hymn study, "It Is Good to Sing Thy Praises"
- Week of 3/27/2010
Wayne Walker here with another weekly hymn study.
HYMN OF THE WEEK
Weekly hymn studies
IT IS GOOD TO SING THY PRAISES
It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises
unto Thy name (Ps. 92:1)
INTRO.: A song which exhorts us to give thanks to the Lord and sing
praises to His name is It Is Good to Sing Thy Praises. The text, based
on Psalm 92, is taken from The Psalter of 1912 published by John
McNaugher (1857-1947). A lot of modern books seek to update the
language and begin the song, It Is Good to Sing Your Praises. Again, I
ask, why? Several tunes have been or could be used with the hymn, such
as one (Ellesdie) attributed to Wolfgang A. Mozart, arranged by Hubert P.
Main, suggested by Nethymnal (Cyberhymnal), and most often associated
with Henry F. Lytes Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken; and another (Beecher
or Zundel) composed by John Zundel for Charles Wesleys Love Divine, All
Loves Excelling. If one were into playing musical hymn tunes (instead
of musical chairs), he could sing it to the traditional American melody
(Nettleton) attributed to Asahel Nettleton, publishsed by John Wyeth, and
commonly associated with Robert Robinsons O Thou Fount of Every
Our books which have the hymn set it to a tune (Blaenwern) composed
by William Penfro Rowlands, who was born on Apr. 19, 1860, at Llys Brân
near Maenclochog in Pembrokeshire, Wales. A schoolteacher, Rowlands
moved to Morriston in 1881, and first became song director at Bethania
Chapel. Later he served at the Morriston Tabernacle Congregational Church
from 1892 to 1927. Also he conducted the Morriston United Choral Society
for many years. This particular melody was produced during the Welsh
revival of 1904-1905, most likely in 1905, and published in Henry H.
Jones's 1915 Cân a Moliant. The tune's name refers to a farm in
Pembrokeshire where Rowlands convalesced in his youth. During his life,
Rowland, a man of many talents, taught in several schools and composed a
number of anthems before his death on Oct. 22, 1937, at Swansea in
The tune is commonly used in Great Britain as a setting for the hymn
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling, but also in Wales with the Welsh hymn
Deued Dyddiau O Bob Cymysg by William Williams, author of Guide Me, O
Thou Great Jehovah. As a setting for Love Divine it is a popular
choice at English weddings and was voted as one of Britain's ten favorite
hymns in October, 2005. It gained its current popularity through Billy
Graham crusades when it was sung to "What a Friend We Have in Jesus."
Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lords church during the
twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the It Is Good to Sing
Your Praises (updated version) with the Rowlands tune may be found in
the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand.
The hymn identifies several items related to praising God
I. Stanza 1 mentions thanks
It is good to sing Thy praises And to thank Thee, O Most High,
Showing forth Thy lovingkindness When the morning lights the sky.
It is good when night is falling Of Thy faithfulness to tell,
While with sweet, melodious praises, Songs of adoration swell.
A. One aspect of praise is offering thanks to God: Ps. 95:1-2
B. We should give thanks to God for His lovingkindness or mercy: Ps.
C. We can even sing songs of thanks to the Lord when night is falling:
II. Stanza 2 mentions gladness
Thou hast filled my heart with gladness Through the works Thy hands have
Thou hast made my life victorious, Great Thy works and deep Thy thought.
Thou, O Lord, on high exalted, Reignest evermore in might;
All Thy enemies shall perish, Sin be banished from Thy sight.
A. The Lord fills the hearts of His people with gladness: Ps. 4:7
B. One of the things that brings great joy to our hearts is the
knowledge of Gods works: Ps. 145:10
C. It certainly makes Gods people glad to know that He reigns on high:
III. Stanza 3 mentions being good
But the good shall live before Thee, Planted in Thy dwelling place.
Fruitful trees and ever verdant, Nourished by Thy boundless grace.
In His goodness to the righteous God His righteousness displays;
God my Rock, my Strength and Refuge, Just and true are all His ways.
A. In order to live before God with a life of praise, we must be good:
B. Those who are thus good, living in harmony with Gods ways, are like
fruitful trees: Ps. 1:1-3
C. God displays His righteousness to those who righteous and good
according to His standards: Ps. 99:4-5
CONCL.: The first time I ever saw this tune by Rowlands, it was
used in a Billy Graham crusade hymnbook with Love Divine. However,
right across the page, another hymn, Lord, Thou Lovest a Cheerful
Giver, was set to the Zundel tune that we usually associate with Love
Divine and it fits quite well with the Rowlands tune. I like Lord,
Thou Lovest a Cheerful Giver, but I personally think that the Psalm 92
paraphrase is a better fit. Certainly, there can be no finer goal in
singing than to tell the Lord, It Is Good to Sing Thy Praises.
Wayne S. Walker
503 S. Jefferson St.
Salem, IL 62881
home phone: (618) 548-6286
cell phone: (618) 292-2694
Notes: Many of the hymn studies, some updated, are also available at
the Hymn Studies weblog. Furthermore, some of my previous hymn studies
are now included in book that I have written entitled Songs of Zion. It
can be ordered from the publisher by calling 1-800-423-2484 or going to
www.faith-facts.com . In addition, since this has been called to my
attention, I now feel it necessary to include this disclaimer with each
message. As owner of this list, I have nothing to do with the ads and
links that Yahoogroups sends out with the Hymn of the Day posts nor do I
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