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Appreciating Our Lutheran Hymns

Through the Day Thy Love Hath Spared Us

An Evening Hymn

#553 in The Lutheran Hymnal

From the human perspective King David had every reason to suffer from insomnia. His beloved albeit traitorous son Absalom had deposed him from being king of Israel and was reigning in his stead in Jerusalem. David himself had been forced to flee for his life. On top of that, word reached David that Absalom had been advised to pursue his father immediately–while David and his loyal entourage were weak and weary (2 Samuel 17:1,2,21).

As David fled, he offered the divinely inspired prayer preserved for us in Psalm 3: “LORD, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me.”

But even when his situation seemed hopeless, David was able to rest: “I lay down and slept; I awoke . . . . ” (3:5). How could he? “You, O LORD, are a shield for me . . . the LORD sustained me . . . .” (3:3,5).

Thomas Kelly echoes these words of David in this month’s hymn (written in 1806) from the “evening” section. We are reminded that it is God who “through the day . . . hath spared us” by His love, and that there is no better “Guardian” than He to keep us “through the silent watches” — “sweet it is to trust in Thee.”

But let us not stop with God’s TEMPORAL care. Rather, at the end of every day recall with King David God’s ETERNAL care: “Salvation belongs to the LORD. Your blessing is upon Your people” (Ps. 3:8). We are but “pilgrims here on earth and strangers,” as Kelly penned. Our eternal abode is above with our God who “preserves us from dangers” and grants us “repose in His arms” while here on earth.

We can join with King David in the assuredness of faith and sing with Thomas Kelly that just as God grants us earthly rest, so He will also grant us “rest with (Him) in heav’n at last” forever!

–Pastor Paul Krause