Tag Archives: Isaac Watts

A Hymn For Meditation

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Joy to the World!hymnal

 Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her king;
Let every heart prepare him room
And heaven and nature sing. 

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ!
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy. 

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness
And wonders of his love.

                        Isaac Watts

  • Isaac Watts did not write this hymn for the Christmas season. He wrote it as a Christian expression of the themes of Psalm 98. When you read that Psalm are you able to identify the parallels?
  • What Christmas image comes to mind when you read or sing the words of this hymn?
  • What image from the book of Revelation is called forth by the final verse?
  • How much of this hymn can you sing without a hymnal? It is one of the hymns most of us know even though we never set out to memorize it. Think back through your life and try to remember different settings in which you heard or sang this hymn. How far back do your memories of this hymn go?
  • You will notice that verse two says, “Let men their songs employ!” Some contemporary renderings change the word men to the word all. Why do they do that? Do you believe that the hymn is improved by this change? Do you believe the change is important to the message of the hymn?


A Hymn For Meditation


Isaac Watts, by unknown artist. See source web...
Isaac Watts, by unknown artist. See source website for additional information. This set of images was gathered by User:Dcoetzee from the National Portrait Gallery, London website using a special tool. All images in this batch are listed as “unknown author” by the NPG, who is diligent in researching authors, and was donated to the NPG before 1939 according to their website. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore, 
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

To Him shall endless prayer be made,
And praises throng to crown His head;

His Name like sweet perfume shall rise

With every morning sacrifice.

Blessings abound wherever He reigns;
The prisoner leaps to lose his chains;

The weary find eternal rest,

And all the sons of want are blessed.

 Let every creature rise and bring
Peculiar honors to our King;

Angels descend with songs again,
And earth repeat the loud amen!

                          Isaac Watts

  •  What are the benefits of Jesus’ reign in the heart of a believer?
  • This hymn ranges over images both temporal and eternal. What are examples of each?
  • Where can you find biblical images similar to the imagery in this hymn?
  • Can you think of psalms that include similar thoughts?
  • What comforting thoughts come to mind when you read or sing this hymn?




A Hymn for Meditation

Oh, That the Lord Would Guide My Ways

Oh, that the Lord would guide my ways
To keep his statues still!
Oh, that my God would grant me grace
To know and do his will!

Order my footsteps by your word
And make my heart sincere;
Let sin have no dominion, Lord,
But keep my conscience clear. 

Assist my soul, too apt to stray,
A stricter watch to keep,
And should I e’er forget your way,
Restore your wandering sheep.

Make me to walk in your commands,
‘Tis a delightful road.
Nor let my head or heart or hands
Offend against my God.

               Isaac Watts

  • The psalmist once asked (see Psalm 15:1) who could approach God? What does this hymnwriter think about this question? 
  • Some people think that the need to keep God’s rules and laws is  a great burden. Moses thought God’s laws were so good and just that other nations would envy Israel because of them. (see Deuteronomy 4:6-8) What does the hymnwriter think? What do you think? 
  • Why does this hymnwriter think there is hope that God will come to bring him back if he wanders away in disobedience? (see Luke 15:1-7) 
  • Try praying the words of this hymn. Speak them slowly. Try putting your own name into the words. Think about our call to be Christlike in our lives. What issues in your life come to mind as you pray this hymn?