~The Love of God (1)
M. Lehman, author and composer, wrote a pamphlet, in 1948, entitled History
of the Song, The Love of God. It tells about the origin of this
at camp-meeting in a mid-western state, some fifty years ago in our
early ministry, an evangelist climaxed his message by quoting the last
stanza of this song. The profound depths of the line moved us to
preserve the words for future generations.
until we had come to California did this urge find fulfillment, and that
at a time when circumstances forced us to hard manual labor.
day, during short intervals of inattention to our work, we picked up a
scrap of paper and, seated upon an empty lemon box pushed against the
wall, with a stub pencil, added the (first) two stanzas and chorus of
the lines (3rd stanza from the Jewish poem) had been found penciled on
the wall of a patient’s room in an insane asylum, the general opinion
was that this inmate had written the epic in moments of sanity.
the key-stanza (third verse) under question as to its authorship was
written nearly one thousand years ago by a Jewish songwriter, and put on
the score page by F.M. Lehman, a Gentile songwriter, in 1917.
(1) The love of God is greater far Than tongue or pen
can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star, And reaches to the
The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His
Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled, And pardoned from his
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall for evermore endure
The saints' and angels' song.
(2) When years of time shall pass away, And earthly
thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray, On rocks and hills
and mountains call,
God's love so sure, shall still endure, All
measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam's race-The saints' and
(3) Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the
skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a
scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above Would drain the ocean
Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Though
stretched from sky to sky.
~The Love of God (2)
beloved hymn The Love of God had its roots in a long Jewish poem
written in the eleventh century in Germany.
Jewish poem, Hadamut, in the Aramaic language, has ninety
couplets. The poem itself is in the form of an acrostic. It was
composed, in the year 1096, by Rabbi Mayer, son of Isaac Nehorai, who
was a cantor in the city of Worms, Germany.
Hadamut poem also speaks of a certain miracle. There are three opinions
as to the contents of this miracle.
first opinion is that the miracle was the giving of the Ten Commandments
on Mount Sinai. Incidentally, it is for this reason that the poem is
still read on the first day of the Feast of Shavuot before the reading
of the Ten Commandments.
second opinion simply states that we really cannot know with certainty,
from the references, what the actual miracle was.
third opinion believes that the miracle took place in the city of Worms,
home of the rabbi-poet. It is thought that there was a medieval, German
priest who once spoke evil of the Jewish community.
king called upon the Jews of the city to produce a representative to
argue and defend themselves against the priest. If the Jewish spokesman
was successful, then the Jewish community would be spared mass genocide.
But if the anti-Jewish priest proved successful, then all of the Jewish
community of Worms would be put to death.
story has a happy ending, as the Jewish representative was successful in
the defense of their faith, and the community of Worms was spared.
the poem, the theme of God’s eternal love and concern for His people
is evident. One section of this poem, from which the present third
stanza of The Love of God was evidently adapted, reads as follows:
the sky of parchment made,
quill each reed, each twig and blade,
we with ink the oceans fill,
every man a scribe of skill,
marvelous story, Of God’s great glory
still remain untold; For He, most high
earth and sky Created alone of old.