JOYFUL, JOYFUL, WE ADORE THEE
Henry van Dyke, 1852–1933
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy … against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22)
While gazing at the magnificent Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts, Henry van Dyke described in “Joyful, Joyful,” the many aspects of life that should bring us joy. He insisted that his text, written in 1911, be sung to the music of “Hymn of Joy” from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. This combination of words and great music makes “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” one of the most joyous expressions of any hymn in the English language.
One of the forceful ideas expressed by van Dyke is that God’s gracious love for us should create a greater “brother love” for our fellow man. With God’s help we can become victorious over strife and be “lifted to the joy divine” as we daily show more love to others.
Henry van Dyke was a distinguished Presbyterian minister who served as a moderator of his denomination for a time and as a Navy Chaplain in World War I. Later he was the ambassador to Holland and Luxembourg under President Wilson. He also served a number of years as a professor of literature at Princeton University. High honors came to him for his many devotional writings. Yet this one inspiring hymn is the reason Henry van Dyke is best remembered today:
Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love; hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee, hail Thee as the sun above. Melt the clouds of sin and sadness, drive the dark of doubt away; giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!
All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heav’n reflect Thy ways; stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise; field and forest, vale and mountain, bloss’ming meadow, flashing sea, chanting bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.
Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blest, well-spring of the joy of living, ocean-depth of happy rest! Thou the Father, Christ our Brother—All who live in love are Thine: Teach us how to love each other; lift us to the joy divine.
Mortals, join the mighty chorus which the morning stars began; father-love is reigning o’er us; brother-love binds man to man. Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife; joyful music lifts us sunward in the triumph song of life.
For Today: Job 38:7; Psalm 98; Habakkuk 3:17–19; 1 Peter 3:8, 9
Would it be possible for you to offer your praise to God for His matchless love in some creative way—original poetry, music, painting …?
Osbeck, K. W.
- When the stars of the morning praised me together, and all the children of God rejoiced: Job 38:7
- Sing unto the Lord a new song: for he hath done marvelous things: his right hand, and his holy arm have gotten him the victory. The Lord declared his salvation: his righteousness hath he revealed in the sight of the nations. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. All the earth, sing ye loud unto the Lord: cry out and rejoice, and sing praises. Sing praise to the Lord upon the harp, even upon the harp with a singing voice. With shalms and sound of trumpets sing loud before the Lord the king. Let the sea roar, and all that therein is, the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands, and let the mountains rejoice together. Before the Lord: for he is come to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world: and the people with equity. Psalm 98
- For the fig tree shall not flourish, neither shall fruit be in the vines: the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat: the sheep shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no bullock in the stalls. But I will rejoice in the Lord: I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength: he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on Neginoth. Habakkuk 3:17–19
- Dearly beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord, as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord of that promise is not slack (as some men count slackness) but is patient toward us, and would have no man to perish, but would all men to come to repentance. 1 Peter 3:8-9