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Awake, My Glory

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is
steadfast; I will sing and make music.
Awake, my glory! Awake, harp and lyre! I
will awaken the dawn!
The fifty-seventh Psalm is attributed to
David. The time to which it is set down in
the title is, when he fled from Saul in the
cave. The writer cries to God for refuge.
His soul is among lions. His enemies have
prepared a net for his steps. Then he cries
as if to arouse himself to joy. Awake, my
glory! Awake, harp and lyre! The verses of
the Psalm which follow give us the music
which flows forth from the awakened
strings. I will praise you, O Lord, among
the people.. .. For your mercy is great unto
the heavens.
Many of us need at times to make this same
call upon ourselves to awake. The harps are
hanging silent on the walls. The figure of
instruments of music sleeping is very
suggestive. They are capable of giving forth
rich melodiesbut not a note is heard from
them. There are two thoughts suggested by
this prayer. One is that life is meant to be
glad, joyous. It is pictured as a harp. The
other is, the splendor of life, Awake, my
It is to a life of joy and song we are called to
awake. Life is a harp. There is a legend of
an instrument that hung on a castle wall. Its
strings were broken. It was covered with
dust. No one understood it, and no fingers
could bring music from it. One day a
strange visitor appeared at the castle. He
saw this silent harp, took it into his hands,
reverently brushed away the dust, tenderly
reset the broken strings, and then played
upon it, and the glad music filled all the
castle. This is a parable of every life. Life is a
harp, made to give out musicbut broken
and silent until Christ comes. Then the song
awakes. We are called to awake to joy and
Christs life was a perpetual song. He gave
out only cheer. He even started to His cross
singing a hymn. When He arose He started
songs with His first words, All hail! Peace
be unto you. What music did you start
yesterday, as you went about? What song is
in your heart singing today? Awake, harp
and lyre!
But there is something else. Awake, my
glory! Glory is a great word. It has many
synonyms and definitions. It means
brightness, splendor, luster, honor,
greatness, excellence. Every human life has
glory in itself. Did you ever try to answer
the question, What is man? It would take
a whole library of books to describe the
several parts of a life. Merely to tell of the
mechanism of a human hand, to give a list
of the marvelous things the hand has done,
would fill a volume. Or the eye, with its
wonderful structure; the ear, with its
delicate functions; the brain, with its
amazing processes; the heart, the lungs
each of the organs in a bodily organism is so
wonderful, that a whole lifetime might be
devoted to the study of anatomy aloneand
the subject would not be exhausted!
Think, too, of the intellectual part, with all
that the mind of man has achieved in
literature, in invention, in science, in art.
Think of the moral part, mans immortal
nature, that in man which makes him like
God, capable of holding communion with
God, of belonging to the family of God.
When we begin to think even most
superficially of what man is, we see an
almost infinite meaning in the word glory
as defining life. Awake, my glory!
No one, even in the highest flights of his
imagination, ever has begun to dream of the
full content of his own life, what it is at
present; then what it may become under the
influence of divine grace and love. Even
now, man redeemed is but a little lower
than God. Then, it is not yet made
manifest what we shall be. The full glory is
hidden, unrevealed, as a marvelous rose is
hidden in a little bud in springtime. All that
we know about our futureis that we shall
be like Christ. We are awed even by such a
dim hint of what we shall bewhen the
work in us is completed.
The call to awake implies that the glory
which is in us is asleep. It is a call to all
that is in usof beauty, of power, of
strength, of good, of loveto be quickened
to reach its best. We are not aware of the
grandeur of our own lives. We do not think
of ourselves as infolding splendor, as having
in us the beauty of immortal life. We travel
over seas to look at scenes of grandeur, to
wander through are galleries, to study the
noble achievements of architecture; while
we have in ourselves greater grandeur,
rarer beauty, sublimer artthan any land
under heaven has to show us. Let us pray to
be made conscious of our own glory.
Awake, my glory!
We are to call out these splendors. The harp
is standing silentwhen it might be pouring
out entrancing music. The hand is folded
and idlewhen it might be doing beautiful
things: painting a picture, that would add to
the sum of the worlds beauty; doing a deed
of kindness, that would give gladness to a
gentle heart; visiting a sick or suffering one
and winning the commendation, You did it
unto Me! The power of sympathy is
sleeping in your heartwhen it might be
awakened and be adding strength to human
weakness on some of lifes battlefields,
making struggling ones braver, inspiring
them to victory.
Suppose, now, that all the capacity for
helping others, lying unawakened in each
ones heart and hand, were brought out for
just one week and made to do their best
what a vast ministry of kindness would be
performed! Suppose that all of each ones
capacity, for praising God were called out,
that every silent harp and every sleeping
psaltery should be waked up and should
begin to pour out praisewhat a chorus of
song would break upon the air! One of the
Psalms begins with the call, Bless the Lord,
O my soul; and all that is within me, bless
his holy name! That is what this call,
Awake, my glory! Awake, harp and lyre!
means. If we truly wish our glory to be
awakened, we must seek to have the best in
us called out to its fullest capacity of service.
This story comes from Japan and tells how
only the Bible can prove itself true. A man
had obtained a Bible and became much
interested in it. After reading it, he said,
This is a fine thing in theory but I
wonder how it would work in practice . On
the train on which he was traveling was a
lady, who, he was told, was a Christian. He
watched her attentively to see how she
would act, how her conduct would illustrate
the Book in which she believed. He said, If
I can see anything in her conduct like this
Book, I will believe it. Before the day was
over he had seen in her so many little acts of
unselfishness and kindness, so many
examples of patience and thoughtfulness, so
much consideration for the comfort of her
fellow passengers, that he was deeply
impressed and resolved to make the Bible
the guide and inspirer of his whole life.
Thus it is that the glory of our life should be
In one of Pauls letters to Timothy he gave
this young man an earnest charge. Timothy
was not living at his best. Paul bade him to
stir up the gift of God that was in him.
Timothy had abilitiesbut he was not using
them worthily. God had put into his life
spiritual gifts, capacities for great
usefulnessbut Timothy was not exercising
His gifts to the full. The glory in him needed
to be waked up. Stir up the gift of God that
is in you, bade Paul. The picture in his
words, is that of a fire smoldering, covered
up, not burning brightly, not giving out its
heat. Timothy was bidden to stir up the fire
that it might burn into a hot flame. Many
Christians need the same exhortation. They
have the fire in their heartsbut it needs
stirring up. Awake, my glory!
Do you think you have been doing your
best? Can you think of a day in the past
week, which you made altogether as
beautiful as you could have made it? Could
not the artists picture have been a little
more beautiful, a little broader and nobler
in its technique, a little finer in its
sentiment? Could not the singer have sung
her song a little better, with a little more
heart, a little more sweetly! Could not the
boys and girls at school have done a little
better work and have been a little gentler
among their schoolmates? Could not the
men have been a little better Christians out
in the world; and the women better,
kindlier neighbors? The best day any of us
ever livedmight we not have made it a
little holier, a little fuller of divine love, a
little more sacred in its memories? Must not
every one of us confess that the glory in us
needs awakening?
No doubt the body is a clog to the mind and
the soul. Many of us have burning desires
for holiness in our heartsbut somehow we
have not the power to express the desires.
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote to a friend,
You cannot sleep; well, I cannot keep
awake. In the lethargic condition of his
body, his magnificent intellectual powers
were held as in a stupor. No doubt many
men with great spiritual fervor are unable
to express their earnestness of soul, because
they are hampered by an unwholesome
somnolence. We need to call upon our souls
to wake up! We need to call upon Godto
wake us up.
Awake, my glory! The word gives dignity,
splendor, honor, greatness, divineness to
our life. It calls us to make our lives worthy
of the name. The lowliest human lifeis
glorious in its character, in its possibility, in
its destiny.
Recently a Sevres vase, some sixteen inches
high, was put up at auction. It was dated
1763. No history of it was given. No one
knew where it came from, who made it, or
who its owners had been. But the vase was
so exquisite in its beauty and so surely
genuine, that it brought at auction twenty-
one thousand dollars. Yet this rare and
costly vase, was once only a mere lump of
common clay and a few moist colors. The
value was in the toil and skill of the artist
who shaped and colored it with such
delicate patience and such untiring effort.
He did his best, and the vase today
witnesses to his faithfulness.
If we would only always do our best in all
our work, we would live worthily of the
glory that is in us.
The Parthenon at Athens was encircled
within by a sculptured frieze, five hundred
and twenty feet in length. It was chiefly the
work of Phidias. The figures on the frieze
were life-size, and stood fifty feet above the
floor of the temple. For nearly two thousand
years the work remained undisturbed and
nearly in its original state. By the explosion
of a bomb-shell, the frieze was shattered
about the close of the seventeenth century
and fell upon the pavement. Then it was
found that in every smallest detail the work
was perfect. Phidias wrought, as he said, for
the eyes of the gods for no human eyes
saw his work at its great height. It is in this
spirit, that we should do all our worknot
for mens eyesbut for Gods. We should do
perfect work, for no other work is worthy of
the doer. Awake, my glory! Do your
smallest task as beautifully as if you were
doing a piece of heavenly ministry, and
were working for the very eye of the Master
Let us set higher ideals for ourselves. We
are not merely dustwe are immortal
spirits. We are children of Godand this
dignifies the smallest, lowliest things we do.
Sweeping a room for Christis glorious
work. Cobbling shoes may be made as
radiant service in heavens sightas angel
ministry before Gods throne. The glory is in
usand we must live worthily of it. Let us
call out our best skill, our rarest power, for
everything we do. Our days should be
ascending days in the scale, each one made
more beautiful than the last. We never get
to the best opportunitytomorrow will
bring us into a more heavenly atmosphere,
than todays.
This is the call to us in all life. There is no
end to life. There is always something
beyond. Life is immortal. When our glory
awakens and presses on, it will always find
something beyond. Only heaven is the end.
Awake, my glory! Shall we not make this
demand upon ourselves! We are asleep
and cannot wake up. Yet we must wake up
or we shall perish spiritually. The parable
speaks of those whom their Lord had set to
watchbut whom He warned against
sleeping. Lest when he comes and finds
them sleeping . We need to pray for
nothing more earnestly, than for power to
keep awake.
We must get awake first ourselves. Awake,
my glory! Then it is a great thing to be an
awakener of others. Some men have this
power in large measure. Everyone who
comes near them is quickened, becomes
more widely awake, is inspired to live
better. Christ awakened the glory of His
disciples. They were plain men, without the
education of the schools, without the art of
eloquence; but they lived with their Master,
and He taught them, put Himself into their
lives, then sent them forth. Every particle of
the glory in themwas awakened, and they
went out and woke up the world. That is
what God wants us to do. Get awakened
yourself, and then wake up your friends.
Shall we be content to stay asleep any
longer? Must our harps still hang silent on
the wall, giving out no music? Must the
glory in us continue to sleep? Shall we not
rather call upon ourselves to awake and
then call upon God to awake us? Then our
lives shall open into beauty and into power.
Then shall we be the people God wants us to