The Love of God
The hymn, The Love of God, was written in a citrus packing house in Pasadena, California
by a German-born Christian named Frederick M. Lehman. At age four, Frederick and his
family had immigrated to America, settling in Iowa. Converted to Christ at eleven years
of age while walking through a crabapple orchard, Frederick eventually entered the ministry and pastored churches in the Midwest. But his greatest love was gospel music, and he complied
five song books and published hundreds of songs.
In 1917, his finances had gone sour, and he found himself working in a packing factory in Pasadena, moving thirty tons of lemons and oranges a day. One morning as he arrived
at work, a song was forming in his mind. He had been thinking about the limitlessness
of God's love, and during breaks he sat on an empty lemon crate and jotted down words
with a stubby pencil.
Arriving home that evening, he went to the old upright piano and began putting notes
to his words. He finally had a melody and two stanzas, but almost all gospel songs of that
era had at least three stanzas. At length, he thought of some lines he had recently heard in a sermon:
"Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made.
Were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky."
That verse perfectly formed the third stanza. The words came from the pen of an eleventh-
century Jewish poet in Germany named Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai.