Thomas Haweis’s inspiration for this hymn is the last chapter of the book of Nehemiah. The people of God did not know they were forbidden to bring Ammonites and Moabites into the congregation. Their worship-leader Eliashib had even prepared a room in the court of God’s house to make it more comfortable for the Ammonite Tobiah, to whom he was related by marriage. The spiritual food intended for the Levites was not delivered.
Making the church a mission-field has predictable results. Unbelievers become the priority. Believers starve like the Levites of Nehemiah’s time. They are forced to go outside the church to find sustenance for themselves and their families.
Opening the church doors to unbelieving Ammonites and Moabites means intermarriage with them. Your grandchildren will speak half in the language of God, and half in the language of pagan unbelief (Nehemiah 13.23-24). This is not saving faith. People who believe in this way will be lost.
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Cross and comfort
In the midst of a dark time, Nehemiah holds to God’s revealed truth. He does not go along, but speaks up and does what is necessary to uphold the honor of God’s name, the sanctity of his worship, and the spiritual safety of the next generation.
This song is a prayer to the good God of Nehemiah, that in the midst of all the difficulties of this life, he might remember us.
Dear Lord from whom all goodness flows, love your church. Separate out the goats from your sheep. Mark those goats with day-glo colors. Forgive us our desire to ‘go along to get along’. Raise up Nehemiahs for us today. Grant us his passion. Let us not be ashamed, but prepare us to rejoice as partakers of your great wedding feast of the lamb. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
“0 Thou from Whom All Goodness Flows” by Thomas Haweis, 1732-1820
0 Thou from whom all goodness flows, I lift my heart to Thee; In all my sorrows, conflicts, woes, Dear Lord, remember me.
When on my poor and burdened heart My sins lie heavily, Thy pardon speak, new peace impart; Dear Lord, remember me.
When trials sore obstruct my way And ills I cannot flee, Oh, let my strength be as my day; Lord, remember me.
If worn with pain, disease, or grief This feeble body be: Grant patience, rest, and kind relief; Dear Lord, remember me.
When in the solemn hour of death I wait Thy just decree, Be this the prayer of my last breath: Dear Lord, remember me.
And when before Thy throne I stand And lift my soul to Thee, Then with the saints at Thy right hand, Dear Lord, remember me.
Hymn #515 The Lutheran Hymnal Text: Neh. 13:31 Author: Thomas Haweis, c. 1791, alt., ab. Tune: “St. Bernard” 1st Published in: Tochter Zion Town: Cologne, 1741