LEANING ON THE EVERLASTING ARMS
Elisha A. Hoffman, 1839–1929
The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:27)
When close friends or family members turn to us for comfort in their grief following the loss of a loved one, often we find it difficult to express just the right words of consolation. One day successful author, business man, and devout Presbyterian layman Anthony J. Showalter received sorrowful letters from two different friends, telling him of their recent bereavements. In sending messages of comfort to them, Mr. Showalter included Deuteronomy 33:27—
“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms …”
As he concluded his letters the thought occurred to him that this verse would be a fine theme for a hymn. Almost spontaneously he jotted down the words and music for the refrain of this soon-to-be favorite.
Feeling that he should have some assistance in completing a text based on this comforting verse from Deuteronomy, Mr. Showalter asked his friend Elisha A. Hoffman, a pastor and author of more than 2,000 gospel songs, to furnish the stanzas. The hymn then was published in 1887 in the Glad Evangel for Revival, Camp and Evangelistic Meetings Hymnal.
It is not surprising that “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” with its assurance of God’s steadfast care and guidance and the peace that is ours as we enjoy the intimacy of His fellowship, has been another of the gospel song favorites enjoyed by all ages. Each day we need to relearn the truths of these words:
What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms; what a blessedness, what a peace is mine, leaning on the everlasting arms.
O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way, leaning on the everlasting arms; O how bright the path grows from day to day, leaning on the everlasting arms.
What have I to dread, what have I to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms? I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, leaning on the everlasting arms.
Chorus: Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.
For Today: Psalm 17:8; Psalm 57:1; Psalm 91:2; Proverbs 14:26; 1 John 1:7
When the events of today seem difficult, or even overwhelming, apply the lesson of leaning on “those everlasting arms,” as you learn to rest and relax in His loving care. Share the truth of Deuteronomy 33:27 with another needing encouragement. Use this little musical message as your theme song for today—
Osbeck, K. W.
- Keep me as the apple of the eye: hide me under the shadow of thy wings, Psalm 17:8
- Have mercy upon me, O God, have mercy upon me; for my soul trusteth in thee, and in the shadow of thy wings will I trust, till these afflictions overpass. Psalm 57:1
- Surely I will deliver thee from the snare of the hunter, and from the noisome pestilence. Psalm 91:2
- In the fear of the Lord is an assured strength, and his children shall have hope. Proverbs 14:26
- But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 1 John 1:7