We rest on Thee, and in Thy name we go against this multitude.@2 Chronicles 14:11
portrait
Edith G. Cherry (1872-1897)

Edith G. Cherry, circa 1895.

Finlandia, Jean Sibelius, 1899 ( pdf nwc).

This hymn has a sad story associated with it. In January 1956, five missionaries sang it before entering the jungles of eastern Ecuador to bring the Gospel to the Waorani Indians (this tribe is sometimes mistakenly called the Auca, a perjorative term meaning enemy or savages). The missionaries were Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Jim Elliott, Roger Yoderian, & Peter Fleming. After the men reached the Waorani, the Indians murdered them on the Curaray River. However, the story has a happy ending. Years later, contact with the Waorani was re-established, and many came to Christ, including the killers, which is how first hand details of the missionaries’ deaths came to light.

One of the best known of the five martyrs was Jim Elliot. A number of his sayings are still quoted (e.g., He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose). Elliot’s wife Elisabeth went on to considerable fame as an author and radio broadcaster. Her book Through the Gates of Splendor describes the encounter with the Aucas; its title comes from a line in this hymn.

portrait
Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)

We rest on Thee, our shield and our defender!
We go not forth alone against the foe;
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy name we go.
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy name we go.

Yes, in Thy name, O Captain of salvation!
In Thy dear name, all other names above;
Jesus our righteousness, our sure foundation,
Our prince of glory and our king of love.
Jesus our righteousness, our sure foundation,
Our prince of glory and our king of love.

We go in faith, our own great weakness feeling,
And needing more each day Thy grace to know:
Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy name we go.
Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy name we go.

We rest on Thee, our shield and our defender!
Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise;
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.