Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken ~ Hymn 81

By: Alan Harvey

Posted: May 11, 2020

Category: Daily Devotional

Devotional Thoughts Based on the Glory to God Hymnal

Obadiah 17-21

But on Mount Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy, and Jacob will possess his inheritance.

Jacob will be a fire and Joseph a flame; Esau will be stubble, and they will set him on fire and destroy him. There will be no survivors from Esau.” The Lord has spoken.

 People from the Negev will occupy the mountains of Esau, and people from the foothills will possess the land of the Philistines.
They will occupy the fields of Ephraim and Samaria, and Benjamin will possess Gilead.

 This company of Israelite exiles who are in Canaan will possess the land as far as Zarephath; the exiles from Jerusalem who are in Sepharad will possess the towns of the Negev.
 Deliverers will go up on Mount Zion to govern the mountains of Esau. And the kingdom will be the Lord’s.

This text is like a sermon in that it has a good beginning and a good ending. Verses 18-20 have you wondering if it will end well. It does, but first let us look at the beginning.

But on Mount Zion there shall be those who escape, and it shall be holy; and the house of Jacob shall take possession of those who possesses them.

Now, let us look at the ending.

Those who have been saved shall go up to Mount Zion to rule Mount Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lords.

The commentary beneath the hymn states: “This hymn is primarily based on Isaiah 33: 20-21. The allusion to the Obadiah text is found in stanza 1: “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken, Zion, city of our God. God whose word cannot be broken, formed thee for a blest abode. On the rock of ages founded, what can shake thy sure repose? With salvation’s walls surrounded, thou mayst smile at all thy foes.”

The text was written by John Newton, also author of Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound The music is by Franz Joseph Haydn. “The Nazi appropriation of this tune for propaganda purposes has clouded a noble piece of music first associated with this text in 1889.”


O Lord, keep our eyes focused on Zion, the beautiful city of God and grant that we too may dwell there, forever basking in Your presence; for Christ’s sake. Amen.