“The Everlasting Arms”

“The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…” (Deut. 33:27)

     INTRO.: A song which exhorts us to look to the everlasting arms of the eternal God as our refuge is “The Everlasting Arms.” The text was written and the tune was composed both by Lelia (sometimes spelled Leila) Naylor (Mrs. Charles H.) Morris (1862-1929). The song was copyrighted in 1912 by J. M. Harris and owned by Lillenas Publishing Co. Mrs. Morris, a native and life-long resident of Ohio, produced such other well known songs as “I Know God’s Promise Is True,” “Let Jesus Come into Your Heart,” “Sweet Will of God,” “Nearer, Still Nearer,” and “Sweeter as the Years Go By.” Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, “The Everlasting Arms” appeared in the 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1) edited by L. O. Sanderson; and the 1940 Complete Christian Hymnal edited by Marion Davis.

     The song reminds us of the importance of trusting the everlasting arms of God to hold us.

I. Stanza 1 says that we need the everlasting arms during the storms of life
“I have found sweet rest for my weary soul,
Found a harbor safe though the billows roll,
Found a Mighty One who can storms control,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.”
 A. Jesus provides rest for our weary souls: Matt. 11:28-30
 B. He also gives us hope that provides an anchor to the soul even when the billows roll: Heb. 6:19-20
 C. This power is indicated by His ability to control storms when on earth: Matt. 8:23-27

II. Stanza 2 says that we need the everlasting arms when friends forsake us
“When my way grows dark and no light I see,
When my friends forsake and life’s comforts flee,
The I know His grace will sufficient be,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.”
 A. There are times when our way is dark and we seem to see no light because this world is pictured as a place of spiritual darkness: Eph. 6:12
 B. One aspect of this spiritual darkness is that friends sometimes forsake us: 2 Tim. 4:16
 C. But we can know without doubt that no matter what happens here, God’s grace will be sufficient: 2 Cor. 12:9

III. Stanza 3 says that we need the everlasting arms in times of weakness and fainting
“When my faith is weak He is near my side;
When my heart grows faint He will strength provide.
When the dangers press then will seas divide,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.”
 A. There are times when our faith is weak: Rom. 15:1
 B. There are also times when we grow faint or discouraged: Heb. 12:3
 C. But when we face such dangers, God will be near us, provide strength, and lead us just as He led the Israelites through the Red Sea: Exo. 14:29

IV. Stanza 4 says that we need the everlasting arms to help us bear our burdens
“There is naught too hard for my Lord to do;
I can safely trust all life’s journey through.
He will bear me up and my burdens too,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.”
 A. Nothing is too hard for the Lord: Gen. 18:14
 B. Therefore, we can safely trust Him all through life’s journey: Job 13:115
 C. And whatever burdens we have, He will help us bear them as we cast them on Him: Ps. 55:22

     CONCL.: The chorus points out that in life and death the everlasting arms enfold us.
“Oh, the everlasting arms, how they hold me,
Ever hold me, and enfold me;
I am safe in life or death, for around and underneath
Are the mighty, everlasting arms.”
This is one of those songs by a fairly well known hymn writer which has now all but been forgotten. One might cogently argue that the reason for this is likely that it is simply not quite as good as some of Mrs. Morris’s other hymns, and that may well be true. But it still teaches truth and provides encouragement for us as it focuses our minds on the power of “The Everlasting Arms.”


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