"The Love of God" was written in
1917 by Frederick M. Lehman. Lehman was born in Germany and emigrated with his
family to the United States at age four. He graduated from Northwestern College
in Naperville, Illinois, and pastored churches in the midwest writing his
first hymn in 1898 while serving as pastor in Kingsley, Iowa. In 1911,
he moved to Kansas City, where he helped found the Nazarene Publishing
House. Not long afterwards he moved to California, where, due to business
reverses, he found himself doing manual labor, packing oranges and lemons into
wooden crates a Pasadena packing house. It was at work there that he wrote his
most famous hymn. He describes the circumstances of writing the hymn thus:
While at camp-meeting in a mid-western state, some fifty years ago in our early ministry, an evangelist climaxed his message by quoting the last stanza of this song. The profound depths of the line moved us to preserve the words for future generations.
Not until we had come to California did this urge find fulfillment, and that at a time when circumstances forced us to hard manual labor.
One day, during short intervals of inattention to our work, we picked up a scrap of paper and, seated upon an empty lemon box pushed against the wall, with a stub pencil, added the (first) two stanzas and chorus of the song.
Since the lines (3rd stanza from the Jewish poem) had been found penciled on the wall of a patient’s room in an insane asylum, the general opinion was that this inmate had written the epic in moments of sanity.
Actually, the key-stanza (third verse) under question as to its authorship was written nearly one thousand years ago by a Jewish songwriter, and put on the score page by F.M. Lehman, a Gentile songwriter, in 1917.
Lehman wrote hundreds of hymns, including "There's No Disappointment in Heaven" and "The Royal Telephone."