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Frederick M. Lehman, the author of “The Love of God,” was known by all as a Christian who rejoiced in his salvation. One Sunday night after a sermon about God’s love so moved his heart, he could barely sleep. The next day, the words to this hymn began to piece together in his head, and he composed it on a piano.
I like this hymn for two main reasons: the imagery used, and I like finding the Biblical references throughout the hymn. A lot of the imagery used is superlative through vocabulary such as “greater far,” “highest,” “lowest,” and more. It reminds me of God’s greatness and how, as noted in the chorus, His love is measureless and strong. He loves us more than we could possibly love Him, so much so as to sacrifice His Son on the cross to redeem us. The third stanza shows the inability of human effort to compare to God’s boundless love. None of our efforts could ever come remotely close to His love.
There are many Biblical references such as how “The guilty pair, bowed down with care” refers to Adam and Eve after they ate the fruit of the Garden of Eden. “His erring child He reconciled” refers to the prodigal son who was reconciled back to his family. All he had to do was come home, and he was accepted back with open arms. The last stanza is a beautiful rendition of John 21:25, “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” What all these have in common is that they involve us as humans failing, and God’s love being greater than our failures. His love is greater than all our human efforts, even the hypothetical ones.
It can be rather discouraging to know that none of your efforts could possibly live up to what God has done for you. However, I think all we can do is to continue to love and serve Him while asking and listening to what He wants from us. Similarly to the prodigal son, let us not be those who refuse to pray but be those who are reconciled to Him. Let us come to God, for He will accept us with open arms.