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    Senior Member Nelson Bradford's Avatar

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    A Name I Highly Treasure

    God . . . gave him the name that is above every name. ~ Philippians 2:9

    Think of George Beverly Shea and "How Great Thou Art," "Then Jesus Came," "I'd Rather Have Jesus," "The Love of God," "It Is No Secret," and today's song comes to mind.

    It was 1942. Oscar C. Eliason's brother Paul had died of tuberculosis. Oscar was near death from late-stage TB in a Minneapolis sanitarium when a humble minister came by to pray. Miraculously, Oscar, whose right lung had already collapsed, began to heal. He recovered fully to become an Assembly of God pastor and song writer. He took the old Panama Canal slogan, "Got any rivers?", changed the words, and wrote a melody, to record his testimony. We still sing, "Got any rivers you think are uncrossable?"

    In the 1950s, the aftermath of 19th century European Higher Criticism thinking swept through Christian seminaries in America. Just as the post-modern crowd does today, modernists then denied the authority of Scripture. Eliason was quite outspoken. E.g., in 1960, he wrote a poem called, "The Modernist Preacher Entering Hell" which was anything but politically correct. In 1946 he attended a Memorial Day service where Jesus' name was not mentioned one time. This so provoked Oscar that within 45 minutes after returning home he had put his thoughts about the experience in this song. In effect, it is a mild "protest" about what he had NOT heard. Close your eyes and hear George Beverly Shea singing . . .

    I've learned to know a name I highly treasure.
    O how it thrills my spirit through and through!
    O precious name, beyond degree or measure,
    My heart is stirred whene'er I think of You!

    Refrain
    My heart is stirred when e'er I think of Jesus,
    That blessed name which sets the captive free -
    The only name through which I find salvation.
    No name on earth has meant so much to me.

    - Oscar C. Eliason, 1946

    Copied from Sing to the Lord 1993 by Lillenas Publishing Company

    Hymn commentary courtesy J. D. Sherrow
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