Awake, my soul, in joyful lays,
And sing thy great Redeemer’s praise:
He justly claims a song from me,
His loving-kindness, oh, how free!
He saw me ruin’d in the fall,
Yet loved me, notwithstanding all;
He saved me from my lost estate,
His loving-kindness, oh, how great!
Though numerous hosts of mighty foes,
Though earth and hell my way oppose,
He safely leads my soul along,
His loving-kindness, oh, how strong!
When trouble, like a gloomy cloud,
Has gather’d thick and thunder’d loud,
He near my soul has always stood,
His loving-kindness, oh, how good!
Often I feel my sinful hear
Prone from my Jesus to depart;
But though I have Him oft forgot,
His loving-kindness changes not.
Soon shall I pass the gloomy vale,
Soon all my mortal powers must fail;
Oh may my last expiring breath
His loving-kindness sing in death!
Then let me mount and soar away
To the bright world of endless day;
And sing with rapture and surprise,
His loving-kindness in the skies.
Samuel Medley, 1787
taken from Spurgeon’s “Our Own Hymn-Book”, #196
The theme of this hymn comes from the Hebrew word “hesed”, usually translated loving-kindness, sometimes steadfast love or love. It’s used repeatedly in the antiphonal Psalm 136 as an echoed chorus to God’s acts of loving-kindness, and in Lamentations 3:22 it is the basis for God’s mercies and great faithfulness. What a great thought for Christians to know that because of God’s steadfast love, his loving-kindness, we can forever “sing with rapture and surprise”!