This has turned into a monthly devotional, rather than weekly….my apologies, running a bit behind these days.
Here’s the conclusion of the reflection on this hymn.
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Part 2
I want us to take note of the rich biblical imagery in this hymn.
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Beginning with the idea of a ‘fount’ a source of water, the modern equivalent being a ‘spring’: it is the symbol for life. God is repeatedly described as a ‘fount’. In Jer 2:13, God says “…they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters”. Jesus also spoke of never thirsting after drinking of the water he offers. He was speaking of life eternal from himself –the fount.
The idea of God being the source of not only eternal life, but blessing and mercy, continues: ‘Streams of mercy never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.’
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of God’s unchanging love.
The ‘flaming tongues above’ is a reference to the tongues that fell like flames on the day of Pentecost(Acts 2)–when the disciples started to proclaim God’s praises in various languages –a picture of all nations gathered to praise God. In this case, the praise is directed towards the ‘mount’ referring to Calvary –our praise indeed ought to be ‘fixed upon it’ for it is where we behold ‘God’s unchanging love’ shown in Christ.
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I’m come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.
‘Ebenezer’ literally means, “rock of help”. ‘Eben’ meaning rock, and ‘ezer’ meaning help. It comes from 1Sam 7 when the Israelites defeated the Philistines and Samuel set up a stone –a memorial to say: ‘thus far the Lord has helped us’. The author is recognizing God’s divine presence, help, and faithfulness to bring us to where we are today. The ‘hope’ he refers to is an allusion to 1Pet1, the ‘living hope’, and the ‘hope of glory’ of our eternal home –to which we would safely arrive. Hope in the Bible is never an indefinite longing, but the certainty of a sure promise.
‘Jesus sought me when a stranger wandering from the fold of God’ of course refers to the lost sheep parable and the way the Shepherd leaves the ninety nine to seek the lost. Like the good shepherd he is, he rescues us from the ultimate danger –how? By interposing(the placing between one thing and another) and mediating between God and man –through his precious blood.
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
A ‘fetter’ is a chain, used usually to enslave. In Christ, we have been freed from the slavery of sin, but are now glad servants of God, not against our wills, but compelled by his love and goodness. Hence ‘like thy goodness like a fetter bind my wandering heart to thee.’
We also have a petition ‘Here’s my heart Lord, O take and seal it. This is a reference to the seal of the Holy Spirit upon our hearts(2Cor1:22, Eph 1:13). A seal is a mark of authenticity and ownership, assuring us of our salvation and eternal inheritance. This is a seal no one can break. It is his assurance over us that no matter how far we wander, we cannot wander beyond his preserving grace. We are sealed until we reach his courts above.
Keep singing this hymn and let it strike the chords of truth and hope we have -only through Christ.