By Josh Hughes
Jesus Shall Reign
Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Doth its 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 throne to crown his head
His name, like sweet perfume, shall rise
With every morning sacrifice.
Blessings abound where’er he reigns:
The prisoner leaps to loose 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’ poetic setting of Psalm 72 was the only piece that fit the occasion. Standing on the train platform at Scotland’s Waverly station, Eric Liddell surveyed the crowd of onlookers and well-wishers who had gathered around him. He was something of a national celebrity, having won the gold medal at the 1924 Olympics. Men and women had come from far and wide to see Liddell off on his journey to China, where he would begin a new chapter of mission work.
As the train broke away from the station and began its departure, we can only guess what gripped this man’s heart as he left home, family and country to serve Jesus. Whatever he was feeling, Liddell looked back and lifted his voice, breaking into Isaac Watts’ great hymn. Soon the whole crowd took it up with him and from memory, without hymnals, together they raised the banner of Jesus’ name and rule as one of their heroes set off to serve their King.
Friends, God is sovereign over our days and our circumstances. Hatred and racism may still have a deep foothold around our nation, but Jesus shall reign. Men and women may bless what God calls sin, but Jesus shall reign. Current events may tempt us to bewilderment, but Jesus shall reign. Storms may blow and knock down decades-old trees, but Jesus shall reign. Eternally. From shore to shore, world without end, Amen.
In whatever state you find yourself today, I want to invite you to warm your heart with the truth we considered last Sunday. The word of God and the plan of God has not failed.