oh, love of God

 

CHRISTIAN HYMN – ‘The Love of God’

Fredrick M. Lehman _1917

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin

 

Refrain:

Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!

How measureless and strong!

It shall forevermore endure—

The saints’ and angels’ song.

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 angels’ song. [Refrain]

 

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 dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
[Refrain]


Above is one of my favorite Christian hymns, ‘The Love of God’ written by Fredrik M. Lehman. Some years after Lehman wrote the hymn, he told a story of how he had found the third stanza of the hymn “penciled on the wall of a patient’s room in an insane asylum after he had been carried to his grave.” Lehman added, “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 song.” [1]

We are not told who the patient was or where he found the words. There are a couple of possibilities and quite the contrast.


The Quran

The Quran contains two verses strikingly similar to the 3rd stanza in Lehman’s hymn:

“Were the sea ink for the words of my Lord, the sea would surely fail before the words of my Lord fail.” (Sura 18, verse 109)
And
“Were the trees that are in the earth pens, were the sea ink with seven more seas to swell its tide, the words of God would not be spent.” (Sura 31, verse 27).

Muslims believe that the Quran was verbally revealed by God to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel (Jibril), gradually over a period of approximately 23 years, beginning on 22 December 609 CE when Muhammad was 40, and concluding in 632 CE, the year of his death. [2]


The Akdamut

There is another spiritual literary work that uses this similar wording.

The Akdamut is a Jewish writing that was written by Rabbi Meir ben Isaac Nehorai (c.1030-1096). The Akdamut (entire poem is 90 versus) was read on Shavuot as a celebrations of God’s gift of the Torah to the Jewish people. When the Torah was read publicly, the words were translated into Aramaic so the worshipers could better understand what had been read. Again, we are not sure if Rabbi Meir received the words from an earlier source.

For Shavuot-

Before reading the ten divine commands, O let me speak in awe two words, or three, Of the One who wrought the world and sustained it since time’s beginning.

At God’s command is infinite power, which words cannot define. Were all the skies parchment, and all the reeds pens, and all the oceans ink, and all who dwell on earth scribes, God’s grandeur could not be told.

Sovereign over the heavens above, God reigns supreme on earth below. God launched creation unaided and contains it in the bound of His law.

Without weariness, God created, only by divine will, uttered in a gentle sound. God wrought His works in six days, then established His glorious sovereignty over the life of the universe.

Myriads of angelic host serve God, Divine messengers that propel life’s destiny. They arise each morning to their calling.

The adoption of the Akdamut into the regular liturgy took some time; it is not mentioned as part of the Shavuos liturgy until the first decade of the 15th century and the earliest prayer book to contain it was published in 1557[3]


So the question is left unanswered… the origin of the 3rd stanza?

Now if one comes from the other, the origination would have to be the Quran, as it was written almost 400 years before Rabbi Mier was born. But this can be nothing more than speculation or coincidence at best.

Others might argue that the words scrawled on the wall of the insane asylum have no association with the Akdamut or the Quran, only an uncanny similarity.

One thing that cannot be argued, is the greatness of God’s love for humanity.

Consider such a love… “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”, the Creator, taking on flesh and blood so that He could die for His creation.  “He who knew no sin becoming sin that His creation might have His righteousness.” Oh, love of God!

I’ll bet, if it were left to you or I to write God’s love song, we would not have written in the same manner as He did. “For greater love hath no man than this, that he would lay down his life for a friend”.

My prayer for the reader is that you will find the peace of Yeshua , which can only be found in the love of God… “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved!”

brother malachi 

[1] http://www.hymnary.org/text/the_love_of_god_is_greater_far

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quran

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akdamut

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