and give them to the soldiers to be used as wadding in their muskets, as he yelled out "give 'em Watts, boys!"
Isaac Watts was a brilliant man but he led a difficult life, as this next excerpt attests to:
”Having suffered from smallpox when he was fifteen years old, Isaac Watts remained sickly and in poor health his entire life. In spite of this disability he became an outstanding theologian and master pulpiteer which attracted the Lords and Ladies of London to become part of his congregation. He was so loved by his church that to prevent him from resigning they hired an assistant to preach when he was physically unable.

Besides suffering from frailty of health all his life, Isaac Watts only stood five feet tall with an oversized head and large nose which gave him a very ugly and grotesque appearance. In spite of his physical disadvantages, he was a brilliant, mild-mannered, loving and magnetic personality that transformed the musical worship of the Christian Church for the last three centuries.
Here are the words to "I Sing The Mighty Power of God." These words were written over three hundred years ago. And they are as fresh and powerful and pertinent as the day they were penned. But of course they are. That's because the beauty of God's creation, and His supremacy over every square inch of His creation is eternal and profoundly pertinent to us in this day and age.

I Sing the Mighty Power of God

I sing the mighty power of God,
that made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad,
and built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained
the sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at God's command,
and all the stars obey.

I sing the goodness of the Lord,
who filled the earth with food,
Who formed the creatures through the Word,
and then pronounced them good.
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed,
wherever I turn my eye,
If I survey the ground I tread,
or gaze upon the sky.

There's not a plant or flower below,
but makes Thy glories known,
And clouds arise, and tempests blow,
by order from Thy throne;
While all that borrows life from Thee
is ever in Thy care;
And everywhere that we can be,
Thou, God art present there.

2 comments:

Danman said...

I LOVE that hymn. It's one of the great ones... awe inspiring words, and a great tune to match. Thanks for the post, brother.

William Boyd said...

Hear it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFMlaOpj17Q&feature=related