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Though Thou art God, most glorious, high—A Hymn on Christ’s Life

“Though Thou art God, most glorious, high” is a precious hymn of praise concerning Christ’s life.

A hymn on Christ's life—Though Thou art God, most glorious, high

As believers in Christ our faith grows by our appreciation of Christ in His many aspects.  Christ’s life, in His fine humanity, is one aspect that we need to remember, to appreciate, again and again.

The eight stanzas of this hymn of praise by Witness Lee give us a progressive appreciation of Christ’s life. Let’s review each stanza one at a time. Such a hymn study will uplift our appreciation of Christ, enriching our speaking and singing of this  marvelous poetry. (You can also listen to the tune on hymnal.net)

Remembering Christ’s life in every phase elevates our praise!

Stanza 1 – Christ, the eternal, glorious God becoming a lowly man of flesh

The first stanza reveals Christ’s life starting from His being “God, most glorious, high,” yet becoming a “lowly man” that He might draw near to us. It reads:

Though Thou art God, most glorious, high,
Thou in the flesh to us came nigh,
A lowly man become thereby;
Lord, I remember Thee!

Stanza 1 is based on a number of crucial verses including John 1:1 and 1:14 which tell us that as the Word, Christ was God in the beginning. Then He became flesh in time to reach us.

It also reflects on Philippians 2 which says that Christ existing in the form of God did not consider being equal with God a treasure to be grasped but emptied Himself becoming in the likeness of men (vv. 6-7).

It is good to stop and praise Him saying,

“Lord Jesus, I praise You that though You are the most high God, You became a lowly man to reach me that You might save me.”

Stanza 2 – Christ’s divine glory being hidden under the tent of flesh

The second stanza declares:

Glory divine was put away
Under the tent of flesh to stay,
No outward beauty to display;
Lord, I remember Thee!

Christ’s life was one with no outward display. As John 1:14 says, “the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.” Some versions say “dwelt among us.”  That is not wrong but the literal meaning is a verbal form of the word “tabernacle ” (or tent).

This is like the tabernacle in the wilderness having no outward beauty, but covered with porpoise skins (Exo. 26:14)–with all its beauty hidden inside. In like manner, Christ’s life of glory was hidden inside His “tent of flesh.”

As such, His countrymen could only say of Him, “Is not this the carpenter…?” (Mark 6:3). That is because they didn’t see the God’s glory concealed within Him (John 1:14b).

May we not look on Christ outwardly, but pursue to know Him in an inward, hidden way, “beholding the glory hidden in the tent” (2 Cor. 3:18).

Stanza 3 – Christ as a root out of dry ground, a Man of sorrows, being despised by men

The third stanza says,

Thou art a root from out dry ground,
Thou wast the Man of sorrows found,
Hated, despised by man around;
Lord, I remember Thee!

It is a reference to Isaiah 53 which says, “For He grew up like a tender plant before Him, and like a root out of dry ground. He has no attracting form nor majesty that we should look  upon Him….He was despised and forsaken of men, a Man sorrows acquainted with grief.”

Christ’s living such a lowly, sorrowful human life qualified Him to be our Redeemer. He was uniquely qualified to save us, fallen human beings, from the curse of the fall including Satan, sin, death and the self.

As believers in Christ, how can we expect the world to treat us better than He? (John 15:18-20)

Stanza 4 – Christ being willing to suffer all, without complaint to God or man

The fourth stanza declares,

Gentle and lowly is Thy heart,
Willing to suffer all Thou art,
To God and man complaining not;
Lord, I remember Thee!

Continuing the account of Isaiah 53, stanza 4 reflect on Christ as the One who “was oppressed,…who was afflicted, yet did not open His mouth; like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep that was that is dumb before its shearers.”

This is Christ’s life in His vicarious death. Being “willing to suffer all” enabled Christ to bear all our sins, to make Himself an offering for sin (v. 10). We may simply thank Him saying,

“Lord Jesus, thank you for Your gentle and lowly heart, for being willing to suffer all for me, for bearing my sins without complaint.”

 Stanza 5 – Christ’s life being tender, sweet, balanced and complete

The fifth stanza reflecting on the fineness of Christ’s life says,

Thou as a man art tender, sweet,
Balanced in every way, complete,
Meal-offering to the Father meet;
Lord, I remember Thee!

Christ’s life was a satisfying “meal offering” to God the Father (Lev. 2:16). Such a meal offering is also food for us to enjoy. By feeding on Scripture verses concerning Christ’s fine human life (especially the Gospel of Luke), nourishes us to walk as He walked. Here is a helpful post on pray-reading the Word for daily nourishment.

Stanza 6 – Christ being faithful and wise, doing only the Father’s will

The sixth stanza recounts,

Doing the Father’s will Thy prize,
Never accepting Satan’s lies,
None like Thyself, so faithful, wise;
Lord, I remember Thee!

Every word, step and action in Christ’s life was in perfect accord with the Father’s will and an absolute rejection of Satan’s lies (Matt. 4:1-11). There is none like Him so faithful and wise.

Praise the Lord, such a faithful and wise One now lives within every believer to reproduce in us the life that is fully for God’s will and a rejection of Satan’s lies.

 Stanza 7 – Christ’s obedience to God’s will enabling Him to take our place on the Cross

The seventh stanza expresses,

For Thine obedience to God’s will,
Willing to suffer deathly ill,
E’en on the Cross my place to fill,
Lord, I remember Thee!

Philippians 2:8 says, “And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, and that the death of the cross.”

Such obedience accomplished redemption for us and became a precious ingredient in the life that becomes ours through faith in Christ. We not only remember and marvel at His perfect obedience, we partake of such a life. Whenever we are one with Him in our spirit (1 Cor. 6:17), perfect obedience is ours.

Stanza 8 – Christ’s obedient life bringing God’s exaltation, and giving Him glory and majesty

Finally, stanza 8 proclaims,

Therefore hath God exalted Thee,
Given Thee glory, majesty,
Heaven and earth will bow the knee;
O Lord, I worship Thee!

Philippians 2 continues, “Therefore also God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knew should bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should openly confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” (vv. 9-11)

Ultimately, Christ’s life brings in not only God’s exaltation, but the universal praise, and the confession that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

May we not withhold our praise, but honor the God-exalted Christ, by proclaiming today,

“Jesus Christ is Lord!”

References and Further Reading:

  • “Though Thou art God, most glorious, high” is taken from Hymns (#86), published by Living Stream Ministry. You can read this hymn and listen to the tune by going to hymnal.net.

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

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