LISTEN: “The Love of God” by Frederick M. Lehman (The History Behind the Hymns #1 with Daniel Whyte III)

Welcome to the History Behind the Hymns podcast. This is episode #1

I am your host, Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International. I am one of many Christians who still loves the old hymns of the faith even more than many modern Christian songs. For the past 33 years, my wife and children and I have sung the old hymns during our family devotion time. Over the years we have used an Independent Baptist hymn book, a National Baptist hymn book, and a Southern Baptist hymn book to sing the old hymns of the faith. And we have sung the old hymns of the faith with traditional Methodist churches online. The old hymns of the faith have been a tremendous source of blessing and encouragement to my heart down through the years. The purpose of this podcast is to encourage you to dust off your old hymn book and experience the power and blessing of well-written hymns based upon sound doctrine for the glory of God that will strengthen your faith.

The History Behind the Hymns passage of Scripture is 1 John 4:8 which reads: “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”

The History Behind the Hymns quote for today is from J. C. Ryle. He said: “Good hymns are an immense blessing to the Church. They train people for heaven, where praise is one of the principal occupations.”

The quote in connection to today’s hymn is from Saint Augustine. He said: “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.”

Our hymn for today is “The Love of God” by Frederick M. Lehman. It reads:

The love of God is greater far

  Than tongue or pen can ever tell.

It goes beyond the highest star

  And reaches to the lowest hell.

The guilty pair, bowed down with care,

  God gave His Son to win;

His erring child He reconciled

  And pardoned from his sin.

When hoary time shall pass away,

  And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall;

When men who here refuse to pray,

  On rocks and hills and mountains call;

God’s love, so sure, shall still endure,

  All measureless and strong;

Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—

  The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,

  And were the skies of parchment made;

Were every stalk on earth a quill,

  And every man a scribe by trade;

To write the love of God above

  Would drain the ocean dry;

Nor could the scroll contain the whole,

  Though stretched from sky to sky.

O love of God, how rich and pure!

  How measureless and strong!

It shall forevermore endure—

    The saints’ and angels’ song.

Now here is the history behind the hymn, “The Love of God”. According to Al Smith’s Treasury of Hymn Histories:

Frederick M. Lehman was a California businessman that lost everything through business reversals. He was forced to spend his working hours in manual labor, working in a Pasadena packing house packing oranges and lemons into wooden crates. Not an ideal environment for writing love songs, but this was the environment the Lord chose to use.

Mr. Lehman was a Christian who rejoiced in his salvation. He was so moved by a Sunday evening sermon on the love of God that he could hardly sleep. The next morning, the thrill of the previous evening had not left him. As he drove to the packing house, the makings of a song began to come together in his head, with God’s love as the theme.

Throughout the day, as he packed oranges and lemons, the words continued to flow. Perhaps he jotted down words on various pieces of broken crate as he went along. He could hardly wait to get home and commit these words to paper.

Upon arriving home, he hurried to his old upright piano and began arranging the words and composing a melody to fit them. He soon had finished two stanzas and the melody to go along with them, but now what was he to do? In those days, a song had to have at least three stanzas to be considered complete. (A far cry from the songs of our day that only need have three words!) He tried and tried to come up with a third stanza, but to no avail. The words just would not fall into place.

In our next episode we will look at part 2 of the history behind the hymn, “The Love of God”.

Let’s Pray —

Dear friend, this hymn honors God and the Lord Jesus Christ, if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…” 

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” 

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. 

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will.

May God bless you and keep you until we meet again.