While this hymn was first popularized as an American patriotic anthem, the truths here apply to everyone. Whether our direct ancestors ever acknowledged they were created by God, our first ancestors did. And we survived the Flood because of their belief.
For those of us reading and singing this today, we have been given an extraordinary gift of living in a society free enough to allow us to publicly declare God’s praise. That must be true for any internet ministry, or the powers arrayed against the knowledge of God would have long since taken them down.
The order of verses in this hymn is significant. I always find reminding myself first of the overarching reality that everything in the universe exists and is sustained by Jesus’ power leads inevitably to greater worship. That Jesus died for me holds power and fills me with awe because he first designed the human body and then became one of us himself!
Throughout this hymn we find strong echoes of various passages of Scripture, from Genesis 1 to Psalm 16; the Lord’s Prayer to Revelation 22.