All Creatures Of Our God And King

I’m a little late to this game, but I’m catching on. “BOGO” means “buy one get one”. “2F4U” means “too fast for you”. “AFAIK” is “as far as I know”. These are among many modern acronyms which depart from normal language and serve as handy short cuts to speed up texting. IMHO some of us need help learning this new speed language, LOL! Do U agree?

Departing from normal language is NOT new. I wonder if you have heard of this other much-used and much older system of departing from normal language. It has been known and used for thousands of years, and many examples can be found in the Bible and other great literature. Most people know very little about it. But YOU can know about it! Please enjoy this song, then come back and we’ll decrypt an ancient code that will help us see more clearly how smart and wonderful God is. Hope to CU right back here!

I wasn’t expecting to hear from you

As a kid I watched comedy shows on our black & white TV. “Mister Ed” was about a talking horse that was quick with wise cracks. “My Mother The Car” was about a talking car that was quick with wise cracks. “Lassie” and “Flipper” were about a dog and a dolphin which, though not actually able to speak the king’s English, were so smart that they knew when evil lurked, and could be counted on to warn their humans with a perfectly phrased “Woof woof” or “Mree hee hee” that Uncle Carbuncle’s barn two miles up the road was about to burn down.

The Bible tells us about an historical, real life-and-death situation in which a prophet COULD have obeyed God, but who chose instead to partner with an enemy king and work AGAINST God’s people. (Always a bad plan!)

The prophet hopped on his ride — his trusty donkey — and headed off to the gig. God did NOT want the prophet to go. The Bible says the donkey tried to interrupt the plans by speaking out loud to the prophet!

What’s going on? On TV, we see a remarkably smart dog and dolphin and a wise-cracking horse and car, and, and immediately recognize it as entertaining fiction. Fantasy. Make believe.

In the Bible we see a record of God reaching out to one of His own people through the voice of a donkey literally. Since we know God’s ability, we recognize this talking donkey as a miracle — a phenomenon. God does not guarantee donkeys will talk to their master. Phenomena like this are up to God.

But here we have a song called “All Creatures Of Our God And King” which is telling the sun, moon, wind, clouds, morning, evening and other inanimate objects to speak up and praise God.

Is this song an example of fantasy, like a talking horse?
Is this song asking for a miracle, like a talking donkey?

No, there is another answer.

Figures of speech

In language arts, one way of adding emphasis is to depart from the rules of literal language and use colorful expressions known as FIGURES OF SPEECH.

A figure of speech is a designed and legitimate departure from the laws of language, and is always used to emphasize what is being said.

Personification is a figure of speech in which an idea or thing is given human attributes and/or feelings or is spoken of as if it were human. That’s the figure used so beautifully in this song.

“Hey, moon, sing praises to God!” The moon cannot literally sing. Humans sing. But how powerful, how memorable it is when we are asked to picture the moon singing praises to its creator!

You might know these other figures of speech that add color and emphasis by comparing things:

Simile compares using “like”:
“You work like a horse.”
Metaphor compares using “is (or are)”:
“When it comes to work, you are a horse.”
Hypocatastasis, the most powerful, just implies the comparison:
“Hey, horse, help me lift this.”

You could say a person is a good strong worker. How much more color and emphasis to say, “Horse!”

Another category of figures of speech uses unusual repetition. For example, a figure of speech called Polysyndeton (which means “many ands”) shows up in Genesis 1:
And the earth…
And God said…
And God saw…
And God called… etc.

When this “many ands” figure of speech is used, it emphasizes each and every item in the list.

A companion figure of speech, Asyndeton (which means “without ands”) omits “ands” where you would normally see them. This figure emphasizes not each item, rather the conclusion at the end of the list. Here is an example from Galatians 5: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Here the emphasis is “against such there is no law.”

We’ve just looked at six figures of speech: Personification, Simile, Metaphor, Hypocatastasis, Asyndeton, and Polysyndeton. How many figures of speech are there? I’ve been told the following:

  • English majors in college might be taught 25 to 30 figures of speech.
  • Shakespeare’s writings used about 100 different figures of speech.
  • In all known literature going back to Greek and Roman writings, there appear to be about 220 different figures of speech.
  • E. W. Bullinger (1837 – 1913), an Anglican clergyman, biblical scholar and theologian, classified about 217 separate figures of speech USED IN THE BIBLE, some with up to 40 subdivisions! His book “Figures of Speech Used In The Bible” is still in print. An excellent figures of speech summary appears in another of E. W. Bullinger’s works, “The Companion Bible”. You can get a free copy of his Figures of Speech summary at “The Music Box“. (Click link and tell me where to send you the info.)

Do the scriptures talk like this song?

The lyrics to “All Creatures Of Our God And King” were translated from a poem written in 1225 by St. Francis of Assisi. He based the poem on Psalm 148. Read it, and see that God’s Word is way ahead of us on using these wonderful figures of speech:

PSALM 148
Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights.
Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.
Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light.
Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.
Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.
He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass.
Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:
Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word:
Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars:
Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl:
Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth:
Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children:
Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.
He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the LORD.

Can you imagine the mountains, hills and fruitful trees praising the LORD? These pictures get our minds working! Not only is PRAISE emphasized, but these pictures help us REMEMBER to think of God when we look up to the heavens,
to think of God when we see the sun and the moon,
to think of God when we feel the wind,
to think of God when we see a beautiful sunrise,
to think of God when we sit by a crackling campfire.

Everything around us can remind us to think of God.

We’ve got a great big wonderful God!

Seeing how God uses language — both LITERAL and FIGURTIVE — in the Bible makes us want to improve our own ability to use language, and moves us closer to the place Jeremiah 9 sends us: “[to] understand and know me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.”

God is worthy of our greatest respect, admiration and awe.

Let’s live with eyes and hearts fixed on God who so loved that He gave us His Son, Jesus Christ. The life He’s called us to live is NOT a “DIY.”

Praise the Lord! Praise Him indeed.

God bless you lots!
Dale R. 😊

(P.s. IMHO = in my humble opinion;
LOL = laugh out loud;
DIY = do it yourself;
for “U” and “CU” — well, I think I better just give you a little credit πŸ˜‚)


Download this music sheet

LYRICS: All Creatures Of Our God And King
Text: Poem by St. Francis of Assisi β€œCanticle of the Sun” (1225)
Based on Psalm 148
English translation: William H. Draper (1855-1933, trans first pub 1919)
Tune: most common melody is the German hymn tune Lasst uns erfreuen, Cologne (1623)


1. All creatures of our God and King,
Lift up your voice and with us sing
Alleluia, Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
And silver moon with softer gleam,
O praise Him, O praise Him,
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

2. O rushing wind that art so strong,
You clouds that sail in heaven along,
O praise Him, Alleluia!
O rising morn in praise rejoice,
O lights of evening, find a voice:
O praise Him, O praise Him,
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

3. O flowing water, pure and clear,
Make music for your Lord to hear,
Alleluia, Alleluia!
O fire so masterful and bright
Providing us with warmth and light,
O praise Him, O praise Him,
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

4. All you who are of tender heart,
Forgiving others, take your part,
Sing praises, Alleluia!
All you who pain and sorrow bear,
Praise God and on Him cast your care,
O praise Him, O praise Him,
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

5. Let all things their Creator bless,
And worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him, Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise His Son
Awesome and wondrous works they’ve done,
O praise Him, O praise Him,
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Your thoughts?

Please add to what I said. What would YOU tell other people who might read this? Please jot a note in the β€œLeave a reply” spot below.


Dear Reader,
Do us BOTH a favor! SUBSCRIBE to MusicMinister.net
Let me send you a convenient, cheerful note next time I post a song (about once a week β€” WOOT!). Subscribers get extra free stuff, too, which is wonderful, but I have almost no doubt just getting a note from me makes it worth subscribing! Please join me in this project to build an archive of uplifting songs and Bible lessons for everyone to enjoy.
Click β€œGet The Music Box” button [below] and you are ALMOST done β€” one more quick step follows. 
THANKS! – Dale R. πŸ§‘πŸŒ»πŸ˜ƒ

Get The Music Box

One Reply to “All Creatures Of Our God And King”

  1. Sarah Durm

    Donnie and I saw a movie on St. Francis when we were in a humanities class in college. It’s called, “Brother Sun, Sister Moon.” We own it. Let’s watch it next time we’re together. We have always enjoyed learning about St. Francis and his heart to see God in nature! πŸ™‚

    I just saved that Figures of Speech document! I added it to my “Bible Study” file. Thank you for the resource! You know my heart loves the study of language! I think you instilled that in me!

    Lovings,
    Sarah

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.