Sunday, April 30, 2006

How Sweet and Awful Is the Place

On Thursday morning at Together for the Gospel, we sang this hymn before Ligon Duncan spoke on preaching from the Old Testament. By the time we finished the second verse, I couldn’t sing. It’s hard to sing when you’re all choked up. Bob Kauflin followed by leading in How Deep the Father’s Lover for Us. Talk about piling on when a fellow is already wobbly!

I had never heard this hymn before – I don’t know how I missed it. The words are amazing – what really got me was the line, “Lord, why was I a guest.”

1. How sweet and awful is the place
With Christ within the doors,
While everlasting love displays
The choicest of her stores.

2. While all our hearts and all our songs
Join to admire the feast,
Each of us cry, with thankful tongues,
"Lord, why was I a guest?"

3. "Why was I made to hear Thy voice,
And enter while there's room,
When thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?"

4. 'Twas the same love that spread the feast
That sweetly drew us in;
Else we had still refused to taste,
And perished in our sin.

5. Pity the nations, O our God,
Constrain the earth to come;
Send Thy victorious Word abroad,
And bring the strangers home.

6. We long to see Thy churches full,
That all the chosen race
May, with one voice and heart and soul,
Sing Thy redeeming grace.

Isaac Watts (1674-1748) Public Domain


AWHall said...

Terry - thanks for the lyrics to Watts hymn. It was great to meet you at the Louisville airport on the way home (along with T. Searle). Blessings in your ministry and may the fruit of T4G spill over from your life into your local church. ~Andrew Hall

BugBlaster said...

Oh that sounds so interesting. I am drawn to the Old Testament lessons.

stauf46 said...

That was very interesting. You should order the MP3 cd!

If you know the names Goldsworthy and Clowney, you'll know the perspective of this message. It was very well delivered.

One of the best things about the message was the balance. I think I'll post on that soon.


hash-man said...

We sang that song tonight at prayer meeting. I'm hoping our church will warm to it, it wasn't to hard to sing.

I found the version we sang tonight at a college website of all places.

Alex said...

It's funny - the words "Lord why was I a guest?" caught my attention, as well.

Thank you for your ministry.


David said...

This is a great hymn. The scripture reference's Isaac Watts used to pen this hymn is from Luke 13:14, 22-23. It is subtitled: Divine love preparing a Feast, calling in His Guests.

Originally there were 7 verses, here you omitted verse 2:

2. Here ev'ry bowel of our God
With soft compassion rolls;
Here peace and pardon bought with blood Is food for dying souls.

David said...

Ooops, I meant to say Luke 14: 17,22,23

stauf46 said...

Thanks for the comments, David.

Bob Kauflin's rationale for dropping verse 2 can be found at his blog -

It is a beautiful verse, but given the "mixed multitude" at our services, we dropped verse 2 in our church as well.