O God, My Joy

This hymn by Paul Keew and Brian Pinner is a delight. Exquisitely written, and relentlessly God-centered. You can hear it here. [Addition: You can also here it here (an octavo by Molly Ijames) and here.]

O God, my joy, You reign above in radiant splendor and beauty.
Your Word has drawn my heart to love the awesome sight of Your glory.
Your blazing Light and gospel grace shine brightly from my Savior’s face.
No other wonder would I see than Christ enthroned in His glory!

Sustained by joy in trial and pain, I trust Your wisdom and mercy.
Through suff’ring that Your love ordains, more like Your Son You will make me.
For Christ embraced the cross of shame, beholding glorious joys to come.
O give me faith like His to see that suff’ring lifts me to glory!

Compelled by joy, I fight the sin that turns my gaze from Your glory.
Your Holy Spirit dwells within; His presence arms me for vict’ry.
Let death and hell against me rise; through death I’ll gain eternal joys.
All pow’rs of hell will bend the knee before my great King of Glory!

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14 Responses

  1. It would be better if it was good poetry.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  2. Don,

    It is a beautiful, powerful, moving song! When we have opportunity it will be added to our church music selection.

    Maybe I’m cynical, but my guess is that you are down on it more because of certain theological themes present in the song than the poetry.

  3. Can’t imagine why you’d make a comment like that Don. Nothing gained whatsoever.

    The content is thrilling and the expression beautiful. Well done, Paul!

  4. Sorry, been out of town for a day and a half.

    The poetry of this song is very poor. The theology isn’t a problem at all. I have heard the song performed via recording. The music rescues the very poor poetry.

    One objection I have to much that comes out of SoundForth, Majesty, Wilds, etc. is that the poetry just isn’t that good. This is a prime example.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  5. I disagree regarding OGMJ, Don, and wonder what your criteria for judging poetry is. Certainly it’s more than simple rhymes, right?

    As one who has done a fair amount of hymn writing (and is painfully aware of how difficult it is), I have nothing but admiration for the piece.

  6. This one has a bit of a Getty feel to it, to me (I’m not saying that’s a bad thing…I have heard several things of theirs that have blessed me spiritually). IMO the last stanza is the gem, not only because it is the culmination of the forward momentum of the lyrics, but also because it is the most well written of the three. A heart was opened, and the words spilled onto the page. An important element of “good poetry.”

    It is a shame to say, but since the world has taken “awesome” and watered it down and bantered it about so, I have a hard time feeling uplifted by the usage of it. Perhaps I’m simple minded…maybe I’m just old… :)

  7. Rhyming is one thing, there really isn’t much here, but certainly that is not all there is to good poetry. I think these lines have no natural meter – the words sound like prose statements dressed up as a poem. That is my first objection. Secondly, there really are no word pictures here, good poetry conveys much by imagery and turns of phrases. See some of Christina Rosetti’s pieces, for example. This one seems to simply make straightforward theological statements. Fine as far as they go, but not poetical.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  8. I don’t mind theological statements set to music. :) Yesterday, we were thankful to have a song to share with our church family that reflected our hearts, after giving them the news of an unexpected, at-risk pregnancy. God only knows if the baby will go to term or not, but we “trust His wisdom and mercy.” Our focus is squarely set on “glorious joys to come.” The song is beautiful, Pastor Anderson, and was a blessing to our church yesterday. Thank you for sharing it with us initially.

  9. Not to pick a scab, but…

    We’re singing this as our hymn of the month, and I totally disagree with the idea that it lacks symbolism and artistry.

    Verse 1’s description of God’s “radiant splendor and beauty” couldn’t be more vivid. And the way Paul deals with that glory not only shining above, but shining in the Savior’s face (2 Cor 4) is stunning.

    Verse 2’s focus on how joy in the Lord sustains us in suffering and trials—as it did Christ—is moving and motivating.

    But verse 3 climaxes, showing how joy in the Lord (produced by the indwelling Spirit) “arms” us against sin is stunning. And despite even death, greater glory and joy await us. “All pow’rs of hell will bend the knee before my great King of glory!”

    And notice the progress: “O God, my joy…Sustained by joy…Compelled by joy.”

    Again, I think it’s exquisite. I wish I’d written it.

  10. I find this song absolutely beautiful and it has ministered to my soul many times already. It has helped to turn my gaze heavenward when trials have felt they would crush me. O God, my joy! Thank you so much for posting the words.

  11. I can’t believe the negative feedback on this song here. Great work Paul, thank you. I have been blessed by your work.

  12. […] our Savior is Paul Keew. He has a burden and gift for writing new hymns (like one of my favorites, O God, My Joy), which he posts as his website, Watchsong. He explains why in the following video, which hits some […]

  13. where can i find a free sheet music of this song? :)

  14. Great song! Thanks so much, Paul and Brian!

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