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HYMN: NOW THANK WE ALL OUR GOD

In 1607, a German named Martin Reinkardht wrote “Now Thank We All Our God”, which has become one of the great hymns of praise. He was in Eilenburg, Saxony, during the Thirty Years’ War. The walled city of Eilenburg saw a steady stream of refugees pour through its gates. The Swedish army surrounded the city, and famine and plague were rampant. 800 homes were destroyed, and over 6000 people in his German village, including his wife and children, died of pestilence. There was a tremendous strain on the pastors who had to conduct dozens of funerals daily. Finally, the pastors, too, succumbed, and Reinkardht was the only one left—doing 50 funerals a day. When the Swedes demanded a huge ransom, Reinkardht left the safety of the walls to plead for mercy. The Swedish commander, impressed by his faith and courage, lowered his demands. Soon afterward, the Thirty Years’ War ended, and Reinkardht wrote this hymn for a grand celebration service. It is a testament to his faith that, after such misery, he was able to write one of the most lasting hymns of praise:

Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices

Who wondrous things has done, in whom His world rejoices

Who, from our mother’s arms has blest us on our way

With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given

The Son, and Him who reign with them in highest heaven

The one eternal God whom earth and heav’n adore

For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore."


Note the words of that last verse:

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;

The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven;

The one eternal God, whom earth and Heaven adore;

For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.


In the midst of his sorrow, Reinkardht must have been reading from Rev 4. He quoted directly from its words. Why? Why did he write such a hymn? He understood what Revelation is saying. The Lord is still on His throne. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

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