Jeremy Taylor on a hymn by Isaac Watts (1715)
2014 has been a good year for sky-gazers. Between “super moons” and “blood moons” and lunar eclipses and asteroid showers—we’ve had lots of reasons to look up to the heavens and rejoice at God’s power and creativity. We might be reminded of Isaac Watts’ words, written 301 years ago: “The moon shines full at his command.”
Maybe it was while looking at a “super moon” that Watts wrote what he intended to be a teaching song for children. But while it is filled with nature imagery and utilizes relatively simple language, this hymn is no simple nursery rhyme. Rather, it extolls God’s goodness and power as displayed through his creation.
Psalm 8 says, “You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants, you have established a stronghold against your eneamies. . . . When I consider the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you have set into place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”
The same God that created the super moon and the blood moons created and cares for each one of us. And that’s something worth singing about at any age.
I sing th’almighty power of God that made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad, and built the lofty skies
I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at God’s command, and all the stars obey.
I sing the goodness of the Lord, who filled the earth with food,
Who formed the creatures through His Word, and then pronounced them good.
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed wheree’er I turn my eye,
If I survey the ground I tread or gaze upon the sky.
There’s not a plant or flower below but makes Thy glories known.
And clouds arise and tempests blow by order from Thy throne.
While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care,
And everywhere that we can be, Thou, God, art present there.