“The Hollow of God’s Hand”

"THE HOLLOW OF GOD’S HAND"
"I the Lord…will hold thine hand, and will keep thee…" (Isa. 42.6)

     INTRO.: A song about the importance of keeping our hand in God’s hand, spiritually speaking, is "The Hollow Of God’s Hand" (#357 in Hymns for Worship Revised and #478 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written, under the penname of E. D. Mund, and the tune was composed both by Edmund Simon Lorenz (1854-1942). Born near Canal Fulton, OH, the son of a missionary to German immigrants, Lorenz was a United Brethren minister, college president, and music publisher who spent most of his life in Dayton, OH, where he founded the Lorenz Publishing Co. which is still in business today. Many of his hymns have been used in our books, including "Wonderful Love of Jesus," "Tell It To Jesus Alone," and "Thou Thinkest, Lord, Of Me," and melodies for Priscilla Owens’s "Give Me The Bible," the anonymous "Come, Let Us All Unite To Sing, God Is Love," and Jeremiah Rankin’s "So Tender, So Precious," as well as "The Name of Jesus" and "My Precious Bible."

     "The Hollow of God’s Hand" was copyrighted by Lorenz in 1886, although one source gave an 1890 date which may have been its first publication. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, it appeared the 1917 Selected Revival Songs published by F. L. Rowe of Cincinnati, OH; the 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1), the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2, and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3, all edited by L. O. Sanderson. Today, so far as I know, it may be found only in Hymns for Worship and Sacred Selections. I have given the stanzas and chorus below as taken directly from The Church Hymnal which was "The Official Hymnal of the Church of the United Brethren In Christ, prepared by Edmund S. Lorenz" (copyright 1935; sixth edition, 1945). Some of our books have minor variations.

     The song emphasizes the benefits of holding on to God’s hand.

I. In stanza 1, we find safety in times of problems and persecution
"I am safe, whatever may betide me;
I am safe, whoever may deride me;
I am safe, as long as I confide me
In the hollow of God’s hand."
 A. The word "betide" means "to happen, befall." In this life, there will be many problems that betide us from time to time, but God can use the things that happen to us for good: Eccl. 9.11, Phil. 1.22
 B. The word "deride" means "to laugh at in contempt or scorn, ridicule."  Here on earth, there will be many times that people will mock and speak evil of us: 1 Pet. 2.12, 3.16
 C. The word "confide" basically means "to trust" and here "to entrust (a duty, person, etc. to someone)." The evils that befall us and the venom that people spew at us cannot hurt us as long as we commit ourselves into God’s hand: Ps. 31.4-5

II. In stanza 2, we find safety in times of storms, trials, and ills
"What though fierce the stormy blasts roar round me;
What though sore life’s trials oft confound me;
I am safe, for naught of ill can wound me
In the hollow of God’s hand."
 A. Often, the difficulties that we face in life are compared to stormy blasts that roar around us, similar to the storm that beset the ship on which Paul was sailing to Rome: Acts 27.14-20 (The original may have been changed to "What though fierce the storm blasts roar around me" to make it a little easier to sing.)
 B. These "storms" can prove to be trials that may confound us for a time: 1 Pet. 1.7, 4.12
 C. However, if we remain in the hollow of God’s hand, no ill can truly wound us because God has promised to make a way of escape that we may be able to bear it: 1 Cor. 10.11 (I do not know why the word "wound" was changed to "harm." While "wound" does not technically rhyme with "round" and "confound," in romatic poetry it was considered an acceptable rhyme because it ended in "ound." At least, it rhymes better than "harm.")

III. In stanza 3, we find safety in times of loneliness and turmoil
"Everlasting arms of love enfold me;
Words of peace the voice divine has told me;
I am safe, while God Himself doth hold me
In the hollow of His hand."
 A. There are times in life when we are lonely, but we can still find refuge and comfort in God’s everlasting arms: Deut. 33.27
 B. There are also times in life when we face strife and turmoil, but if we cast all our cares upon God, we can have His peace that passes all understanding: Phil. 4.6-7
 C. Therefore, we have nothing to fear as long as we allow God to uphold and keep our lives in His hands: Ps. 17.5, 66.8-9

     CONCL.: The chorus repeats our need to remain in a close relationship with our God;
"In the blessed hollow of His hand!
In the blessed hollow of His hand!
I am safe while God himself doth hold me
In the hollow of His hand."
The closeness of this spiritual relationship in which we abide in the Lord and He in us is symbolized as being in "The Hollow Of God’s Hand."

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