Posted by: rcottrill | April 8, 2015

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

Graphic Bob and Christmas Book (2)HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church.

Words: a traditional Spiritual, author unknown
Music: composer unknown

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Back in the eighteenth or nineteenth century, anonymous song writers created what we now know as Traditional Spirituals (in former times, “Negro Spirituals”). These songs of faith created by slaves in America were not written down, and technology did not exist to record them. They were passed on by word of mouth, as this one has been–which is now sung by Christians of every ethnicity, and recorded by many different gospel soloists.

Stanzas of the song vary, from book to book, sometimes including “He’s got you and me, sister, in His hands,” or “He’s got everybody in His hands.” But I was shocked and disturbed one day, visiting a seniors home. The pastor of a local church was concluding a service, and she had those present alternating, stanza by stanza, “He’s got the whole world in His hands,” with “She’s got the wind and the rain in her hands.” I thought maybe I wasn’t hearing it right, so I looked at the song sheet, and there it was. Utterly unbiblical, if not blasphemous! Our heavenly Father is not a she!

Many times, the Bible mentions the hands of God. We know that God is a spirit Being (Jn. 4:24) and, in His essential nature, doesn’t have physical hands. But the metaphor is used to depict the activity of God and His abundant power in a way we can understand.

CH-1) He’s got the whole world in His hands,
He’s got the whole world in His hands,
He’s got the whole world in His hands,
He’s got the whole world in His hands.

CH-2) He’s got wind and the rain in His hands,
He’s got wind and the rain in His hands,
He’s got wind and the rain in His hands,
He’s got the whole world in His hands.

Sometimes, the Scriptures speak of the hand of God bringing judgment. When the Israelites refused to obey Him, they were condemned to spend forty years in the wilderness, until the rebellious generation had died off. “The hand of the Lord was against them, to destroy them from the midst of the camp until they were consumed” (Deut. 2:15).

When the heathen Babylonian king Belshazzar dared to defy God, he was confronted by Daniel, the prophet of God, with these words. “God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified” (Dan. 5:23). No earthly monarch, no matter how powerful, can stand against the Almighty. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Prov. 21:1).

On the positive side, the Lord provides for the beasts of the field, by His powerful hand. “Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?” (Job 12:9-10).

Believers are in the double clasp of the hands of Father and Son, assuring our salvation and eternal safety (Jn. 10:28-29). And similar imagery is used to describe how God empowered His servants to do His work. As early Christian missionaries shared the gospel, we read, “The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord” (Acts 11:21).

He’s got the whole world in His hands. And the hand of God that put the stars and planets in place (Ps. 19:1), and keeps them on their courses (Col. 1:17), He graciously extends help to us, if we’ll trust in Him. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (I Pet. 5:6-7).

One of those who recorded the present song was the late George Beverley Shea, associated for decades with evangelist Billy Graham. Bev’s own favourite soloist was opera and concert baritone, John Charles Thomas, who had one of the greatest voices of the first half of the twentieth century. On one occasion, Bev met Mr. Thomas in Baltimore, and told him how much he appreciated his rendition of this particular song–especially the warmth and tenderness he put into singing about “the tiny little baby.” At Mr. Thomas’s invitation, they went to a piano and the singer showed Bev how to put more expression into the song.

CH-3) He’s got the tiny little baby in His hands,
He’s got the tiny little baby in His hands,
He’s got the tiny little baby in His hands,
He’s got the whole world in His hands.

Later, in Billy Graham’s London crusade in 1954, a man attended one of the meetings very reluctantly, to please his neighbour. During the meeting, he rudely (and loudly) criticized what was going on, to those seated around him. But when Bev Shea sang this song, and got to the “tiny little baby,” he slumped in his seat, overcome with emotion, as he was worried about a sick child at home. His criticism silenced, he listened attentively to Dr. Graham’s message, and later made a decision to receive Christ as Saviour. The hand of God had touched his heart, and transformed his life.

CH-4) He’s got you and me, brother, in His hands,
He’s got you and me, brother, in His hands,
He’s got you and me, brother, in His hands,
He’s got the whole world in His hands.

Questions:
1) What does it mean to you today, that you are in the hands of God?

2) Is this a song you would use in a worship service? (Why? Or why not?)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: