Jesus Shall Reign

By Aaron LeDuc,

This coming Sunday we’ll worship, amongst other songs and avenues, with the song “Jesus Shall Reign” by Isaac Watts.  It was penned as a poem in 1719 by Watts and was set to music in 1793 and it’s based off of Psalm 72, especially verses 12-19.  As I’ve been preparing to worship with this song, and learning about it, one of the most interesting stories regarding it is as follows:

 

"Perhaps one of the most interesting occasions on which this hymn was used was that on which King George, the sable, of the South Sea Islands, but of blessed memory, gave a new constitution to his people, exchanging a Heathen for a Christian form of government. Under the spreading branches of the banyan trees sat some thousand natives from Tonga, Fiji, and Samoa, on Whitsunday, 1862, assembled for divine worship. Foremost amongst them all sat King George himself. Around him were seated old chiefs and warriors who had shared with him the dangers and fortunes of many a battle; men whose eyes were dim, and whose powerful frames were bowed down with the weight of years. But old and young alike rejoiced together in the joys of that day, their faces most of them radiant with Christian joy, love, and hope. It would be impossible to describe the deep feeling manifested when the solemn service began, by the entire audience singing Dr. Watts's hymn, “Jesus shall reign where'er the sun"... Who so much as they could realize the full meaning of the poet's words? for they had been rescued from the darkness of heathenism and cannibalism, and they were that day met for the first time under a Christian constitution, under a Christian king, and with Christ Himself reigning in the hearts of most of those present. That was indeed Christ's kingdom set up in the earth."

 

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

 

Can you imagine that?  Thousands of people on a tropical island gathered alongside an earthly king to worship the One true King of Kings.  What’s a scene to imagine!  What a privilege we have to enter in this weekend with the gathering of the saints to worship our Most Holy Lord, Jesus Christ!

 

I want to encourage you all to read through the lyrics below and spend some time listening and worshiping in your personal time before we gather together.  We’ll be using a version arranged by Ryan Foglesong from the band Enfield - it’s a great arrangement with a very apt added chorus, and it’s set to a really interesting Irish reel.  Here are some links to listen or buy the recording and the lyrics are below.

Purchase the song on iTunes

Purchase the song on Amazon MP3

Listen to the song on Spotify

Purchase the Full Album - Resolved Music Vol. 1 from Enfield

 

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Does its successive journeys run;
His kingdom spread from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

He shall reign in glory, crowned with grace and might
Bless His name and praise our sovereign King.
He shall reign forever with His chosen Bride,
And all the earth shall sing that Jesus is the King.

People and realms of every tongue
Dwell on His love with sweetest song;
And infant voices shall proclaim
Their early blessings on His Name.

He shall reign in glory, crowned with grace and might
Bless His name and praise our sovereign King.
He shall reign forever with His chosen Bride,
And all the earth shall sing that Jesus is the King.

Let every creature rise and bring
His grateful honors to our King;
Angels descend with songs again,
And earth repeat the loud amen!

He shall reign in glory, crowned with grace and might
Bless His name and praise our sovereign King.
He shall reign forever with His chosen Bride,
And all the earth shall sing that Jesus is the King.

See you Sunday!

-Aaron