Before You, Lord, We Bow LSB 966
1 Before You, Lord, we bow, Our God who reigns above And rules the world below, Boundless in pow’r and love. Our thanks we bring In joy and praise, Our hearts we raise To You, our King!
2 The nation You have blest May well Your love declare, From foes and fears at rest, Protected by Your care. For this bright day, For this fair land— Gifts of Your hand— Our thanks we pay.
3 May ev’ry mountain height, Each vale and forest green, Shine in Your Word’s pure light, And its rich fruits be seen! May ev’ry tongue Be tuned to praise And join to raise A grateful song.
4 Earth, hear your Maker’s voice; Your great Redeemer own; Believe, obey, rejoice, And worship Him alone. Cast down your pride, Your sin deplore, And bow before The Crucified.
5 And when in pow’r He comes, Oh, may our native land From all its rending tombs Send forth a glorious band, A countless throng, With joy to sing To heav’n’s high King Salvation’s song!
Text: Public domain
November has two high points for the US as a nation. One, the national election on the 3rd and two, the national day of Thanksgiving on the 26th.
18 years had passed since the night that led Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Preparing to celebrate the 56th anniversary of American independence, he penned the now famous poem above.
Amid what seems a secular enterprise, the election of a president, Key writes a poem/hymn that helps us to understand that GOD is the true leader and King of God’s people. This hymn looks at our nation from a broad biblical perspective.
He begins with the acknowledgement that God is our King. We bow in homage only to this king. All the leaders of this world, our country included, are ministers used in the left hand of God to punish evildoers and bless those who do good. We do well to remember that in light of a national election. We may have our preferences, but the God to whom we bow will use to His glory whoever is the Caesar of our land.
Looking back to the past, at a time when some may have even been alive to remember embarking on the quest for independence, Key wrote in stanza 3 (no longer included):
Our Fathers sought thee Lord! And on thy help relied
Thou heard’st and gave’st the word and all their need supplied.
Led by their hand to victory, They hailed a free and rescued land!
As we gather for the day of national Thanksgiving this hymn acknowledges some important points for us to consider.
1: God rules in almighty power unmatched and has no end.
2: Our nation is abundantly blessed. HE protects us. We declare His love and give thanks to Him.
3: We live by God’s Word. ALL live in the light of the Word and it tunes our tongues to praise HIM.
4: All are humbled before Him and in rejection of their sin confess and receive the forgiveness won by Jesus Christ.
5: On Christ’ return, we pray that many of our land will have faith in Jesus and be part of the great harvest to a heavenly home.
“In an age of political correctness, tolerance, and a national religiosity that manifests itself in vague expressions of spirituality and truth, this hymn stands as a bold contrast to other patriotic songs and hymns that allow for the invoking of any “god” of a person’s own choosing.” (companion to the hymns).
Thus, we gather as the people of God during the month to engage in our civic duty to vote, expressing our faith in the candidates we desire to be used as the hand of God’s service among us. At the same time, we rejoice that we only have ONE Lord and King who deserves our praise, and so we gather on the national day of Thanksgiving to return our thanks and praise to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Collect of the Day
P: Almighty God, Your mercies are new every morning and You graciously provide for all our needs of body and soul. Grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may acknowledge Your goodness, give thanks for Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience all our days; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Collect for Peace
P: O God, from whom come all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works, give to us, Your servants, that peace which the world cannot give, that our hearts may be set to obey Your commandments and also that we, being defended from the fear of our enemies, may live in peace and quietness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
May you be filled with that peace that comes from Jesus alone, and may we together bow before the Lord in thanks and praise.