323

With All My Heart I Thank You, LORD

Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Similar to Psalm 18, 138 is a song of thanksgiving for God's saving acts–especially against enemies. After first praising the LORD for answering prayer (v. 3; st. 1), the psalmist expresses a desire that all the kings of earth be moved to add their praise to God; they too should see the greatness of God's glory. Even though the LORD is "on high," God does not identity with the proud but looks favorably on the lowly (st. 2). God's deliverance of the psalmist is an example of this care. The psalmist professes confidence in God's continued care and commits the future to the LORD in a closing prayer (st. 3). Stanley Wiersma (PHH 25) versified this psalm in 1981 for the Psalter Hymnal. Another setting of Psalm 138 is at 183.
 
Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

We do not walk with God to gain his attention and favor, but rather to exhibit our profound thankfulness to him. Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 1 makes it clear that “because I belong to him, Christ…makes we heartily willing and ready from now on to live for him.”
 
In addition, Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 32, Question and Answer 86 gives us a beautiful and moving testimony of why God’s children are called to live obediently: Christ has redeemed us by his blood. Therefore, God’s children are called to “show that we are thankful to God for his benefits.”
323

With All My Heart I Thank You, LORD

Additional Prayers

We lift our hearts in thankful praise to you, O Lord,
for you do not forsake the work of your hands,
but you continue to redeem and restore your creation
through your Son, Jesus Christ, our living Lord.
By your Spirit, enable us to fulfill your purpose in our lives
and, in so doing, to discover true joy. Amen.
323

With All My Heart I Thank You, LORD

Tune Information

Name
GENEVAN 138/MIT FREUDEN ZART
Key
D Major
Meter
8.9.8.9 D

Recordings

Musical Suggestion

A setting of this psalm composed by Eelco Vos for leadership by a contemporary worship band is available from The Psalm Project (see www.thepsalmproject.com).
323

With All My Heart I Thank You, LORD

Hymn Story/Background

Similar to Psalm 18, Psalm 138 is a song of thanksgiving for God's saving acts–especially against enemies. After first praising the LORD for answering prayer (v. 3; st. 1), the psalmist expresses a desire that all the kings of earth be moved to add their praise to God; they too should see the greatness of God's glory. Even though the LORD is "on high," God does not identity with the proud but looks favorably on the lowly (st. 2). God's deliverance of the psalmist is an example of this care. The psalmist professes confidence in God's continued care and commits the future to the LORD in a closing prayer (st. 3). Stanley Wiersma versified this psalm in 1981 for the Psalter Hymnal 1987.
 
GENEVAN 138 was first published in the 1551 edition of the Genevan Psalter. Dale Grotenhuis harmonized the tune in 1985. A sturdy Ionian (major) tune, GENEVAN 138 is a bar form (AABC) that repeats lines 1-2 and 3-4. This joyful music should be supported by bright and full organ registration and sung majestically.

Author Information

Stanley Marvin Wiersma (b. Orange City, IA, 1930; d. Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1986) was a poet and professor of English at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, from 1959 until his sudden death in 1986. He attended Calvin as an under­graduate and received a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1959. His love for the Genevan psalms is reflected in the two books of poetry for which he is most widely known: Purpaleanie and Other Permutations (1978) and Style and Class (1982), both written under the pseudonym Sietze Buning. He also wrote More Than the Ear Discovers: God in the Plays of Christopher Fry and translated many Dutch poems and hymn texts into English, including the children's hymns published in All Will Be New (1982).
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

Dale Grotenhuis (b. Cedar Grove, WI, 1931; d. Jenison, MI, August 17, 2012), a member of the Psalter Hymnal 1987 Revision Committee, was professor of music and director of choral music at Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa, from 1960 until he retired in 1994 to concentrate on composition. Educated at Calvin College; Michigan State University, Lansing; and Ohio State University, Columbus; he combined teaching with composition throughout his career and is a widely published composer of choral music. He also directed the Dordt choir in a large number of recordings, including many psalm arrangements found in the 1959 edition of the Psalter Hymnal.
— Bert Polman

The Genevan Psalter is the major gift of the Reformed branch of the Reformation to the song of the church. John Calvin (1509-1564) first experienced congregational singing of the psalms in Strasbourg when serving as a pastor of French exiles there, and when returning to Geneva in 1541 he finally persuaded the city council to permit congregational singing, which they had banned entirely under the influence of Ulrich Zwingli. Just two months after returning to Geneva, Calvin wrote in his Ecclesiastical Ordinances: "It will be good to introduce ecclesiastical songs, the better to incite the people to pray to and praise God. For a beginning the little children are to be taught; then with time all the church will be able to follow." Calvin set about overseeing the development of several metrical psalms with melodies, rather than the hymns, or chorales, of the Lutheran tradition, and also in contrast to the published psalters with texts only that followed in England and Scotland. The emerging Genevan Psalter was published in instalments until completed in 1562, including the 150 psalms, the Ten Commandments and the Song of Simeon. He employed the best French poets and composers to prepare metrical settings rather than continuing to chant the psalms, since poetry in meter was the popular form of the day—and also the choice for the Lutheran chorale.
 
The publication event was the largest in publishing history until then; twenty-four printers in Geneva alone, plus presses in Paris, Lyons, and elsewhere produced more than 27,000 copies in the first two years; more than 100,000 copies were available in over thirty editions. The Genevan Psalter was extremely popular, and almost immediately translated into Dutch, Hungarian, and German. Due to the intense persecution of the French Huguenots in the 16th century, the center of activity of the Reformed branch of the Reformation moved away from France and especially to the Netherlands, and from there to Indonesia, South Africa, and North America. The most recent translation (2004) of the entire psalter is into Japanese. The most recent English translation of the entire Genevan Psalter is available with melodies from the Canadian Reformed Book of Praise, available at http://www.canrc.org/?page=23.
 
Calvin’s goal was to provide a distinct tune for every psalm, so that each psalm would have its own identity. Every tune would then bring to mind a particular psalm. The psalter didn’t quite reach this goal: it contains 125 different tunes. Today, only a few of those Genevan tunes are in wide use, among them the psalm tune most widely known around the world, often identified as OLD HUNDRETH, or simply, “The Doxology.” 
— Emily Brink
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