IFTup your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah (Psalm 24:7-10)
This hymn of praise was composed by the renowned Anglican cleric, poet, and orator, George Herbert, in 1632, and published posthumously in 1633. The favored tune is GWALCHMAI, by Joseph D. Jones in 1868.
King of Glory, King of Peace
King of glory, King of peace,
I will love thee;
and that love may never cease,
I will move thee.
Thou hast granted my request,
thou hast heard me;
thou didst note my working breast,
thou hast spared me.
Wherefore with my utmost art
I will sing thee,
and the cream of all my heart
I will bring thee.
Though my sins against me cried,
thou didst clear me;
and alone, when they replied,
thou didst hear me.
Seven whole days, not one in seven,
I will praise thee;
in my heart, though not in heaven,
I can raise thee.
Small it is, in this poor sort
to enroll thee:
e'en eternity's too short
to extol thee.
King of glory, King of peace, I will love thee; and that love may never cease, I will move thee. Thou hast granted my request, thou hast heard me; thou didst note my working breast, thou hast spared me.A King exercises sovereign power over a nation and her people. There are boundaries to his domain. The King of Glory, which is our Lord Jesus Christ, likewise exercises authority over the Church, which is modern Israel, and her people. But His power extends beyond these only and is unlimited for boundary; for He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. His dominion includes all Creation. We are reminded in Proverbs: When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.(Prov 29:2)The saints are only able to love our Lord because He first loved us. We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)If we do not regard iniquity in our hearts and pray according to His will to answer, He will hear our prayers and be moved thereby. Our prayers can even move in the actions of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He reads our hearts as easily as a highway billboard, and He spares us from the fire. He is our Savior above all else.
Wherefore with my utmost art I will sing thee, and the cream of all my heart I will bring thee. Though my sins against me cried, thou didst clear me; and alone, when they replied, thou didst hear me.Our utmost art in singing comes from a passionate joy in the glorifying of our Lord. Even a country bard may embellish his song with beauty when the heart is warmed by the Holy Ghost. When I was a boy at the end of WWII, the milk man delivered our milk in glass bottles. There was always a layer of cream at the top so that the milk needed to be shaken before pouring. The essence of the milk (cream) had risen to the top. The same is true of the Christian heart. The only goodness we own is that endowed to us by Christ. That essence of our hearts will always rise to the top. The Holy Spirit is the sovereign of our hearts and brings the Lord near in times of prayer, worship, and song. Our sins are written large in the indictment against our souls, but the Lord clears our name and will not ascribe our sins against our account on the day of reckoning. How does He do that? By imparting His spotless charge sheet to us. We are accounted innocent because of His imputed righteousness.
Seven whole days, not one in seven, I will praise thee; in my heart, though not in heaven, I can raise thee. Small it is, in this poor sort to enroll thee: e'en eternity's too short to extol thee. Christ has become our Passover in that He fulfilled the prophetic marks of the True Passover Lamb. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. (1 Peter 1:18-21)He became our Passover. The former animal sacrifices were only shades and shadows of the true Passover which is Christ. Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.(1 Cor 5:7). Christ has become ALL things to us: our Savior, our Lord, our King, our Redeemer, our Passover, and what else? He is also our Sabbath. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. (Hebrews 4:9-11)
The word ‘rest’ in the above passage is ‘Sabbatismos’ – meaning REST. He has become our Sabbath. He fulfilled the Law. He did not annul our obligation for Sabbath, but made it more stringent. Now it is not one day in seven that we worship and serve the Lord, and rest from OUR labors; but rather SEVEN days in seven. If Christ labors through us, it is not our labors but His that is operative in our lives; and we rest from OUR labors and lean on the works of the Lord in and through us. Every day is our Lord’s Day and every day a Sabbath!
The concluding line is a stark reminder that Eternity awaits ahead, and all will spend eternity in some state – either glorious or ignominious. But even that Eternity future will not be sufficient to extol the glories and beauty of Christ.
Why not sing, even if alone, a hymn of beauty to Christ even at this moment?