502

O Give the LORD Wholehearted Praise

Full Text

1 O give the LORD wholehearted praise.
To him thanksgiving I will bring;
with all his people I will raise
my voice and of his glory sing.

2 His saints delight to search and trace
his mighty works and wondrous ways.
Majestic glory, boundless grace,
and righteousness his work displays.

3 God's wondrous deeds of faithfulness
his people ever keep in mind.
His works of love and graciousness
reveal that God the LORD is kind.

4 God's promise shall forever stand;
he cares for those who trust his word.
Upon his saints his mighty hand
the wealth of nations has conferred.

5 His works are true and just indeed;
his precepts are forever sure.
In truth and righteousness decreed,
they shall forevermore endure.

6 By God's own hand redemption came;
his covenant sure no change can know.
Let all revere his holy name
in heaven above and earth below.

7 In reverence and in godly fear
we find the key to wisdom's ways;
the wise his holy name revere.
Through endless ages sound his praise!

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Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

The first of eight "hallelujah" psalms (111-118), 111 was probably composed in the post-exilic period by a priest or Levite for temple worship. In structure and theme it is a poetic twin of Psalm 112. But while Psalm 112 is a eulogy to the righteous one who fears the LORD, 111 praises God for his unfailing righteousness. The opening and closing verses frame the main thematic development with a call to praise (st. 1) and a word of instruction concerning true wisdom: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" (v. 10; st. 7). God's righteousness is the faithfulness and grace by which he remains true to his covenant. The saints delight in God's "mighty works and Wondrous ways" (st. 2), which display the faithfulness of the LORD's love and grace (st. 3). God has been faithful in granting the people "the wealth of nations" (the promised land; st. 4). The LORD's deeds and orders for living are true and just (st. 5), and God's redemption shows his true covenant faithfulness. Let all revere God's holy name (st. 6), gain wisdom and understanding in the LORD, and praise his name forever (st. 7)! The 1912 Psalter is the source for this (altered) versification.
 
Bert Polman, Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

We celebrate with joy that Christ has come to rescue us from sin and evil through the work of his son, Jesus Christ. Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 35 identifies the church as “the fellowship of those who confess Jesus as Lord…the bride of Christ…”
 

Belgic Confession, Article 21 professes how Jesus Christ is a high priest forever and provided for the cleansing of our sins; Article 10 proclaims him as the “true eternal God, the Almighty, whom we invoke, worship and serve.” Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 2 calls us to “live and die in the joy of this comfort” and “to thank God for such deliverance.”

502

O Give the LORD Wholehearted Praise

Additional Prayers

Holy and generous God, giver of every good gift,
inspire in our hearts a desire for wisdom that begins with reverence for you.
Expand in our minds the knowledge of your Word,
and fill us with the love of your Son, Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen.
502

O Give the LORD Wholehearted Praise

Tune Information

Name
GERMANY
Key
A Major
Meter
8.8.8.8

Recordings

502

O Give the LORD Wholehearted Praise

Hymn Story/Background

The first of eight "hallelujah" psalms (Psalms 111-118), 111 was probably composed in the post-exilic period by a priest or Levite for temple worship. In structure and theme it is a poetic twin of Psalm 112. But while Psalm 112 is a eulogy to the righteous one who fears the LORD, Psalm 111 praises God for his unfailing righteousness. The opening and closing verses frame the main thematic development with a call to praise (st. 1) and a word of instruction concerning true wisdom: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" (v. 10; st. 7). God's righteousness is the faithfulness and grace by which he remains true to his covenant. The saints delight in God's "mighty works and Wondrous ways" (st. 2), which display the faithfulness of the LORD's love and grace (st. 3). God has been faithful in granting the people "the wealth of nations" (the promised land; st. 4). The LORD's deeds and orders for living are true and just (st. 5), and God's redemption shows his true covenant faithfulness. Let all revere God's holy name (st. 6), gain wisdom and understanding in the LORD, and praise his name forever (st. 7)! The 1912 Psalter is the source for this (altered) versification.
 
William Gardiner first published GERMANY as a setting for the text "As a Shepherd Gently Leads Us" in his Sacred Melodies (vol. 2, 1815), in which he attributed it to Ludwig van Beethoven. The last phrase of this tune resembles a part of the first theme of the Allegretto movement of Beethoven's Piano Trio, Op. 7, No. 2. The first phrase is from the opening of the aria “Possenti Numi” in Mozart's The Magic Flute. The tune is also known by the names BEETHOVEN, FULDA, WALTON, or GARDINER. Sing GERMANY briskly to get the sense of two long lines rather than four shorter, choppy ones. Antiphony is helpful for singing the entire psalm.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

The 1912 Psalter was the first ecumenical psalter published in the United States and the most widely used metrical psalter of the twentieth century in North America.  The United Presbyterian Church invited all other Reformed and Presbyterian denominations to join them in the effort to provide a new versifications of the psalms; six Presbyterian denominations, as well as the Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America joined in the effort in revising the 1887 Psalter (whose texts actually dated back to the 1871 Book of Psalms; the 1887 edition had added music to the texts.).  The 1912 Psalter included all the psalms in 413 settings, eight doxologies, and the three Lukan canticles (Song of Mary, Song of Zechariah, and Song of Simeon).
— Bert Polman and Jack Reiffer

Composer Information

The son of an English hosiery manufacturer, William Gardiner (b. Leicester, England, 1770; d. Leicester, 1853) took up his father's trade in addition to writing about music, composing, and editing. Having met Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven on his business travels, Gardiner then proceeded to help popularize their compositions, especially Beethoven's, in England. He recorded his memories of various musicians in Music and Friends (3 volumes, 1838-1853). In the first two volumes of Sacred Melodies (1812, 1815), Gardiner turned melodies from composers such as Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven into hymn tunes in an attempt to rejuvenate the singing of psalms. His work became an important model for American editors like Lowell Mason (see Mason's Boston Handel and Haydn Collection, 1822), and later hymnbook editors often turned to Gardiner as a source of tunes derived from classical music.
— Bert Polman
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