561

I Will Extol You, O My God

Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Based on Psalm 145: 1-8, "I Will Extol You" is reprinted, with a few alterations, from the 1912 Psalter. This part of the psalm centers on the well-known Hebrew confession "God is great, God is good!" See PHH 145 for further commentary on Psalm 145.
 
Bert Polman, Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

What we know as the attributes of God reveal his character and being. For these, he is worthy of praise and adoration. Even before he says or does anything, he is praise-worthy. The opening words of Belgic Confession, Article 1 declare that God is “eternal, incomprehensible, invisible, unchangeable, infinite, almighty; completely wise, just, and good, and the overflowing source of all good.”
 

The Lord’s Prayer ends with a doxology, and Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 52, Question and Answer 128 extrapolates: “Your holy name…should receive all the praise, forever.” After expressing our trust in the total care of God for all things, Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 9, Question and Answer 26 declares, “God is able to do this because he is Almighty God and desires to do this because he is a faithful Father.” And so we express our praise and adoration to God for who he is.

561

I Will Extol You, O My God

Additional Prayers

Great God, we exalt and worship you.
In Christ you offer us everything we need.
Embolden us to go out into the streets and alleys of our world,
urging others to come to your banqueting house;
and there may we discover the table of forgiveness and healing, of laughter and joy.
We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
561

I Will Extol You, O My God

Tune Information

Name
GERARD (NOEL)
Key
F Major or modal
Meter
8.6.8.6 D

Recordings

561

I Will Extol You, O My God

Hymn Story/Background

Based on Psalm 145:1-8, "I Will Extol You" is reprinted, with a few alterations, from the 1912 Psalter. This part of the psalm centers on the well-known Hebrew confession "God is great, God is good!"
 
Psalm 145 is one of the most beautiful hymns of the psalter. I will exalt you and praise your name for your greatness and goodness, O God, sings the psalmist. Your people "will tell of your mighty acts" and goodness forever. You show your grace to sinners, and you care for all your creatures. "All you have made will praise you" (v. 10); your saints will proclaim your glorious and eternal reign. O LORD, you are faithful in restoring the afflicted and providing food for all living things. In your righteousness you never fail to care for those who trust and obey you; you redeem your saints, and you overthrow the wicked. Let every creature praise God's name.
 
The tune NOEL is also known as EARDISLEY or GERARD. Arthur Seymour Sullivan adapted this traditional English melody (probably one of the variants of the folk song "Dives and Lazarus"), added phrases of his own to recast the melody in common meter double, and published it first in his Church Hymns with Tunes (1874). In that collection Sullivan set this tune to the Christmas carol "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," which explains one of the tune names. Though NOEL has frequent changes of harmony, do not sing it too slowly; keep the rhythmic energy moving.
— 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

Arthur Seymour Sullivan (b Lambeth, London. England. 1842; d. Westminster, London, 1900) was born of an Italian mother and an Irish father who was an army band­master and a professor of music. Sullivan entered the Chapel Royal as a chorister in 1854. He was elected as the first Mendelssohn scholar in 1856, when he began his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He also studied at the Leipzig Conservatory (1858-1861) and in 1866 was appointed professor of composition at the Royal Academy of Music. Early in his career Sullivan composed oratorios and music for some Shakespeare plays. However, he is best known for writing the music for lyrics by William S. Gilbert, which produced popular operettas such as H.M.S. Pinafore (1878), The Pirates of Penzance (1879), The Mikado (1884), and Yeomen of the Guard (1888). These operettas satirized the court and everyday life in Victorian times. Although he com­posed some anthems, in the area of church music Sullivan is best remembered for his hymn tunes, written between 1867 and 1874 and published in The Hymnary (1872) and Church Hymns (1874), both of which he edited. He contributed hymns to A Hymnal Chiefly from The Book of Praise (1867) and to the Presbyterian collection Psalms and Hymns for Divine Worship (1867). A complete collection of his hymns and arrangements was published posthumously as Hymn Tunes by Arthur Sullivan (1902). Sullivan steadfastly refused to grant permission to those who wished to make hymn tunes from the popular melodies in his operettas.
— Bert Polman
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