The Love of God is Greater Far
Author: Frederick M. Lehman (1917)
1 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 wand’ring child is reconciled
by God’s beloved Son.
The aching soul again made whole,
and priceless pardon won.
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
the saints’ and angels’ song.
2 When ancient time shall pass away,
and human thrones and kingdoms fall;
when those who here refuse to pray
on rocks and hills and mountains call;
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
all measureless and strong;
grace will resound the whole earth round—
the saints’ and angels’ song. [Refrain]
3 Could we with ink the ocean fill,
and were the skies of parchment made;
were ev’ry stalk on earth a quill,
and ev’ryone a scribe by trade;
to write the love of God above
would drain the ocean dry;
nor could the scroll contain the whole,
though stretched from sky to sky. [Refrain]
About Frederick M. Lehman
Frederick M. Lehman was a Pasadena, California businessman whose business suffered a drastic decline and he lost everything. He resorted to manual labor — packing oranges and lemons into wooden crates. Lehman was also a Christian who attended church and found joy in his salvation. A Sunday evening sermon on the love of God moved him deeply and the next morning, as he drove to work, words came to him for a song about God’s love.
After the day’s work, he returned home and sat at his piano. He began to put the words he had been contemplating to music. He quickly completed two stanzas, but by the standards of his day, three were needed. So he tried to find the words for a third but could think of none.
Then he remembered a poem on a bookmark he’d been given. The words were about God’s love and on the bottom of the card was information about their source.
“These words were found written on a cell wall in a prison some 200 years ago. It is not known why the prisoner was incarcerated; neither is it known if the words were original or if he had heard them somewhere and had decided to put them in a place where he could be reminded of the greatness of God’s love. Whatever the circumstances, he wrote them on the wall of his prison cell. In due time, he died and the men who had the job of repainting his cell were impressed by the words. Before their paint brushes had obliterated the words, one of the men jotted them down and thus they were preserved.”
The poem he read was:
“Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made; Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade: To write the love of God above, Would drain the ocean dry, Nor could the scroll contain the whole Though stretched from sky to sky.”
Lehman added the words to his song as the third stanza. They were a perfect fit with the melody and perfect for the third stanza.
Years later, a man named Alfred B. Smith found more information on the poem’s origin. It was written in Hebrew around the year 1000 by Meir Ben Issac Nehoria, a Jewish Rabbi. God preserved his words, and hundreds of years later, an imprisoned man translated the Rabbi’s words into English. Someone put the words on a bookmark, and someone gave that bookmark to Frederick Lehman, who included them in his beautiful song “The Love of God is Greater Far.” Thus, these words from 1000 AD have been preserved for you and me!
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