Category Archives: Attempts at poetry

The Time Is Fulfilled (Mark 1:15)

Long the world waited for him to come,
At last, at last, Anointed Son.
So hear the bold words and see the great deeds,
Teaching with power and meeting needs.

Is he your Lord? Did you answer his call?
If not, friend, you have nothing at all.
But if he is yours, and you are his,
Sing now the gladness of his bliss.



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Filed under Attempts at poetry, Bible and Theology, Jesus

Long Did I Long

I’m a day late for a Valentine’s Day post, but I have a great excuse! Last Wednesday my sweet wife heroically gave birth to our fourth child, first little girl. When I reflect on our years together and on the gift of marriage I am almost speechless.

Poetry is pitiful compared to the real thing, but I must try to communicate the shaza-ay-am-kind-of-feeling I have when I think of how I prayed and yearned for a help-meet suitable before I met the gift. How grateful I am that she walked out of that hospital hale and healthy with a perfect little baby girl.

Words fail, but they strain against the burden. Praise God for all this mercy.

Long Did I Long

Long did I long
To know you my love.
From youth did I seek thee,
Best gift from above.

And now that I have you,
And know you so fair,
A happier man can’t be found.


Filed under Attempts at poetry

Hasten the Day

Hasten the Day
Prepared for the conclusion of a sermon on Isaiah 40:1–11,  “Prepare the Way of the Lord,” preached at Kenwood Baptist Church on January 2, 2010.

The Lord will come, prepare the way;
The Christ is slain, hasten the day;
He rose again, so we can say
To all who hear: Prepare the way!

His glory shines; his arm will rule.
He will repay to every fool
Who won’t repent the deeds done cruel.
Come Lord Jesus, in wrath to rule.

Now see the Judge so tender grow,
And steadfast lovingkindness show,
To all who their own weakness know,
And therefore take his easy yoke.

Like heavens high above the earth,
His love toward those who know his worth.

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Filed under Attempts at poetry, Sermon Audio

“The Mystery of Marriage” from For the Fame of God’s Name

Praise God for marriage! What gift can be compared to this one? Who but God could have come up with something so good?

Crossway has kindly granted permission for me to post my essay from the Piper Festschrift:

James M. Hamilton Jr., “The Mystery of Marriage,” pages 253-71 in For the Fame of God’s Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper, ed. Sam Storms and Justin Taylor. Wheaton: Crossway, 2010.

Taken from For the Fame of God’s Name edited by Sam Storms and Justin Taylor, ©2010.  Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,

Here is the opening paragraph of “The Mystery of Marriage”:

Marriage holds a unique place in all the Bible: what else joins two image-bearers together as one, serves as a key concept for understanding the relationship between Yahweh and Israel then Christ and the church, and consequently affords to every married couple the opportunity to live out the gospel? God sets himself on display in marriage, which means that God shows his glory in marriage. Thus, the thesis of this essay is that marriage exists as a unique display of God’s glory.[1] In order to establish and exposit this thesis we will look first at the way that marriage joins two persons in the likeness of God as one. From there the second section explores the way that Yahweh’s relationship to Israel is treated as a marriage, and the third section of this essay will examine the way that marriage exists to portray the relationship between Christ and the church. The final section will look at marriages as mini-dramas of the gospel.[2]

[1] I am humbled to have this opportunity to honor John Piper. The Lord has used him mightily in my life, mainly as I have listened to recorded sermons and addresses across the years. In this preaching, the Lord has used John Piper to herald again and again the infinite glory of God in Christ. I cannot adequately thank him for showing me such glory, but I can join him in praising this glorious God, this worthy Savior, and this powerful Spirit, three persons, ever one God, worthy of all praise. And praise be to God for John Piper! I am also grateful to write on the topic of marriage in honor of Piper, since his chapter on marriage in Desiring God provided a key insight I have pursued in my own marriage and announced at every wedding at which it has been my privilege to speak: love seeks its joy in the joy of the beloved. “The reason there is so much misery in marriage is not that husbands and wives seek their own pleasure, but that they do not seek it in the pleasure of their spouses” (John Piper, Desiring God [Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 1996], 175–76). See also John Piper, This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence (Wheaton: Crossway, 2009).

[2] For a wider discussion of marriage in the Old Testament, see Paul R. House, Old Testament Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1998), 466–69. For a broader discussion of marriage that takes up the issues of divorce, qualifications for elders, and children, see Thomas R. Schreiner, New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008), 776–86.

From there the outline of the essay is as follows:

Adam and Eve: Two Become One

Yahweh and Israel: Covenant Broken and Kept

Hosea 1: Hosea and Gomer
Hosea 2: Israel’s History and Future
Hosea 3: Hosea and Israel’s Future

Jesus and the Church: Marriage and the Gospel

The Fulfillment of Old Testament Expectation
The Deep Waters of the Meaning of Marriage

The Gospel and Marriage


The essay’s end is punctuated by an attempt at poetry:


Like land and sea and stars above
And all else he has made,
This too is for the glory of
The one who has displayed

A love not based on beauty’s shades
Nor driven by some debt,
A love before there were yet days
Like none else ever met.

The archetype for man and wife
Is Christ’s love for his bride.
To Christ her Lord the church submits,
And for her life he died.

And for this reason, man should leave
His parents and his kin,
And to his wife then he shall cleave
Never to leave again.

Please do read the whole thing. This essay was written for a volume honoring John Piper, and my prayer is also that it will serve to strengthen the marriages of those who read it.

May your understanding of the gospel be deepened, and may it be displayed in the way you love your spouse and hold marriage in honor (Heb 13:5, even if you aren’t married).

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Filed under Attempts at poetry, Bible and Theology, Biblical Theology, Books, Gospel, Marriage, OT in the NT

On Re-Reading Homer’s Iliad

Homer’s noble high-born lords
Think mainly of themselves,
Lasting words and shining swords,
Through flesh and soul they delve.

Yet the highest truths we have
He does not seem to know:
For sinful guilt he gives no salve;
No peace with God does show.

Reading him, one must ask why
There’s good in his wide world,
In lust and shame his gods still lie,
Their vain desires unfurled.

Not even Zeus, in all his pride,
From destiny is free,
Decreed fate he can’t outstride
To govern what will be.

No hope in Priam’s city now
Across the wine-dark sea,
Nor can the black ships show somehow
A way of life to thee.

Tragic ruin, futile rage,
The melody he sings,
A song now sung from age to age,
Still the high beauty rings.

For though he lacked the highest truth
This world his blind eyes saw,
And what he saw his tongue unloosed,
Thrilling the heart with awe.


Filed under Art, Attempts at poetry, Books, Literature

About This Time Thirteen Years Ago

It is 11am, September 17, 2010. About this time thirteen years ago, September 17, 1997, I was sitting in the dining hall on the campus of Dallas Theological Seminary, having lunch with my good friend Denny Burk. Up walked a young lady who began to converse with Denny, and my life was changed forever for the better.

I was soon–and remain–head over heels in love with that young lady, Jillian Ashley Harding. Just ten months later, July 25, 1998, her name would change (praise God!) to Jillian Ashley Hamilton. I am more privileged than I can feel or capture in words to have written the preceding sentences, to have them be true. I can only bless God for his mercy.

These Thirteen Years

These thirteen years I’ve known you now,
Have been my best by far.
I wish my words could show you how,
But O how weak words are.

Like roots in soil as days go by,
Our love has deeper grown.
To wake with you here at my side–
More joy I’ve never known.

Your smile, your laugh, your fiery zest,
So splendid in your ways,
That you are mine so swells my chest,
And I can only praise

The one from whom all blessings flow,
Giver of all good gifts,
Whose love our own does seek to show–
Your giving his praise lifts.


Filed under Attempts at poetry, Current Events, Marriage, Women Ministry and the Gospel

“Merciful to Me” from Reformed Praise

I’ve noted before that I think Eric Schumacher is one of the best poets at work on the craft in this generation. He writes to help the people of God praise the name of God, celebrating God’s saving mercy in Christ by the power of the Spirit.

Eric writes of the new album from Reformed Praise, “Merciful to Me“:

“As many of you know, I collaborate in song-writing with David Ward (and others) through the ministry of Reformed Praise.

This month we released our latest album, Merciful to Me. It was co-produced by David Ward and Steve Cook (of Sovereign Grace Music). It contains the vocals of Devon Kauflin, Shannon Harris, Jake Armerding, Lucia Newell, and others, as well as a host of great instrumentalists from around the country. The 13 tracks are an eclectic mix of styles, including bluegrass, pop, classic jazz, driving rock, and orchestral arrangements.”

On the album’s webpage, you can read about the project and sample the songs, which are described as follows:

1. Merciful to Me – A guitar-driven ballad featuring ac. guitar, piano (very light), kit on brushes, some percussion, soprano sax, and fretless bass
2. There Is No Greater Portrait – A piano and orchestra driven arrangement by Bob Parsons
3. Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken – A guitar-driven ballad with kit on brushes, piano, fiddle
4. O Jesus – Energetic pop arrangement with a drum loop and tasty electric guitars
5. O God the Holy Spirit – Another piano and orchestra driven arrangement by Bob Parsons
6. So I Will Come – A guitar driven ballad featuring Shannon Harris on vocals with acoustic bass, piano, and a string trio
7. Jesus, 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 Is Certain – A pseudo-Celtic flavor: live guitr, djembe, acoustic bass, and vocals with added mandolin and Irish whistle
10. There Is No Sin that I Have Done – A very sparse, guitar driven ballad with upright bass and pedal steel guitar
11. O Weary Saint – Another sparse setting, piano-driven with Irish flute and cello
12. Begone, Unbelief – A foot-stompin’ bluegrass setting with live guitar, vocal, drums, and upright bass with added dobro, mandolin, and fiddle
13. Majestic Sweetness – A classic jazz ballad arrangement inspired by Bill Evans’ work on the Miles Davis “Kind of Blue”

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Filed under Art, Attempts at poetry, Bible and Theology, Music, Worship

The LORD Our Righteousness

“In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness'” (Jeremiah 23:6, ESV)
The capitalized LORD renders the divine name, Yahweh, which in olden time was often rendered “Jehovah.” The word “righteousness” in Hebrew can be transliterated (i.e., put in English letters) like this: tsidkenu.

Now we’re ready to consider Robert Murray McCheyne’s poem “Jehovah Tsidkenu”

I once was a stranger to grace and to God,
I knew not my danger; and felt not my load;
Though friends spoke in rapture of Christ on the tree,
Jehovah Tsidkenu was nothing to me.

I oft read with pleasure, to soothe or engage,
Isaiah’s wild measure and John’s simple page;
But even when they pictured the blood-sprinkled tree,
Jehovah Tsidkenu seemed nothing to me.

Like tears from the daughters of Zion that roll,
I wept when the waters went over His soul,
Yet thought not that my sins had nailed to the tree
Jehovah Tsidkenu—’twas nothing to me.

When free grace awoke me by light from on high,
Then legal fears shook me, I trembled to die;
No refuge, no safety in self could I see—
Jehovah Tsidkenu my Saviour must be.

My terrors all vanished before the sweet name;
My guilty fear banished, with boldness I came
To drink at the fountain, life-giving and free—
Jehovah Tsidkenu is all things to me.

Jehovah Tsidkenu! My treasure and boast,
Jehovah Tsidkenu! I ne’er can be lost;
In Thee shall I conquer by flood and by field—
My cable, my anchor, my breastplate and shield!

Even treading the valley; the shadow of death,
This watchword shall rally my faltering breath;
For while from life’s fever my God sets me free,
Jehovah Tsidkenu my death-song shall be.

HT: Phil Johnson

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Filed under Art, Attempts at poetry, Bible and Theology

Happy Birthday, Sweet Wife!

God’s best gift to me (excepting salvation) was born on this day. What a gift! Mere words could never communicate my gratitude and joy at being married to this woman. Thanks be to God, and thanks be to Jillian Ashley Hamilton for marrying me.


On this day I think of the little book put together by Michael A. G. Haykin withVictoria J. Haykin, The Christian Lover: The Sweetness of Love and Marriage in the Letters of Believers. When Dr. Haykin so kindly gave me a copy of this book, I was surprised by what I found. I expected the kind of romantic expressions one finds in poems like Byron’s “She Walks in Beauty” or in the culture at large–glorifying the beauty of the beloved or professing (idolatrous?) devotion to another human . . . To my surprise, this book is full of Christian lovers praising God and spurring one another on to love and good deeds. In The Christian Lover one sees that human love is most fitly expressed by those devoted to Christ and his kingdom.

I commend this book to you, and in its spirit I attempt a literary tribute to my sweet wife. This effort seeks to turn Byron’s “She Walks in Beauty” from a focus on superficial beauty to that which is true and lasting.

This adaptation of “She Walks in Beauty” is for my sweet Jill on her birthday.

She walks in beauty, like the Christ
Of servant love and laid down life;
And all her own is sacrificed
For those she loves, O noble wife!
With others’ joy she is sufficed
And so with peace and hope is rife.
The children know her love for them,
And deep is their security;
Her husband knows her love for him
How blessed am I, that I am he!
In season she does bear and blossom,
By water streams, a God-planted tree.

Thus wizened by the Lord’s own ways,
The shallows she does all deny,
And I will sing for all my days,
And glory, laud, and honor cry –
To God I give my thanks and praise,
For she is mine and hers am I.

June 16, 2010
Happy Birthday, sweet Jill

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Filed under Attempts at poetry, Current Events, Gospel, Marriage

N. D. Wilson on Writing

Prediction: N. D. Wilson’s Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl is this generation’s Mere Christianity (C. S. Lewis) and the one before that’s Orthodoxy (G. K. Chesterton). Only those books may not deserve to be classed with this one. It’s that good. So do I think you should get it and read it? Definitely. Here’s a trailer for the book:

Wilson’s  own description of it is much better than any I might attempt, and check out this interesting FAQ he did on the book.

I also found a series of posts Wilson did on writing and devoured every word. Want help with your preaching, writing of essays or books, or attempts to describe things to others? Help yourself to these thoughts–they’re free, and they’ll probably convince you to buy his books. You’ll definitely want them if you’re trying to write a novel:

So You Wanna Be a Writer, Pt. 1 (Don’ts)

So You Wanna Be a Writer, Pt. 2 (For the Critics, These Pearls . . .)

So You Wanna Be a Writer, Pt. 3 (Prose for Body and Brain)

So You Wanna Be a Writer, Pt. 4 (An Exercise)

So You Wanna Be a Writer, Pt. 5 (Found Dialog)

So You Wanna Be a Writer, Pt. 6 (The Obstacle Course)

So You Wanna Be a Writer, Pt. 7 (Confidence and Betrayal)


Filed under Art, Attempts at poetry, Books

This the Book

When the ESV Study Bible came out, all the members of my immediate family received copies as their Christmas gift that year. I wrote this to give them with their new Bible. I read it as the conclusion of a recent sermon at Kenwood. What a blessing to have the Bible!

This the Book

This the book that tells the story
Of the Lord and all his glory
The world’s Creator, strong and free
Ever One, ever Three

He made the world and made it good
His image placed in Eden’s wood
Rebellion there wrought sin and death
Loss of life, end of breath

But when the Lord there cursed the snake
A solemn promise he did make
The woman’s seed would crush his head
On evil he would tread

From Eden then there was exile
Because God’s presence they defiled
And in the story of this book
We read of all it took

To raise man up and set him free
In God’s presence again to be
God’s mercy here is on display
And so to you I say

Behold the book of hope and life
It sings of Christ and how through strife
He did indeed on evil tread
Dying, he crushed Satan’s head

Then rose again to justify
All those who on him do rely
For he alone this work can do
He alone can save you

And so this book to you I give
Hoping and praying you will live
By faith in promises made here
Trust replacing all your fear

So take this book, my friend, and read
Its pages will meet every need
And we will sing the praise of Christ
Who by his death gives life

November 15, 2008


Filed under Attempts at poetry

My Tweet Was Too Long, So

Gospel Haiku

Pure God, sinful man.
Jesus took the penalty.
Trust him or face wrath.


Filed under Attempts at poetry, Gospel

Twittering the Gospel

Greg Gilbert has started a contest to see who twitters the best gospel. Since there is no better gospel, maybe I should say “to see who twitters the gospel best”!

I don’t tweet, so I don’t know how it works. If they count the spaces, I’m over the limit. If the spaces aren’t counted, I come in at 139 characters. Here’s my attempt:

God is holy Sin is ugly
Jesus did everything right

God sent Jesus Jesus loves me
Tho’ I was vile in his sight

He bore the cross he paid the price
You must trust him to be right

I bet someone could do a Haiku that’s even shorter. Maybe I’ll give that a try. . .

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Filed under Attempts at poetry, Gospel

“Arise, O Star” at Songs of Southern Friday Night

Last summer I posted the lyrics to “Arise, O Star,” which is my attempt to put the Messiah in the Old Testament to music.

This spring there was an invitation here at SBTS for folks to submit songs they had written, so I turned this one in along with another (an attempt to put the ESV text of Psalm 67 to music, more on that later). Anyway, this Friday night some of the songs submitted, including “Arise, O Star,” will be sung in Dillard Chapel. Here are the details:

The School of Church Music and Worship School Council and the Hymn Society are sponsoring a worship service presenting new songs and hymns written by members of the Southern Seminary community.  The service will held in Dillard Chapel on Friday, April 17th at 7:30 pm.  Everyone is welcome to attend.

If you’re in the Louisville area, it would be great to see you at this event Friday night.

Thanks to the valiant efforts of Chris Fenner, a “lead sheet” replete with musical notations and guitar chords now exists for “Arise, O Star.” If you are interested, you can download that here. You have my permission to sing this anytime you like with anyone who will join you.


Filed under Attempts at poetry, Bible and Theology, Biblical Theology, Messiah in the OT, OT in the NT, Spiritual Discipline

The Messiah in the Old Testament: A Rap

As promised, in the last day of my class on the Messiah in the Old Testament, I delivered this rap that I wrote as I was preparing for the forum on Christ in the OT that was held earlier this semester here at SBTS. I think one of the students got the audio, so if it becomes available to me, I’ll link it here.


The Messiah in the Old Testament in Seven Minutes

One of my brother’s room-mates left some clothes that somehow I inherited. My brother makes fun of me for wearing some of the shorts because they are of the FUBU brand—FUBU means “For Us By Us,” and my brother tells me I’m not included in either of those references to “us.”

So with apologies to those who do belong in the “us” of “For Us By Us,” inspired by Jim Orrick’s Philosophy rap, here is my tribute to The Messiah in the Old Testament (imitation is the highest form of compliment).


God promised a seed, who would crush the serpent’s head
Adam and Eve hoped in what God said
This can be seen from the naming of the wife
Whereas death was promised, the promised seed means life

What Eve said when Cain and Seth were born
Shows she thought that the seed had been born
The line is traced to Noah, through ten generations
And at his birth his dad thinks its time for vacations

For the land had been cursed because of Adam’s sin
The toil was painful since the loss of Eden
But at the birth of Noah, Lamech hopes for relief
Return to Eden would mean the end of grief

After the flood another geneology
Takes us down to Abram on the family tree
In the blessing of Abram, God did promise
That by this man’s seed he would overcome the curse

So kings will come from Abram, and his seed take the land
The ruler’s staff will never leave Judah’s hand
At the Exodus from Egypt the nation is God’s son
We see a tension ‘tween the many and the one

On the way to the land, Balaam tried to curse
But all he did was bless, verse after verse
Out of Jacob he beheld, but as from afar
Seen but not now, the rising star

A scepter too, like the one that won’t leave Judah
The skull crushing seed of the woman, Yeshua
And then Moses promised, a prophet like himself
Who would match the pattern seen in Moses himself

Rejected by the people, afflicted and opposed
Feeds the hungry with the manna, heaven knows
That the one like Moses leads a new Exodus
From our sins, he will deliver us

Jesus said, “These testify of me”
You search the law, in it you should see
That though Moses left Egypt in haste and stealth
The reproach of Christ was better than its wealth

As the years go on, the people need a king
Who will keep the law and God’s praises sing
David was raised up by the Lord
And to him God did give his word

That his seed would sit forever on the throne
All the ends of the earth he would own
Serpents head crushed, enemies defeated
God’s son on the throne in Zion will be seated

Seed of the woman, seed of Abraham
Seed of Judah, possessor of the land
Crusher of the serpent, savior of the sheep
If you are his enemy you will weep

But David was a sinner, and so were his sons
So the nation’s sad story to exile runs
But on the way the prophets, called for repentance
Pointing to a day, when there would be a difference

For a shoot would arise from the stock of Jesse’s roots
To reign in righteousness and bear good fruits
Justice and peace in the power of the Spirit
And the lamb will lie down with the wolf and not fear it

In this new Eden the child will play
By the serpent’s hole and the lion eat hay
When the new David reigns in the restored land
God will pour out the Spirit on woman and man

And with his people make a new covenant
And they will understand what is meant
With the law on their hearts and their sins forgiven
Never again into exile driven

Much in the Book says the King will conquer
But the strain is also strong that says he will suffer
On behalf of his people, their sins he will bear
Like a lamb to the slaughter while the nations stare

As the one who stands next to the Lord,
The Shepherd, is struck by the wakened sword
And all the sheep flee, scattered on the hills,
While the nations rage, and the cup of wrath spills

Fulfilling all the types and prophecies
The King becomes the curse and dies on the tree
All this was hidden, as in a mystery,
Which God made known to Apostles, you see?

I could go on and on, so much I haven’t mentioned
Melchizedek hasn’t gotten any attention
Nor has his status as both king and priest
Which Jesus took up, never to cease

Interceding for his people as their covenant Lord
On the throne of David to fulfill the word
As the seed of the woman and of his father David
When God makes a promise you know he will keep it

So if you want to know what Jesus said
On the road to Emmaus from the law and prophets
Beginning from Moses, in all that was written
Opening their minds, explaining what was hidden

Look to the writings of the New Testament
Where the men taught by Jesus tell us what he meant
They show us how to read the OT
And Jesus sent the Spirit to help you and me

So spread the good news that the battle is won
The curse is reversed, the new age begun
We long for the day when he returns
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come, Lord, come.”


Filed under Attempts at poetry, Bible and Theology, Messiah in the OT

Prayer for the Young, Restless, Reformed

Lord willing, our family will travel from Houston to Louisville at the end of next week, departing Houston on August 1. We are headed to what some have called “Camelot,” which I think captures the spirit of the place (even if I don’t agree with what those who called it that meant–they were partial to the pre-1993 era at SBTS, and they said something like, “once there was a Camelot” [google that if you want to see what I mean]).

So this morning I finally got around to Collin Hansen’s chapter about Southern Seminary in his book, Young, Restless, Reformed. It’s a fascinating chapter. Anyone interested in where things are in the SBC should read it. Hansen doesn’t call it Camelot, he calls it “Ground Zero.” I’ll let you read the chapter to find out why.

One thing that stands out to me about those of us who hope to be a part of a rising generation that is more biblical and less pragmatic, more thelogical and less programmed. That one thing is that we desperately need to feel and walk in the humility and love that should accompany our theology. In this regard I appreciate D. A. Carson’s words on the back cover of Hansen’s book, words that inform the prayer that ends this post. Carson writes, “It is time for quiet gratitude to God and earnest intercessory prayer that what has begun well will flourish beyond all human expectation.”

Amen. Quiet gratitude. Earnest prayer. And, as one elderly SBC pastor whose name I do not know once said to me: “preach the word and love the people; love the people and preach the word.”

As we prepare to leave Houston, I am unspeakably encouraged at the young men who will continue in the work here, young men whom it has been my privilege to know and serve, young men who are now pastoring churches. There are some older men, too, who have been at the school, and whose enthusiasm for the Bible and its teaching has been a joy to see. I’m encouraged by these guys who are shepherding flocks in the power of God’s word and prayer, men whose names are known to God, even if they are not known to the conferences, blogs, and publishing houses.

For these men, and for those whom we go to serve at SBTS, this prayer is offered. We want to see God work in power as we preach his word and rely on his Spirit to move. We long to see the fruit that cannot be credited to human power, so we want to rely on God’s word and Spirit so that he gets the glory instead of the glory going to cool buildings, billboards, and the same marketing techniques that sell coca cola and Starbucks. May our humble confidence in the sovereign God yield him the glory due his name:

These Students, Lord, are yours to bless.
Make them mighty warriors;
For our own frailty, we confess,
That all glory may be yours

Come, we pray, and in our weakness,
Set forth Thine awesome power.
You are our God. In you we rest.
Your name is our strong tower.

We come to you through Christ our Lord,
Who ever lives and reigns
With Thee and the Holy Spirit.
One nature, three persons, Lord.

Thine be the glory forever,
World without end, Amen.


Filed under Attempts at poetry, Books, Reformation and Revival

The Warrior

I’ve posted on Dr. John Hannah before. He had a profound influence on my while I was at DTS. Now that I’ve figured out how to do single spacing (shift then enter), I’m posting this poem that was inspired by his teaching.

The Warrior

Inspired by Distinguished Professor
Reverend Doctor John D. Hannah

Proud generals do plot and plan
Deployments and stratagems,
But wise men know that wars depend
Not upon the diagrams.
No, battles shift when in the fray
Stalwart strong the men do stay.

When all seems lost and death most sure,
When sheer fear retreat would cure,
There and then momentum is turned
When the dreadful lie is spurned:
That there’s no cause worth more than life;
And bold men stand and face the scythe.

A name is given to such men,
It means more than “soldier” can,
We dub the resolute and pure
With the firm title, “Warrior.”
The warrior knows love and truth,
And he will die for their worth.

Like a warrior my teacher stands;
With the Sword his post he mans.
Proud generals do come and go;
Fighting men are more than show.
And when their clever tricks won’t do
Men fit for the task are few.

There’s nothing new that’s needed here,
Call forth courage, drive out fear,
Wave the banner, and bang the drum,
With loud hurrahs let them come
And they will meet a reckless charge
Of the wise whose hearts are large.

Aye, large, and filled with holy dread
—all other fears by it dead—
Of God so great and pure and true
Gracious, loving, and just too;
Indeed, courage that comes from fear
Is just the thing that’s needed here.

Where? Where? Pray-tell can this be found?
You won’t find it gazing round
At nifty tricks and strategies,
Nor in the new psychologies.
What drum to bang, what flag to wave
To swell hearts bold and make them brave?

Just hear the warrior-teacher’s charge;
Feel what makes your own heart large.
Hear him speak of the Lord most high,
Find that you don’t fear to die,
For such a God and such a Name
Gladly you’ll be put to shame.

Yes hear the warrior prophet preach;
Depths of soul his words do reach.
Hands on hips and his head held high,
Love to Christ beams in his eyes,
As valiantly he speaks again
Of the great offense of sin

Which God so hates that evermore
Wrath ‘gainst it He has in store.
This wrath does vindicate His name,
Shows His worth and spreads His fame.
While many think that sin is slight
God loathes it with all His might.

To spurn the Lord is no small thing—
That’s the song my teacher sings.
And in the music’s melody
If you listen you will see
The worth of Christ made clear and plain,
For His death takes all sin’s claim

And makes it null and sets us free
Righteous now in Him to be.
The banner’s waving in the strife;
Here is truth worth more than life.
So let us join the warrior’s song,
Voices loud, clear, and long

Will raise anew the Gospel’s tones,
Its truth like fire in the bones.
Hear now the warrior teacher’s word,
“None love I more than the Lord,
For He loved me when loved me none
And my life bought with His Son.

My debt all paid, His wrath all spent
—meant for me, to Christ it went—
Here by His grace I’ll stand and fight,
Christ to serve with all my might.
And I will wait for that Great Day
When knees will bow and tongues say,

‘Praise and glory to God most high!’
O Lord Jesus, draw Thou nigh.”

James Merrill Hamilton Jr.
December 25, 2000


Filed under Attempts at poetry, For God's Glory in Christ by the Spirit, Gospel

Arise, O Star

[I wrote this some time back, and we have sung it a number of times at Redeemer. I’m only posting it now because I’ve only now figured out how to make things single spaced on the blog–press shift then enter.]

Arise, O Star

Verse 1
Seed of the woman
Promised long ago
Sworn to crush the serpent’s head
That to Eden we might go

All nations will be blessed
In the seed of Abraham
And the scepter is to Judah
The land belongs to him


Arise, O Star
Jacob longs for you
Keep your word, Lord
Your promises all true

Your people wait
For that Day when you will come
Take your power and reign
Heaven’s highest Son

Verse 2
The branch will come from Jesse
Great David’s greater Son
As a Son to God comes He
To the throne in Zion

The prophet like Moses
Priest like Melchizedek
Anointed with the Spirit
Messiah, he shall reign

to chorus

Verse 3
So the Man of Sorrows came
Acquainted with his grief
Smitten for our sins
Raised to set us free

And he shall come again
With all his holy ones
For that day we watch
Come soon, Lord Jesus

to chorus

James Merrill Hamilton Jr.
March 31, 2006


Here are the biblical texts that give rise to these lyrics:

Continue reading


Filed under Attempts at poetry, Bible and Theology, Messiah in the OT, OT in the NT, Worship