“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”
By: Robert Robinson, written 1758.
Come Thou fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing Thy grace. Streams of mercy never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise. Teach me some melodious sonnet Sung by flaming tongues above. Praise the mount, I'm fixed upon it; Mount of Thy redeeming love
Here I raise my Ebenezer, Here by Thy great help I've come. And I hope by Thy good pleasure Safely to arrive at home. Jesus sought me when a stranger Wandering from the fold of God. He to rescue me from danger Interposed His precious blood
Oh, that day when freed from sinning, I shall see Thy lovely face. Clothed then in blood washed linen How I'll sing Thy sovereign grace. Come my Lord, no longer tarry, Take my ransomed soul away. Send Thine angels now to carry Me to realms of endless days
Oh, to grace how great a debtor, Daily I'm constrained to be. Let Thy goodness like a fetter Bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Here's my heart, oh take and seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above.
This is, without question, one of my absolute favorite hymns. There is so much wrapped up in these verses. It is a prayer I have prayed many times and in many forms. It is a song I have taught to my children. When I hear it played, so many emotions and memories well-up within me. It is, in many ways, the anthem of my life.
Here are a few aspects of the song that stick out to me...
The song begins with a prayer: “Come Thou fount of every blessing. '' It is a prayer to God requesting the goodness of God. He is our fountain of never ending blessing. I think of Psalm 16:11, “You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
“Tune my heart to sing Thy grace.” — Like a skilled musician adjusts his instrument to make beautiful sounds, so we implore God to bring our lives into tune with His.
“Streams of mercy never ceasing call for songs of loudest praise.” Have you thought much and often on the never-ending grace of God. We need not wonder whether or not God will be merciful to His children. He has promised never to leave us, nor forsake us. He is God slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love! (Psalm 103:8)
The Jesus Storybook Bible describes it this way, God’s “wonderful, never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.”
“Praise the mount, I'm fixed upon it…”
This is the prayer I often utter for my life. Am I fixated on the holy mountain of God? Am I living in a heavenward direction? We praise God’s holy mountain and we utter, “Who will ascend the mountain of the Lord?” (Psalm 24:23-24).
May we fix our lives on that mountain. May heaven be the direction in which we live.
“Here I raise my Ebenezer, Here by Thy great help I've come. And I hope by Thy good pleasure Safely to arrive at home.”
An Ebenezer [stone] is an act of reminding ourselves that God has been our Helper; that He has brought us this far, and He will bring us safely home to Himself in Heaven. It is good for us to remind ourselves of this. It is good for us to build things [Ebenezers] into our lives in order to be reminded of this great truth.
One of the Ebenezer stones that God gives His people to constantly remind them of this truth is the weekly gathering of His people where songs of the faith are sung aloud and the Word of God is opened and proclaimed with authority.
“Jesus sought me when a stranger Wandering from the fold of God. He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed His precious blood.”
These are, perhaps, some of the most beautiful lyrics of the songs. They preach the gospel to all who listen. The Bible is clear: In my sin I reject God; I do not want Him; I am stranger to Him; and I wander away from Him (Gen. 3; John 3:19; Rom. 3:10-12; Eph. 2:1-3). But, it was when I was actively wandering away from God that God Himself came to rescue me! Even while we were still sinners going about our sinning, Jesus Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8). Paul says, God demonstrates His love for us by coming to die for us while we did not want Him.
And what's more! God came for us by sending His Son, Jesus Christ. The song notes that God rescued us from the danger of falling beneath His righteous wrath by interposing the blood of Christ. The word interpose means to “insert between one thing and another.” So, the point is this: God Himself inserts the righteous blood of Jesus between His wrath and our sin. He rescued us!
"Oh, that day when freed from sinning, I shall see Thy lovely face."
-There is coming a day, Church, when we will be finally delivered from our sins. Paul groans "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (Rom. 7:24). We have this hope: Christ Jesus will! In Philippians 3:20 we read, "But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself."
Be encouraged, Christian. Heaven awaits. Long for it.
"Clothed then in blood washed linen How I'll sing Thy sovereign grace."
How is it that we shall see the face of God and stand in His presence whole? It is because we will have been washed in the blood of Jesus Christ, our sacrificial Lamb—crucified in our place. In 2 Cor. 5:21 we read, "He made Him Who knew no sin to be sin so that we might become the righteousness of God."
Our standing before God rests fully and completely on perfect blood of Jesus Christ.
“Oh to grace, how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be. Let Thy goodness like a fetter bind my wandering heart to Thee!”
When O truly grasp that God has interposed the blood of Christ on my behalf, how can I ever cease to praise Him? What have I done to earn salvation? What have I done to earn the goodness and lovingkindness of God? Not only have I done nothing to earn it, I’ve done everything to spurn it! Listen to how Paul describes in Titus 3:4, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His Own mercy…” (ESV).
And so the only proper thing I can offer to God is a prayer of thanksgiving and humble request that He keep me near to Him. That He Who began the good work of salvation in me would keep me near to Him until the end (Phil. 1:6). The writer says, “Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee.” A fetter is like a shackle, or a chain. Something that will keep you unquestionably attached to whatever it is attached to. We pray this because of what comes next...
“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; Prone to leave the God I love.”
The Christian knows his/her tendency to wander away from God, in pursuit of pleasure and joy in lesser things. Paul speaks of this in Romans 1:21-23, that we are tempted to deny God by pursuing other things. We take what rightly belongs to Him and we try to give it to something He has created. We worship money, sports, hobbies, relationships, jobs...and oftentimes, it's not always a positive thing. We get consumed by fear, anxiety, worry, anger, lust, etc. The list goes on.
And yet, the song reminds us, apart from God’s loving-kindness, I would wander off. I’m prone to it...
-Just as the song opened, so it concludes with a prayer…
“Here’s my heart, Lord; take and seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above.”
All we can do is to offer ourselves totally and freely unto God. We humbly pray, “Have Thine Own way, Lord.” We’re prone to wandering off; we are daily debtors to the grace of God. We need Him to bind our hearts to Him. We need Him to place His seal on us. And He does just that in the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14)
What a great way to close a hymn of faith!
This is a wonderful hymn of the New Testament Church. It takes us through the great truths of the gospel. It reminds us of who we are apart from God, why we need Him, and how He saves us. It reminds us of our hope of Heaven and that Christ Himself is our seal and guarantee. His Spirit abides in us and with us.
What a blessing it is to sing such a wonderful song, but what a greater blessing it is to sing such a song in the gathered presence of the Lord Jesus’ Church!