The Sands of Time Are Sinking

Biblical Authority Devotional: Hymns of Praise, Part 6

by Steve Fazekas on September 29, 2011

Steve Fazekas, AiG–U.S., focuses on a hymn that deals with how believers should face their final days by looking forward to being with Christ.

As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness. (Psalm 17:15)

The phrase “death-bed exercise” sounds exceedingly gloomy and rather funereal. However, quite the opposite is true. It was the hope and plan of many of our Christian forbears to give a strong, joyous testimony to family and friends as they crossed from this life into the next.
Such was the case of the 17th century Scottish preacher Samuel Rutherford. His last words included one of his final sermons based on the glorious text of Revelation 22:4. “They shall see His face and His name shall be on their foreheads.”

Over 200 years later, Scottish poet and writer Anne Ross Cousin compiled many of Rutherford’s thoughts and penned this great hymn. It is filled with breathtaking imagery, but more so, it is filled with Christ. In “The Sands of Time Are Sinking” we uncover the expressions of a dying saint. Yet there is no fear, trepidation, or alarm.

Samuel Rutherford, likened his life to an hour-glass, the sands of which were running out as he took his last breath here on earth. Yet, there was a reality which held him spellbound. His enraptured utterances were those of one who saw his eternal home not far away as faith gave way to sight. It was Immanuel’s land. Yet, outshining the glory of his heavenly dwelling is Immanuel Himself, “God with us.”

The sands of time are sinking, the dawn of heaven breaks;
The summer morn I’ve sighed for—the fair, sweet morn awakes.
Dark, dark hath been the midnight, but day-spring is at hand,
And glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.
O Christ, He is the fountain, the deep, sweet well of love!
The streams on earth I’ve tasted more deep I’ll drink above:
There to an ocean fulness His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.
O I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved’s mine!
He brings a poor vile sinner into His “house of wine.”
I stand upon His merit—I know no other stand,
Not e’en where glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.
The Bride eyes not her garment but her dear Bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory but on my King of grace,
Not at the crown He giveth but on His pierced hand:
The Lamb is all the glory of Immanuel’s land.

Today’s big idea: this life will fade, but we will one day see Christ face to face.

What to pray: ask God to help us serve Him while we are still in this life.


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