“I Hold His Hand”

“He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul” (Ps. 23:2-3)

     INTRO.: A song which emphasizes how the Lord leads us besides the still waters and restores our soul while we hold to His hand is “I Hold His Hand” (#667 in Hymns for Worship Revised, and #148 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Jessie Randolph Baxter, Jr. (1887-1960). He and Virgil O. Stamps were the founders of the Stamps-Baxter Music and Printing Co.  The tune was composed by W. Allan Sims, who was born in Navarro County, TX, on June 8, 1900. A bass singer, he sang with several professional groups as they travelled around the country, and also taught singing schools for about 25 years. It was during his teaching career that he married Lucy Phillips of Nocona, TX, also a singer and lover of music. His life’s work was teaching music, leading singing in worship services and gospel meetings, and songwriting. This song was the first of hundreds of hymns that he produced, and was copyrighted in 1929 by Stamps and Sims. The copyright was renewed (assigned?) in 1941 by the Stamps-Baxter Music Co. (although some newer books say “copyright 1941, renewed 1969”). After moving to Clovis, NM, he and his wife, who were members of the Church of Christ, travelled to many parts of the country to carry on his work.

     The last song that Sims penned was entitled “We’ll Move Up Yonder By and By,” which he left in a manuscript when he died of a heart attack at his home in Clovis on Oct. 28, 1955. Later, his wife had it published.  The title of “I Hold His Hand” and a portion of the music are engraved on his tombstone. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, this song appeared in the 1938/1944 New Wonderful Songs edited by Thomas S. Cobb; and the 1959 Majestic Hymnal No. 2 and the 1978 Hymns of Praise both edited by Reuel Lemmons; and was chosen as the representative song for Sims in the 1980 Our Garden of Song by Gene C. Finley. Today it may be found in the 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1983 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; and the 1999 Into Our Hands: Hymns for the Church edited by Leland R. Fleming; in addition to Hymns for Worship, Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.

     The song encourages us to look for the blessings that come with holding to our Savior’s hand.

I. Stanza 1 says that He shields us from evil
“I hold to the hand of my Savior and Friend;
He shields me from evil till dangers all end.
He’ll take me to heaven where voices now blend;
I hold to the hand of my Lord.”
 A. Jesus Christ came to be our Savior and Friend: Lk. 2:11, Jn. 15:13-15
 B. He will shield us from evil by providing us a way of escape from every temptation: 1 Cor. 10:13
 C. In this way, His power will keep us to the salvation ready to be revealed at the last time in heaven: 1 Pet. 1:3-5

II. Stanza 2 says that He rolls back the shadows
“I hold to His hand when the storm clouds arise;
He speaks and the shadows roll back from the skies.
‘Tis wonderful glory for our human eyes;
I hold to the hand of my Lord.”
 A. The rising of storm clouds is often used to symbolize the trials and tribulations of life: Ps. 107:25-28
 B. But Jesus is able to roll back the shadows from the skies just as He was able to still the tempest on Galilee: Matt. 23-27
 C. As we experience His power in our lives as revealed by His life as recorded in His word, we get a glimpse of His glory: Jn. 1:14

III. Stanza 3 says that He is a secure foundation
“I hold to the hand that is steadfast and sure;
No other foundation is ever secure.
I look for the home that will ever endure;
I hold to the hand of my Lord.”
 A. His hand is steadfast and sure so the hope that He gives us is like an anchor to the soul: Heb. 6:19
 B. No other foundation that can be laid is ever secure: 1 Cor. 3:11
 C. Based upon this foundation of assurance, we can look for the home that will ever endure: Heb. 13:14

     CONCL.: The chorus says that He will lead us to heaven.
“I hold to the hand of my Savior and King,
Till safe in that city where angels now sing;
He leads me so gently where still waters flow,
And tells me of heaven where I long to go.”
Obviously, I cannot literally place my hand in the hand of Jesus, but the idea symbolizes my obedience to His will by living according to His teachings. Therefore, having a desire to please my Savior and King in this life and eventually to live with Him forever in heaven, “I Hold His Hand.”


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