How Firm A Foundation

How Firm A Foundation

You may be acquainted with the term ear worm; it’s some repetitive song that plays over and over in one’s head. Recently, the first couple of lines of the old hymn How Firm a Foundation was playing over and over in my head. It was triggered by something I had read in the Scriptures about God being the foundation. Generally, those ear worms are just background noise which only occasionally surface to the front of my consciousness, but on one of those times when I became conscious of the words they suddenly impacted me with how very true they were.

“How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent word.” It is a simple yet profound truth: the foundation of our faith is not in our feelings (whether we feel saved, or feel accepted, or feel close to God at any given moment), but in the very word of God. Do we believe what His word says about Him, about His salvation through Jesus, about His love, and all of His precious promises? Paul tells us that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). We need to be in His word if we would grow in our faith and knowledge of Him, and we need to take it to heart, believing what it says.

The stanza continues: “What more can He say than to you He hath said, to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?” When John wrote the book of Revelation, God put a period on His revelation to man. Yes, the Spirit still speaks to our hearts, but He always does so in the context and boundaries of what has already been revealed and established in the Scriptures. Fresh revelations that go beyond the boundaries on which God has already put a period should always be suspect and rejected. “What more can He say” when He has already revealed more wonders than our minds can even grasp now?

Two thousand years later we know Him, we know of His salvation and forgiveness, we know of His promises and character because we have His words. And the level of our faith, the firmness of our foundation will be in proportion to our knowledge of His word and how much time we spend there.

The following lines are all declarations drawn from that excellent Word, and remind us of some of His precious promises: “Fear not I am with thee, O be not dismayed.” It has often been said that the Bible tells us to “fear not” 366 times, even including one for Leap Year. While I have not personally counted them, I have seen enough of them to know that it is a persistent theme throughout Scripture. And, as stated in the lyrics, quite often the fear-nots are linked to God’s promise of His abiding presence with us. Is there anything more comforting than that thought?

The stanza continues: “For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid; I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.” What a powerful reminder, not only of the promises of God to be our helper in all these ways, but of who our God is: personal, all-powerful, and righteous. He is so concerned about our needs, and so willing and able to meet them. These truths give us such confidence in coming to Him, and in going forward to our next challenges in life with faith. And, again, we discover these truths in His excellent Word.

The next stanza is such a wonderful reminder of God’s promise of His presence in the darkest and hardest days of our lives: “When thro’ fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, My grace all-sufficient shall be thy supply. The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.” Not only are these truths drawn from the lives of many we observe in the Scriptures, and from God’s own promises therein, we can hear the echoes of these precious truths from the lives of post-Scripture children of God, both throughout history and to this very day. God’s faithfulness in their lives, and ours, during the most difficult times results in adding another layer of foundation to our faith to meet those future times when we might face earth-shaking circumstances.

The final verse is the testimony of the confidence a child of God can (and should) have in his or her Savior: “The soul that on Jesus have leaned for repose I will not, I will not desert to his foes. That soul though all hell should endeavor to shake, I’ll never, no, never, no, never forsake.” How powerful! How comforting! How encouraging! Do we have that unshakable confidence in these words? Do we know these truths as our firm foundation of faith? Such statements are drawn from that excellent word, and all the times God has promised to never leave nor forsake us, and not to let us be snatched from His grasp, or allow anything to separate us from His love. Do we know His word well enough that these are our bedrock convictions? If not, let us dive into the word of God and wash ourselves in it until we find our faith more firm, and continue there eagerly until the day our faith is made sight.