This is a classic hymn with some of the most RICH and beautiful and DEEP lyrics I’ve encountered. A recently led worship as a guest at a wonderful church and was invited to take as much time as I wanted to set up this song. I was tempted to put together a whole sermon based on this song, but I kept it to a 4 minute introduction instead.
But this is precisely why I created this blog – so I could take the time and space desired to really marinate on certain songs and lyrics and thoughts that inspire worship. So let’s spend the next few minutes worshiping God by reflecting on these lyrics and analyzing them together.
COME THOU FOUNT
Robert Robinson, 1757
Come, thou Fount of every blessing, [I love picturing this fountain just constantly gushing forth blessings, spilling out love and joy and peace and all good things without any real effort because that’s just the nature of the fountain, to spew the refreshing water of life in a beautiful display that just naturally brings a smile and a sense of rest. Come, Lord, and let me be refreshed and rested in receiving the beautiful blessings that flow out from you.]
Tune my heart to sing thy grace; [YES! Like the strings of an instrument, tune up my heart so that it resonates in pitch with your grace. Allow me to sing of your grace and thereby to share it with all those around me. As another of my favorite songs declares, may I find myself “moving to the rhythms of your grace” (Your Love Is Extravagant, Darrell Evans). May I be so receptive of your grace, and so altered by it that I find myself falling in step with it, and distributing it to everyone around me.]
Streams of mercy, never ceasing, [Thank You, Lord!]
Call for songs of loudest praise. [Nothing else in all creation is more worthy of praise! Let us sing loudly of your glory and your goodness!]
Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above. [I want to join in with the song the angels are singing, the song that the Holy Spirit inspires! It must be the most beautiful, melodious song of all.]
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it, mount of thy redeeming love. [You are my firm foundation, the rock upon which I can rest assured, as trustworthy and steady as a mountain. Your love is solid and secure. Your love is certain and on it I find my rest.]
Here I raise mine Ebenezer; [The word Ebenezer comes from a Hebrew word meaning “stone of help.” In 1 Samuel 7 the israelites are under attack by the Philistines and Samuel prays to God to help them. God does give them the victory and as a gesture of gratitude and acknowledgement of the Lord’s help Samuel builds an altar of stone as a memorial to future generations to remember how the Lord helped them and provided them the victory in their time of need.]
Here by Thy great help I’ve come; [Lord, like Samuel, I recognize that you have helped me greatly, and that without your great help I would not be where I am today, so I want to raise my own monument, my own memorial to honor you and express my own gratitude for what You’ve done in my life.]
And I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home. [I also acknowledge, Lord, that not only my past but also my future safety and livelihood depends on You and I ask You to continue providing for and protecting me if it’s within in Your will.]
Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God; [Rom 5:8 “God demonstrates His own love for us in this, that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” He didn’t wait for us to shape up and get our act together. He didn’t say, “as long as you promise to obey my commands I’ll go ahead and die for you.” He knew we would sin again even after having received forgiveness. He knew that humankind is prone to wander. The whole Old Testament is the story of a people who experienced God’s grace…and then forgot about Him, and wandered off on their own…again and again. Yet, even while we were in active rebellion against God…]
He, to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood. [To interpose is to interject, to transpose. To insert and come between. He replaced my blood with His own. And how precious it was! My blood is dirty and foul like that of a worthless criminal. But His blood is righteous and pure and holy. His blood is priceless; precious!]
O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be! [Ain’t that the truth! We owe him everything, our very lives, for the grace that He bestows on us.]
Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee. [A fetter is something that confines or restrains, like a shackle. We have been shackled to sin and enslaved by the power of sin. And in order to remain near to the Lord our wandering hearts must be shackled to him instead of to sin. But it’s His goodness that constrains us. As Paul says in Romans 6, when we submit ourselves like a slave to God that’s when we find real freedom! –for more artistic inspiration on this paradox see also John Donne’s poem “Batter My Heart Three-Personed God” (excerpt: “Except you enthrall me, never shall be free, Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.” This poem deserves a blog post of its own…]
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; [Romans 7:15 “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”]
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above. [I give you my heart, Lord. Because you will take such better care of it than me. If I hold onto it I will continue to wander away and mistreat it and sin against You in the process. But Lord, I want nothing more than to have you be the keeper of my heart! I want You to be the care taker of my heart. What joy for those whose heart is held by the Father! And what joy in simply knowing that the Father wants to hod my heart and care for me! Lord, take it and don’t give it back. Seal it, secure it and lock it up in the freedom of Your heavenly home!]
Here are two of my favorite recordings of this song:
Sara Groves. I love the altered melody in her version. Also, I love the focus she puts on the “prone to wander” part – she forces us to really stop and reflect on this! Which is so important if we are going to really mean what we sing in the rest of the song. I always include this little added bridge whenever I lead this song. Ande of course I can’t help but marinate in the beautiful harmonies created by the chords on this unique section!
All Sons & Daughters – it’s the folk artistry of bands like this that touches my heart most deeply.