“The Touch of the Unseen Hand”

“Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up Thine hand; forget not the humble” (Ps. 10:12)

     INTRO.: A hymn which reminds us that the Lord has promised to arise, lift up His hand, and not forget the humble is “The Touch of The Unseen Hand.” The text was written by Frank E. Graeff (1860-1919). It was obviously produced before Graeff’s death in 1919. Graeff is best remembered as the author of “Does Jesus Care?” The tune for “The Touch of The Unseen Hand” was composed by Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (1856-1932). The song is listed as copyright 1926 by the Gospel Advocate Co. in Sweeter Than All Songs which was edited in 1927 by C. M. Pullias for the Gospel Advocate. However, Hymnary.org indicates that the song also appeared, perhaps its first publication, in a 1914 hymnbook Hymns of the Heart from the Methodist Book Concern. It would appear then that the copyright by the Gospel Advocate is either a renewal or, more likely, an assignment. Among other hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song appeared in the 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1) edited by L. O. Sanderson.

     The song mentions several situations where the touch of God’s hand provides spiritual help.

I. Stanza 1 talks about grief and pain
“There’s a hand reaching down when the night-shades enfold,
And my soul is a lone with its grief;
Then a voice sweet and low soothes my pain and my woe,
And the touch of that hand brings relief.”
 A. Night is often used poetically as a symbol of a time of grief and pain: Ps. 6:6
 B. Each of us must experience our share of grief in this life: 1 Pet. 2:19
 C. However, the Lord offers us relief and comfort from our pain: 2 Cor. 1:3-5

II. Stanza 2 talks about loneliness and oppression
“There’s a hand reaches down when I struggle alone,
And my soul is most sorely oppressed;
Then a voice firm and clear tells me Jesus is near,
And the touch of His hand gives me rest.”
 A. Sometimes we find that we are struggling alone in this life: Ps. 102:7
 B. Often these times are when we are sorely oppressed: Ps. 9:9
 C. However, the Lord offers us rest when we are lonely and oppressed: Matt. 11:28-30

III. Stanza 3 talks about temptation and fear
“There’s a hand reaches down when temptations assault,
And their terrors my soul would affright;
Then a voice true and clear calls, ‘Fear not, I am here,’
And the touch of His hand guides me right.”
 A. As long as we are alive, we shall be assaulted by temptations: Jas. 1:13-15
 B. Many times these temptations frighten our souls with fear: Ps. 34:4
 C. However, the Lord offers to guide us aright through our temptations and fears: Ps. 25:9

IV. Stanza 4 talks about trials and cares
“There’s a hand reaches down, and where’er I may be,
Though my trials and cares do not cease;
Still a voice strong and clear fills my heart with its cheer,
And the touch of His hand gives me peace.”
 A. The Lord has promised to be with His people wherever they may be: Matt. 28:20
 B. This does not mean that our trials and cares will cease: Jas. 1:2
 C. However, He offers us peace to keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus: Phil. 4:6-7

     CONCL.: The chorus points out that this figurative touch of God’s hand can fill our souls with a song.
“The touch of the hand that is gentle and strong,
The touch of the hand that is tender and true,
That hand reaches down through the night dark and long,
And the touch of that hand fills my soul with a song.”
Christians do not expect God to act miraculously and directly as He did during the time that His word was being revealed and confirmed. However, the Bible does teach that He will act providentially to meet the needs of His people and that grant them spiritual blessings in Christ through His written word. Thus, this is what we understand is involved in “The Touch of The Unseen Hand.”


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