Desire To Be Nearer To God

November 11, 2021


“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The LORD watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.” – Psalm 145:18-21

Sarah Flower Adams was born on February 22nd, 1805 in Sussex. She was the youngest of two, with her older sister being the composer, Eliza Flower. Sarah was an English poet and she is renowned for her writings during the mid-nineteenth century. Sarah wrote several hymns, the most famous is the mesmerizing “Nearer, My God, To Thee” which she wrote in 1840. It is renowned because it is the alleged last song the band played on the RMS Titanic before the ship sank. Sarah wrote the verse and her sister Eliza set it to music.

This hymn retells the story of Jacob’s dream, from Genesis 28.

It is about the joy and comfort found in being close to God. The first stanza introduces the theme of the hymn, with the repeated phrase “Nearer, my God, to thee.” The second through fourth stanzas are based on the story of Jacob and the ladder to heaven, found in Genesis 28:10-22. God's close connection to Jacob in this story is seen as a way of relief from the darkness (stanza 2) and “stony griefs” (stanza 4) of his human journey. The last stanza looks forward to the time when we will come to stand before God in eternal praise.

Our heart’s desire should be nearer to Jesus. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that when we seek Him, He is near.

“Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me;

Still all my song shall be nearer, my God, to Thee,

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!” – Sarah Flower Adams

God’s Word: “When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” – Genesis 28:16-17