September 1: How Firm a Foundation
How Firm a Foundation was first published in 1787, as one of the hymns in a collection called Selection of Hymns, compiled by Dr. John Rippon, a pastor in London. In this publication, the song was called “Scripture Promises,” and the author simply listed as “K.” Most musicologists have come to believe that the song was written by Robert Keene, who was Rippon’s assistant when he was putting together the hymn collection.
Although I don’t know why Keene chose to publish his song anonymously, I wonder if the answer is found in the words originally printed above the first verse of the hymn: “Exceeding and precious promises.” These words are from 2 Peter 1:4 (KJV), and point us to God as the ultimate author. Each of the verses in “How Firm a Foundation” are direct references to promises in the Bible. As the song reminds us, what more can be said than what he has already said? The foundation of our faith is found in God’s excellent Word!
For reflection: How well do you know God’s promises? Are you continuing to learn from God’s Word, or are you relying on past knowledge or cultural understandings? Make a commitment to read your Bible this month. As you read, what promises or truths about God stand out to you?