The River

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Description

God uses the raw power and life-sustaining abilities of rivers for several key metaphors throughout the Bible. Even from the very beginning of the Bible, in the account of creation, we see God setting Adam and Even in a garden that is fed and surrounded by four rivers. When man sinned and was banished from the garden, his access to these rivers and the precious tree of life fed by them was cut off. Psalm 36:8 compares experiencing the joys of a restored relationship with God to drinking our fill from a river – one with an inexhaustible supply. A river is also used as a picture for the extent and pollution of our sin. When God turned the Nile River to blood, fish and vegetation died because the water would no longer support life. This is a picture of what sin does – it pollutes, corrupts, and brings death. But even though sin flows from all of our hearts like a mighty river, the river of grace that God poured out in Jesus' blood is able to overwhelm it. The promise at the end of the book of revelation stands as a strong encouragement for all those who put their hope in Jesus: " Then [the angel] showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him."

Lyrics

Beneath the feet of man I find
A stream of filth and sin
That springs from ev'ry heart and mind
From fountains deep within.
Oh, who can know its true expanse
When hearts remain unseen?
What tide can stem its dark advance,
What pow'r can make it clean?

But from the sacred throne of God
I see a river rise;
The streams are peace and pard'ning blood
Descending from the skies.
Angelic minds can ne'er explore
This deep, unfathomed sea;
'Tis void of bottom, brim, or shore,
And lost in deity.

Chorus:
I stand amazed to see
This river rising
That carries down to me
Your grace surprising–
That sacred flood from Jesus' veins,
It washes all my guilty stains.

Free to the sinner dead to God
Who sought the road to hell,
That trampled on the Savior's blood
On whom his sentence fell.
But at the river's source I see
The Lamb upon His throne;
For those who slew Him now He pleads
And calls them as His own.

Bridge:
Sov'reign grace and man's free will
Shall not divide the throne;
For man's a fallen sinner still
And Christ shall reign alone!

Words by John Kent (1766-1843) & David L. Ward. Music by David Ward.
© 2010 ThousandTongues.org, admin by Thousand Tongues

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Comments

[...] Lover of My Soul - A Dave Matthews inspired setting with layered acoustic guitars and saxes 8. The River - A driving rock arrangement led by acoustic guitar, then handed off to an electric guitar 9. Glory [...]
[...] Lover of My Soul - A Dave Matthews inspired setting with layered acoustic guitars and saxes 8. The River - A driving rock arrangement led by acoustic guitar, then handed off to an electric guitar 9. Glory [...]
» Merciful to Me | Reformed Praise on September 3rd, 2010

Great lyrics and tune, thank you. Not sure on the meaning of the bridge, but the rest in great.
» Darren Middleton on September 14th, 2010

I've had several questions about the bridge. The bridge was only slightly modified from the original hymn by changing the first word from triumphant to sovereign to make it easier to sing. This is the original verse: "Triumphant grace and man’s free will shall not divide the throne; for man’s a fallen sinner still and Christ shall reign alone!"

I think the original author is saying that if man's salvation can be attributed, in any part, to his own ability to choose Jesus, then the one worthy of praise for all eternity would be both Jesus and man; God's throne, the place where he is seated in majesty and worshiped, would be divided. Since God's grace triumphs over the will of man (according to the Reformed understanding of Scripture) salvation begins and ends with God alone, and Jesus alone will be exalted as the savior of mankind.
» David Ward on September 14th, 2010