"I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with My hand" (Exo. 33.22)
A. A SONG OF JOY AND PRAISE THAT CHRIST IS OUR SAVIOR.
1. Based on God putting Moses in the cleft of the rock and covering him with His hand
. 2. #363-"Hymns for Worship Revised" – #127-"Sacred Selections for the Church."
B. BACKGROUND TEXT BY WAYNE WALKER.
The text was written by Fanny J. Crosby, who was born in a little cottage at Gayville in the community of Southeast, Putnam County, NY, on Mar. 24, 1820. At six weeks old she caught a cold, and when a country doctor mistakenly diagnosed her condition and prescribed a hot mustard poultice for her inflamed eyes, her eyes were scarred and she gradually lost her eyesight until she became blind at age five. However, at age eight, she produced her first poem. "Oh, what a happy child I am, Although I cannot see! I am resolved that in this world Contented I will be." She later said that she never held any resentment for that doctor and had resolved to leave all care to yesterday. On one occasion, as a young woman, she spoke before the United States Senate and moved many Senators to tears with the recital of one of her poems, proving that blind people can be educated if they have the proper training.
Fanny's father had died when she was a year old, and after living with her own parents for several years, Fanny's mother moved to Ridgefield, CN, when the girl was nine. She received her early instruction from her grandmother and attended local schools sporadically, then was educated for several years at the New York State School for the Blind in New York City, and following her graduation taught grammar, rhetoric, and history for eleven years at that school. During the 1850's she began writing verses for minstrel songs. In 1858 she married Alexander Van Alstyne, a blind musician whom she had met while in school. They had one child who died in infancy. Then in the 1860's she began writing texts for gospel songs at the urging of William Batchelder Bradbury. Some of her songs identify her by her full married name, Frances Jane Van Alstyne, while others use various pseudonyms. It is said that more than any other writer, she captured the spirit if the nineteenth century American gospel song. Much of her writing was done to order, and for several years she was under contract to produce three hymns a week for Bradbury's successor, the Biglow and Main Co. This one was penned in 1890.
At that time Fanny was living in a New York City apartment and attending the John St. Methodist Episcopal Church. She received a visit from composer William James Kirkpatrick (1838-1921). Many of his melodies are well-known, including one for another of Fanny's texts, "Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It." He had just completed a new tune (now called Kirkpatrick) which he felt needed suitable words. When he played the melody for her, Fanny's face lit up, she knelt in prayer, and soon gave Kirkpatrick the lines of "He Hideth My Soul." It first appeared in "The Finest of the Wheat, No. 1," which Kirkpatrick compiled with George D. Elderkin, R. R. McCabe, and John Robson Sweney in 1890. The phrase, "Rivers of pleasure I see," illustrates Fanny's triumph over her blindness. During her lifetime, Fanny Crosby authored over 8,000 hymns before her death at age 95 in Bridgeport, CN, on Feb. 12, 1915. Most hymnbooks in this nation contain more hymns by her than any other single author, and this hymn has been in almost every single songbook used among churches of Christ in the twentieth century.
The song suggests that Jesus is a Savior who gives us numberless blessings.
"A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord, A wonderful Savior to me;
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the Rock, Where rivers of pleasure I see."
A. JESUS, OUR WONDERFUL SAVIOR.
1. This is why Jesus came (Matt. 1:21; Luke 19:10).
2. Why is this wonderful?
a. Undeserved (1 John 4:9-10).
b. From the wrath of God (Rom. 5:8-9).
B. AS GOD HID MOSES IN THE CLEFT OF THE ROCK, SO HE PROVIDES FOR US
1. Help to overcome trial (Heb. 4:15-16).
2. Comfort in time of sorrow and anxiety (2 Cor. 1:3-5; Phil. 4:6-7).
C. RIVERS OF PLEASURE, THE ABUNDANCE OF BLESSING AS GOD’S CHILDREN
(1 John 3:1; Rev. 22:1-2; Phil. 4:4-5).
"A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord, He taketh my burden away;
He holdeth me up, and I shall not be moved, He giveth me strength as my day."
A. JESUS OFFERS TO TRADE BURDENS (Matt. 11.28-30).
1. Jesus bore our sins in his body (1 Pet. 2:24).
2. He is the propitiation, the satisfaction of justice (Rom. 3:24-26).
B. GOD UPOLDS THE RIGHTEOUS (Psa. 37:18; 63-6-8).
1. The righteous cannot be moved (Psa. 55:22; John 10:27-28).
2. God will preserve him (Rom. 8:31-37).
3. And will give strength to overcome and accomplish (Eph. 6:10-11; Phil. 4:13).
"With numberless blessings each moment He crowns, And filled with His fulness divine,
I sing in my rapture, O glory to God, For such a Redeemer as mine."
A. COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS?
1. Paul mentions “thanksgiving” in every mention of prayer (Phil. 4:6).
2. All blessing comes from God (James 1:17; Matt. 5:45).
3. Every spiritual blessing is in Christ (Eph. 1:3).
B. IN HIM WE ARE MADE FULL, COMPLETE – WHAT WE OUGHT TO BE (Col. 2:9-10).
C. WE HAVE A REDEEMER.
1. REDEEMED, lutroo: “1. to release on receipt of ransom: 2. to redeem, liberate by
payment of ransom” (Thayer)
2. The price paid (1 Pet. 1:18-19). – see Psalm 49:6-8, 15.
3. Therefore, we can sing with rapture and glorify God for such a Redeemer (Col. 3.16).
"When clothed in His brightness, transported I rise To meet Him in clouds of the sky;
His perfect salvation, His wonderful love, I'll shout with the millions on high."
A. WE HAVE THE PROMISE OF JESUS’ RETURN ON A CLOUD (Acts 1:9-11).
B. WE WILL BE TRANSFORMED!
1. We will be changed (1 Cor. 15:52-53).
2. God has prepared something wonderful for us (Phil. 3:20-21).
3. We shall be like him (1 John 3:2).
4. “Behold I tell you a mystery, …” (1 Cor. 15:51; 1 John 3:2).
C. THE DEAD SHALL BE RAISED (John 5:28-29).
D. JESUS WILL BRING THEM WITH HIM (1 Thess. 4:14).
E. THOSE OF US WHO ARE LEFT? (1 Thess. 4:16-18).
F. OVERWHELMED WITH JOY AT HIS COMING (Rev. 5:9-13).
"He hideth my soul in the cleft of the Rock That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life in the depths of His love, And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand."
A. THE WORLD WE LIVE IN IS DRY AND THIRSTY WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SAVIOR.
B. THE LORD OFFERS SHADE FROM THE HEAT, AND SHELTER FROM THE ELEMENTS.
C. ALL THIS IS A PRODUCT OF HIS LOVE. LET US PRAISE HIM.
Wayne S. Walker