734

My Heart Is Firmly Fixed

Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

With slight modifications, Psalm 108 is made up of Psalm 57:7-11 (vv. 1-5) and Psalm 60:5-12 (vv. 6-13). Scholars are not sure what occasioned this new combination, but it may have risen out of the crisis of a new threat from foreign enemies. Through praise the psalmist expresses confidence in God (st. 1) and vows to praise the LORD among the nations for being faithful and merciful (st. 2). The psalmist proclaims God's glory above the heavens and over all the earth (st. 3), and then prays, "Save us and help us" (v. 6), O God, from the threat of our enemy (st. 4). Recalling God's commitments to parcel out the land of Canaan to the tribes of Israel (st. 5), the psalmist asks, Who will lead us in triumph if God has rejected us (st. 6)? Then comes this confession: Our only hope is God, and he will not fail us (st. 7). The versification is significantly altered from that in the 1912 Psalter.

 

Bert Polman, Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

The Canons of Dort V, 13 explain that our assurance of eternal security and perseverance cannot “produce immorality or lack of concern for godliness in those put back on their feet after a fall, but it produces a much greater concern to observe carefully the way which the Lord prepared in advance” and it is “an incentive to a serious and continuous practice of thanksgiving and good works...” (Canons of Dort V, 12) Therefore, this sub-section contains songs which express both the desire and the commitment of the believer to walk in obedience for holy living. Woven throughout these songs are expressions of fervent desire for holy living, a dedication to follow God’s will, a surrender of one’s will, and prayers for the Holy Spirit to continue his sanctifying work.

734

My Heart Is Firmly Fixed

Additional Prayers

Optional prayer of dedication
Lord God,
we receive with joy your lavish gifts to us:
forgiveness from sin,
adoption as your children,
your Word, a light on our path.
your Holy Spirit, our teacher and comforter.
[Add other phrases as appropriate]
With hearts overflowing with gratitude, we dedicate ourselves to you.
We long for our lives to be a song of praise to you, our gracious Lord.
Amen.
— Lift Up Your Hearts (http://www.liftupyourheartshymnal.org)

God of unending faithfulness, Jesus promised that if we ask we will receive.
Guard and guide us by your Holy Spirit, and fill our hearts with confident joy.
Help us to know that the struggles we face are not against flesh and blood,
but against the power of evil beyond this world,
and that it is you who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
— Psalms for All Seasons (http://www.psalmsforallseasons.org)

A Prayer of Praise and Thanksgiving
God of the nations, you bless the world through your people.  You elected Israel to be a blessing; you elect the church to be a blessing.  Always you are out to bless, to adorn, to pour out value upon value.  With praise and thanksgiving we raise our song to you in Jesus’ name.  Amen.  
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
734

My Heart Is Firmly Fixed

Tune Information

Name
ST. THOMAS
Key
F Major
Meter
6.6.8.6

Recordings

Musical Suggestion

Stanza 5 could be sung by a solo voice or an ensemble in order to set it off as God’s address to the congregation. A different voice might sing the difficult questioning text of st. 6, perhaps switching to the minor mode for this one stanza (F-minor, 4 flats). A short interlude could reestablish the major mode before the singing of st. 7.
— Psalms for All Seasons (http://www.psalmsforallseasons.org)
734

My Heart Is Firmly Fixed

Hymn Story/Background

With slight modifications, Psalm 108 is made up of Psalm 57:7-11 (vv. 1-5) and Psalm 60:5-12 (vv. 6-13). Scholars are not sure what occasioned this new combination, but it may have risen out of the crisis of a new threat from foreign enemies. Through praise the psalmist expresses confidence in God (st. 1) and vows to praise the LORD among the nations for being faithful and merciful (st. 2). The psalmist proclaims God's glory above the heavens and over all the earth (st. 3), and then prays, "Save us and help us" (v. 6), O God, from the threat of our enemy (st. 4). Recalling God's commitments to parcel out the land of Canaan to the tribes of Israel (st. 5), the psalmist asks, who will lead us in triumph if God has rejected us (st. 6)? Then comes this confession: Our only hope is God, and he will not fail us (st. 7). The versification is significantly altered from that in the 1912 Psalter.
 
ST. THOMAS is actually lines 5 through 8 of the sixteen-line tune HOLBORN, composed by Aaron Williams and published in his Collection (1763, 1765) as a setting for Charles Wesley's text "Soldiers of Christ, Arise." The harmonization is by Lowell Mason. Well-suited to part singing, ST. THOMAS must remain stately, with two broad beats per bar.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

The 1912 Psalter was the first ecumenical psalter published in the United States and the most widely used metrical psalter of the twentieth century in North America.  The United Presbyterian Church invited all other Reformed and Presbyterian denominations to join them in the effort to provide a new versifications of the psalms; six Presbyterian denominations, as well as the Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America joined in the effort in revising the 1887 Psalter (whose texts actually dated back to the 1871 Book of Psalms; the 1887 edition had added music to the texts.).  The 1912 Psalter included all the psalms in 413 settings, eight doxologies, and the three Lukan canticles (Song of Mary, Song of Zechariah, and Song of Simeon).
— Bert Polman and Jack Reiffer

Composer Information

Aaron Williams (b. London, England, 1731; d. London, 1776) was a singing teacher, music engraver, and clerk at the Scottish Church, London Wall. He published various church music collections, some intended for rural church choirs. Representative of his compilations are The Universal Psalmodist (1763)— published in the United States as The American Harmony (1769)—The Royal Harmony (1766), The New Universal Psalmodist (1770), and Psalmody in Miniature (1778). His Harmonia Coelestis (1775) included anthems by noted composers.
— Bert Polman

As a child Lowell Mason (b. Medfield, MA, 1792; d. Orange, NJ, 1872) learned to play every musical instrument available to him. He bought music books and attended a singing school when he was thirteen, and soon began teaching singing schools and directing a church choir. In 1812 he moved to Savannah, Georgia, where he helped to establish the firm Stebbins and Mason, which sold musical instruments in addition to dry goods. Mason also adapted, composed, and harmonized tunes for The Boston Handel and Haydn Society Collection of Church Music (1821). This collection was widely used and resulted in public demand for Mason to lead the music at singing schools, concerts, and Sunday school conventions. He moved to Boston in 1827 to become the music director in three churches; later he became the choir director of the Bowdoin Street Church. In 1833 Mason helped to found the Boston Academy of Music, which was instrumental in introducing music education to the Boston public schools in 1838. An advocate of Pestalozzi's educational principles (an inductive teaching method), Mason frequently lectured in England and the United States. A major force in musical education in the United States and in the promotion of European models of church music (as opposed to the southern folk-hymn tradition), Mason also encouraged the change from exclusive psalm singing to the singing of hymns in the churches. In association with Thomas Hastings, George Webb, and others, Mason compiled some eighty hymnals and collections, includ­ing The Juvenile Psalmist (1829), Spiritual Songs for Social Worship (1832), and, most importantly, Carmina Sacra (1841, revised 1852). Mason composed over eleven hun­dred original hymn tunes and arranged another five hundred, mainly from European sources. He derived most of his tune names from the Old Testament.
— Bert Polman
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