THY WORD IS LIKE A GARDEN, LORD
Edwin Hodder, 1837–1904
How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from Your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. (Psalm 119:103, 104)
For the child of God, the daily reading of the Scriptures is the nourishment of the soul. The Bible’s value has been described in many ways as the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter. Someone has offered this sage advice regarding the use of the Bible: “Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure.”
Read this book for whatever you can accept and take the rest on faith. You will live and die a better man.
Although just a lay amateur writer in England, Edwin Hodder was also impressed with the miraculous quality of the Bible. So in this hymn, first published in 1863, Hodder paints comparative pictures that both young and old can understand easily. Verse one begins with the thought that even casual seekers can find something from God’s written landscape that will beautify their lives merely by “plucking a lovely cluster.” Stanza one continues to say, however, that it is not enough to be casual in this garden of beauty. Rather, we must earnestly search and dig into its mighty depths for “jewels rich and rare.”
Verse two extends the thought further that God’s Word, like the starry host, is fathomless in giving guidance for life’s journey. Finally, the hymn reminds us that there is an earnestness confronting each believer in the form of a warfare against sin and unrighteousness. For this battle we require the aid of God’s Holy Word.
Thy Word is like a garden, Lord, with flowers bright and fair; and ev’ryone who seeks may pluck a lovely cluster there. Thy Word is like a deep, deep, mine, and jewels rich and rare are hidden in its mighty depths for ev’ry searcher there.
Thy Word is like a starry host—A thousand rays of light are seen to guide the traveler and make his pathway bright. Thy Word is like an armory where soldiers may repair and find, for life’s long battle-day, all needful weapons there.
O may I love Thy precious Word, may I explore the mine; may I its fragrant flowers glean, may light upon me shine. O may I find my armor there, Thy Word my trusty sword! I’ll learn to fight with ev’ry foe the battle of the Lord!
For Today: Psalm 119:105; 130; John 5:39; 6:63; 2 Timothy 3:16
Allow the Bible’s relevance, beauty, and simplicity to thrill your soul. Reflect on this musical reminder to help—
Osbeck, K. W.
- Thy word is a lantern unto my feet, and a light unto my paths … The entrance into thy words showeth light, and giveth understanding to the simple. Psalm 119:105; 130
- Search the Scriptures: for in them ye think to have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me. … It is the spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, are spirit and life. John 5:39; 6:63
- For the whole Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable to teach, to convince, to correct, and to instruct in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16