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On "How Firm a Foundation"

If you grew up in church, you've probably sung this song before, maybe without really thinking about it:

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,

Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!

What more can He say than to you He hath said,

To you, who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

"How Firm a Foundation" was written sometime in the 19th century by an author whose name we don't know, to an American folk tune, and Christians have been singing it since before the Civil War. It starts with a declaration: God's Word, and specifically God's promises, give us a sufficient place to stand in the midst of fear and trials. What else do we need to sustain our faith?

The anonymous writer zooms in on a specific promise from Scripture, Isaiah 43:1-2: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you." The lyrics paraphrase these verses, so that we can sing them and carry them with us throughout the day.

The last verse ends in a declaration:

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose

I will not, I will not desert to his foes;

That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,

I'll never, no never, no never forsake!

If we have put our faith in Jesus, there is nothing that can get Him to leave us--not even the worst thing we can imagine happening to us or the ones we love. He goes with us through the fire and the water, because He has already been through the worst trial for our sake; He suffered the worst of death and hell because He loves us, and because of that He continues to love us even when everything falls apart.

If you know this song already, sing it loud on Sunday, because you never know who needs to hear it. If you don't know it, the audio's below, but also, feel free to listen and meditate on the words.