JESUS SHALL REIGN
Isaac Watts, 1674–1748
The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets. (Psalm 50:1)
The spread of Christianity has been phenomenal. In spite of cruel persecution of Christ’s followers in the first three centuries A.D. and from time to time through the years since, His kingdom has continued to spread to “realms and people of every tongue.” Periods of attack on believers have served only to increase their fervor and growth. Then in recent years, with the rapid development of technology—radio, television, gospel films, Bible translations and distributions—the preaching of the gospel has been heard by more people than ever before in the history of mankind.
When this stirring hymn was written in 1719, however, the evangelical missionary movement that we know in our time had scarcely begun. In 1779 William Carey was one of the first to try to persuade Christians to carry the gospel message to heathen countries of the world. Isaac Watts was certainly quite prophetic when he paraphrased this text from Psalm 72. It is still considered one of the finest missionary hymns ever written and has been sung in countless native tongues. In the South Sea Islands in 1862, 5,000 primitive people sang this hymn as the king abolished their native laws and established a Christian constitution.
It is thrilling for us to realize that the praise of Jesus, Bethlehem’s humble Babe, is continuing to spread and that some day soon His kingdom will “spread from shore to shore” and every tribe, language, people, and nation will bow down and exalt His name together.
Jesus shall reign where’er the sun does his successive journeys run, His kingdom spread from shore to shore till moons shall wax and wane no more.
From north to south the princes meet to pay their homage at His feet, while western empires own their Lord and savage tribes attend His word.
To Him shall endless prayer be made and endless praises crown His head: His name like sweet perfume shall rise with ev’ry morning sacrifice.
People and realms of ev’ry tongue dwell on His love with sweetest song, and infant voices shall proclaim their early blessings on His name.
For Today: Psalm 10:16; 72; Isaiah 33:17; Zechariah 14:9; Revelation 11:15
Rejoice in the many endeavors in our day that work to spread the gospel around the world. Resolve to do more personally to assist through prayer and financial support. Reflect on the truth of this hymn—
Osbeck, K. W.
- The Lord is King forever and ever; the heathen are destroyed forth of his land. … Give thy judgments to the King, O God, and thy righteousness to the King’s son. Then shall he judge thy people in righteousness, and thy poor with equity. The mountains, and the hills shall bring peace to the peopel by justice. He shall judge the poor of the people: he shall save the children of the need, and shall subdue the opporessor. They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endureth, from generation to generation. He shall come down like the rain upon the mown grass, and as the showers that water the earth. In his days shall the righteous flourish, and abundance of peace shall be so long as the moon endureth. His dominion shall be also from sea to sea, and from river unto the ends of the land. That they dwell in the wilderness, shall kneel before him, and his enemies shall lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the king of Sheba and Seba shall bring gifts. Yea, all kings shall worship him: all nations shall serve him. For he shall deliver the poor when he crieth: the needy also, and him that hath no helper. He shall be merciful to the poor and needy, and shall preserve the souls of the poor. He shall redeem their souls from deceit and violence, and dear shall their blood be in his sight. Yea, he shall live, and unto him shall they give the gold of Sheba: they shalla lso pray for him continually, and daily bless him. An handful of corn shall be sown in the earth, even in the top of teh mountains, and the fruit thereof shalt shake like the trees of Lebanon: and the children shall flourish out of the city like the grass of the earth. His name shall be forever: his name shall endure as long as the Sun: all nations shall bless him, and be blessed in him. Blessed be the Lord God, even the God of Israel which only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious Name forever: and let all the earth be filled with his glory. So be it, even so be it. Here end the prayers of David the son of Jesse. Psalm 10:16; 72
- Thine eyes shall see the King in his glory: they shall behold the land far off. Isaiah 33:17
- And the Lord shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his Name shall be one. Zechariah 14:9
- And the seventh Angel blew the trumpet, and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of the world are our Lord’s, and his Christ’s, and he shall reign for evermore. Revelation 11:15