The Love of God is Greater Far

In 1096 in the city of Worms, Germany, Rabbi Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai composed a lengthy poem, Hadamut, extolling God. Tragically, that same year the Crusaders came to the city and murdered all the Jewish people, and probably the rabbi.

In modern Judaism, the poem is viewed as a beloved song, which some synagogues joyfully chant during the Feast of Shavuot (Weeks) in the spring.

The poem’s first 14 verses establish the greatness of God, which exceeds all ability to describe. It also praises God for His Law, His eternal love, and His concern for His people.

In 1917 a Christian minister named Frederick Lehman (1868–1953) came upon a portion of a revised form of the ancient Jewish poem and used it to add a stanza to a song he was writing. Later, whether Pastor Lehman was aware of it or not, he adapted some of the rabbi’s sentiments about God’s love when he composed more lyrics to his hymn, which he titled “The Love of God.”

Today “The Love of God” is a much-loved classic in Christian hymnology. What better time of year to ponder God’s great love than Christmas? Here are the first verse and refrain:

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

Refrain

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

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