“I Shall Not Be Moved”

"…He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved" (Ps. 16.8)

     INTRO.: A song which comforts us by pointing out that if we keep the Lord on our right hand we shall not be moved is "I Shall Not Be Moved." The text was written and the tune was composed both by Alfred Henry Ackley (1887-1960). A noted author of some 1,000 hymns associated with the Rodeheaver Co. whose best known song is probably "He Lives," Ackley produced "I Shall Not Be Moved" around 1906. It was first published in 1908, and the copyright was renewed by Rodeheaver in 1936.  I do not know whether there is any relationship between this song and the perhaps more familiar "I Shall Not Be Moved," which is sometimes identified as an African American spiritual or folk melody and usually attributed to Edward H. Boatner, beginning, "Glory hallelujah! I shall not be moved" (#573 in Sacred Selections for the Church is an arrangement of the latter made by Homer F. Morris and copyrighted in 1939 by the Stamps-Baxter Music and Ptg. Co.). There are some similiarities between the two, and it may be that Ackley was aware of the folk hymn, attempted to take its thought, and put it in his own musical expression. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the Ackley song appeared in the 1925 edition of the 1921 Great Songs of the Church (No. 1) and the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 both edited by E. L. Jorgenson; the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 edited by L. O. Sanderson; and the 1978 Hymns of Praise edited by Reuel Lemmons.

      The song expresses the comfort in knowing that the Lord will not allow us to be moved.

I. Stanza 1 says that we are like a tree planted by the water
"As a tree beside the water Has the Savior planted me;
All my fruit shall be in season, I shall live eternally."
 A. The language is taken from the first Psalm where David likens the one who refrains from evil and delights in the law of the Lord as a tree planted by the water: Ps. 1.1-3
 B. The Lord wants such a tree to bear fruit for Him: Jn. 15.1-8
 C. There is comfort in knowing that as the strong tree can stand for ages upon ages, so the person who trust in God can stand throughout life and then live eternally: 1 Jn. 2.25

II. Stanza 2 says that we can stand the tempest of the storm
"Though the tempest rage around, Through the storm my Lord I see,
Pointing upward to that haven, Where my loved ones wait for me."
 A. The tempest raging around us represents the trials and tribulations of life that we must weather: Jas. 1.2-3
 B. However, through the storms of life we can still be looking up to Jesus: Heb. 12.1-2
 C. As we do, He will point us upward to that haven whither our anchor is cast: Heb. 6.18-20

III. Stanza 3 says that we can find strength in time of grief
"When by grief my heart is broken, And the sunshine steals away,
Then His grace, in mercy given, Changes darkness into day."
 A. There are times in life when our hearts are broken by grief: 1 Pet. 2.19
 B. However, we can come to the throne of grace to find mercy that will help us in time of need: Heb. 4.114-16
 C. Thus, the Lord will comfort us by turning our darkness into day: 1 Thess. 5.4-8

IV. Stanza 4 says that we shall stand before Him in joy
"When at last I stand before Him, Oh, what joy it will afford
Just to see the sinner ransomed And behold my sovereign Lord."
 A. Someday, we shall stand before the Lord: 2 Cor. 5.10
 B. Then the ransomed sinner will experience joy in receiving the end of his faith, the salvation of His soul: 1 Pet. 1.3-9
 C. This joy will be enhanced by beholding the sovereign Lord: 1 Jn. 3.1-3

     CONCL.: The chorus reminds us that if we are truly anchored to the Rock of Ages, nothing can move us.
"I shall not be moved, I shall not be moved;
Anchored to the Rock of Ages, I shall not be moved."
Trials and tribulations will assail me in my journey upon this earth, and I will experience my share of griefs and heartaches. However, if I am like the fruitful tree planted by the water and have the hope of eternal life through Christ Jesus my Lord, then with His help, "I Shall Not Be Moved."


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