Who Is on the Lord’s Side?
Frances Ridley Havergal 1877

1. Who is on the Lord’s side? Who will serve the King?
Who will be His helpers, other lives to bring?
Who will leave the world’s side? Who will face the foe?
Who is on the Lord’s side? Who for Him will go?
By Thy call of mercy, by Thy grace divine,
We are on the Lord’s side—Savior, we are Thine!

2. Not for weight of glory, nor for crown and palm,
Enter we the army, raise the warrior psalm;
But for love that claimeth lives for whom He died:
He whom Jesus saveth marches on His side.
By Thy love constraining, by Thy grace divine,
We are on the Lord’s side—Savior, we are Thine!

3. Jesus, Thou hast bought us, not with gold or gem,
But with Thine own lifeblood, for Thy diadem;
With Thy blessing filling each who comes to Thee,
Thou hast made us willing, Thou hast made us free.
By Thy grand redemption, by Thy grace divine,
We are on the Lord’s side—Savior, we are Thine!

4. Fierce may be the conflict, strong may be the foe,
But the King’s own army none can overthrow;
’Round His standard ranging, vict’ry is secure,
For His truth unchanging makes the triumph sure.
Joyfully enlisting, by Thy grace divine,
We are on the Lord’s side—Savior, we are Thine!

5. Chosen to be soldiers, in an alien land,
Chosen, called, and faithful, for our Captain’s band;
In the service royal, let us not grow cold,
Let us be right loyal, noble, true and bold.
Master, Thou wilt keep us, by Thy grace divine,
Always on the Lord’s side—Savior, always Thine!

First of all I would like to affirm that I am on the Lord’s side. However, I must also state that before anyone can declare to be “on the Lord’s side” they must have a reason for wanting to be with him. Therefore an understanding of his redemptive work is necessary. Otherwise that last sentence will not be understood by many that call themselves Christians.

Who is on the Lord’s side are words found in the book of Exodus and were said by Moses. Over the centuries there have been many famous speeches given by national leaders and many of their words and messages are still remembered today. But centuries ago, Moses stood in the gate of the camp and asked the people of Israel, “Who is on the Lord’s side?” (Exodus 32:26) He said “let him come unto me.” And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. Moses asked that question after he descended from the mountain where he received the Ten Commandments. As he descended he saw that the people in his absence had made a golden calf, had worshiped the golden calf, and had committed sin all around it. In anger he broke the two tablets of stone containing the Ten Commandments, came down into the camp, ground up the golden calf and sprinkled it on the water, and then issued the challenge: “Who is on the Lord’s side?”
The timely question is just as valid today as it was when Moses asked it. Those who were on the Lord’s side in Moses’ day, and those who are on the Lord’s side in our day, are separated only by time. Unfortunately, with all the pressures and pleasures of today’s society, many who call themselves “Christian” really don’t live much different than all of those around them. But today we really are either for or against Christ. Jesus said, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” (Matthew 12:30) In 1877 Francis Havergal recognized the need to answer this question and she penned the words of the hymn above. Study the words of this hymn and ask yourself, whose side am I really on.

The biography of Frances Ridley Havergal: Devotional Writer, Poetess and Hymn Writer
Frances Ridley Havergal was a Christian devotional writer, poetess, hymn writer and musician who was born December 14, 1836, into a cultured, religious family at Astley, Worcestershire, England. She was the youngest child of William Henry Havergal, a Church of England minister and noted poet and church musician who authored about 100 hymns.

At the age of 3, Miss Havergal could read; at the age of 4, she began reading and memorizing the Bible; at 7 she began writing verse.
When she was eleven, her mother died after a long period of suffering.

Miss Havergal was converted and committed her life to Christ in 1851, at the age of 14. She said, “I committed my soul to the Saviour … earth and heaven seemed brighter from that moment; I did trust the Lord Jesus.”
Educated at home and in private schools in Worcester, England, and in Dusseldorf, Germany (1852-53), her scholastic achievements included proficiency in several modern languages, in addition to Latin, Greek, and Hebrew.
Miss Havergal had a thorough training in linguistics and music and was a pianist and singer.
She was also a devoted Bible student, memorizing the New Testament as well as the Psalms, Isaiah, and the Minor Prophets.
Although highly educated and cultured, she maintained a simple faith and confidence in her Lord. She lived a disciplined prayer life and it is said that she never wrote a line without first praying over it.
“I believe my King suggests a thought, and whispers me a musical line or two, and then I look up and thank Him delightedly and go on with it. That is how my hymns come.”

“Writing is praying with me. You know a child would look up at every sentence and say, ‘And what shall I say next?’ That is just what I do; I ask Him that at every line He would give me not merely thoughts and power, but also every word, even the very rhymes.”

Quite early in life, her poems were published in “Good Words” and other religious periodicals. Her poems are permeated with the fragrance of her passionate love for Jesus.
In 1870, her father died suddenly. After 1873, she literally carried out her now famous couplet,”Take my voice, and let me sing,Always, only, for my King.”

and she sang nothing but sacred music of the love of God and His way of salvation. Her life’s mission was to sing and work for Jesus. She had both a great taste for music and a good knowledge of harmony, a natural and inherited turn for melody, a ringing touch on the piano, a beautiful and well-trained voice. These gifts she now entirely devoted to Christ; whether at home or in mixed society she always “sang for Jesus.”

Her hymn of consecration, “Take My Life and Let It Be” was written by Miss Havergal in 1874. She gives the following account:

“Perhaps you will be interested to know the origin of the Consecration hymn ‘Take my life.’ I went for a little visit of five days [to Areley House]. There were ten persons in the house, some unconverted and long prayed for, some converted, but not rejoicing Christians. He gave me the prayer ‘Lord, give me all in this house!’ And He just did! Before I left the house every one had got a blessing. The last night of my visit after I had retired, the governess asked me to go to the two daughters. They were crying, &c; then and there both of them trusted and rejoiced; it was nearly midnight. I was too happy to sleep, and passed most of the night in praise and renewal of my own consecration; and these little couplets formed themselves, and chimed in my heart one after another till they finished with ‘ever only, ALL FOR THEE!'”

Her prayer, “Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold,” in the same hymn was not lightly stated. In August, 1878, Miss Havergal wrote to a friend,
“The Lord has shown me another little step, and, of course, I have taken it with extreme delight. ‘Take my silver and my gold’ now means shipping off all my ornaments to the church Missionary House, including a jewel cabinet that is really fit for a countess, where all will be accepted and disposed of for me … Nearly fifty articles are being packed up. I don’t think I ever packed a box with such pleasure.”

Some hymns for which she wrote the words include:
“Another Year Is Dawning” (written 1874)
“I Gave My Life for Thee” (written when she was 22 years old in 1858 just prior to an extended illness during which she did little or no writing for nine years)
“Lord, Speak to Me” (written 1872)
“Like a River Glorious” (written 1876?)
“Who Is on the Lord’s Side?” (written 1877)
“True-Hearted, Whole-Hearted, Faithful and Loyal” (written 1878)
“Golden Harps Are Sounding” (written 1871)
“I Am Trusting Thee, Lord Jesus” (written 1874; said to be her favorite of all her hymns, a copy of the text was found in her personal Bible after her death).
“Take My Life and Let It Be” (written in 1874)

She wrote some of her own tunes for her hymns and her father wrote the music for others. Miss Havergal also wrote many small devotional tracts and narratives in prose and numerous little books of poems and hymn texts, all marked by the same earnest and practical piety. Themes for her writings were faith, consecration, and service.

Frail in health all of her life, Miss Havergal one day caught a severe cold which caused inflamation of the lungs. When told that her life was in danger, she exclaimed, “If I am really going, it is too good to be true!” At another time she responded, “Splendid! To be so near the gates of heaven.” At the very end, it is reported that she sang clearly, but faintly, another of her hymns, “Jesus, I Will Trust Thee, Trust Thee with My Soul.” Then, according to reports by her sister,She looked up steadfastly, as if she saw the Lord; and surely nothing less heavenly could have reflected such a glorious radiance upon her face. For ten minutes we watched that almost visible meeting with her King, and her countenance was so glad, as if she were already talking to Him! Then she tried to sing; but after one sweet, high note her voice failed, and as her brother commended her soul into the Redeemer’s hand she passed away.

Frances Ridley Havergal died at Caswall Bay, Swansea, Wales, June 3, 1879, at the age of forty-two. She never married.
On her tombstone at Astley, Worcestershire, is engraved her favorite text, 1 John 1:7– “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
Her entire life was characterized by spiritual saintliness. In spite of being frail in health, she lived an active and productive life until her death.
She has been referred to as “hymnody’s sweetest voice,” “the sweetest voice of hymnody,” and “the consecration poet.”
Her autobiography was published in Memorials of Frances Ridley Havergal, by her Sister, M. V. G. Havergal, 2nd edition, 1880. Another memorial by her sister was Frances Ridley Havergal: the Last Week, [1879].
Frances Havergal was a contemporary of Fanny Crosby (1820-1915). Although these two gifted women never met, each was an admirer of the other. In a letter sent by Miss Havergal to Fanny Crosby, she wrote:
Dear blind sister over the sea–
An English heart goes forth to thee.
We are linked by a cable of faith and song,
Flashing bright sympathy swift along
One in the East and one in the West,
Singing for Him whom our souls love best.
Singing for Jesus! Telling His love
All the way to our home above,
Where the severing sea, with its restless tide
Never shall hinder and never divide.
Sister, what shall our meeting soon be
When our hearts shall sing and our eyes shall see?

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