Great Is Thy Faithfulness is a popular Christian hymn which was written by Thomas Chisholm (1866–1960)
It was set to music by William M. Runyan (1870–1957) in Baldwin City, Kansas, U.S.
Perhaps the most appropriate definition of faithfulness is:
the fact or quality of being true to one’s word or commitments, as to what one has pledged to do, professes to believe, etc. Dictionary.com
In the Bible, there are over 277 accounts of God’s covenants between Him and His people.
Instances of God’s faithfulness
The Bible is filled with dozens of accounts on God’s faithfulness to His people. The psalmist David reports God’s faithfulness in keeping promises.
God’s Faithfulness is clearly evident in His relationship with the Jewish people. God promised that the Jewish people would return to the land He promised Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all their descendants (Zechariah 8:7-8).
Israel became a nation in 1948 in fulfilment of this promise. Other instances of God’s faithfulness include his promise to save Noah and his family from the flood (Genesis 6:17-18; 9:9-17,) and to bless Ishmael and his descendants (Genesis 17:18-20).
Another promise God has kept that quickly comes to mind is the “rainbow covenant” where He promises to never again destroy the world like He did during Noah’s time.
Great is thy faithfulness – the Hymn
The phrase “great is thy faithfulness” comes from the Old Testament Book of Lamentations 3:23 which is the inspiration of the song.
Lamentations 3 22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore, I will wait for him.”
Thomas Chisholm in Verse 1 talks about God’s immutability (unchanging nature) Usually, change comes to improve on something or someone, but God is perfect and transcendent and therefore immutable. For this reason, “there is no shadow of turning with thee (Him)”
For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. Malachi 3:6
The refrain is a joyful proclamation of the faithfulness of God. We sing it with much joy in our hearts because “his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness – Lamentations 3:22-23”
God has provided and protected us and continues to do so. For this reason our hearts are/should not troubled. Great is His faithfulness.
Verse 2 speaks of how God’s creation is testament to the faithfulness, mercy, and love of God.
Verse 3 is about God’s gifts to us which He freely bestows according to His riches in glory. These gifts are forgiveness, peace, strength, and hope.
Forgiveness – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness – 1 John 11:9.
Peace – “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” – John 14:27
Strength – “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:3
Hope – I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people – Ephesians 1:18
1 Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
there is no shadow of turning with thee.
Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
as thou hast been, thou forever wilt be.
Great is thy faithfulness!
Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed thy hand hath provided.
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
2 Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love. [Refrain]
3 Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! [Refrain]
Source: Christian Worship (2021)