Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

That was one of my favorite hymns . . . back in the day . . . when we still sang hymns. For those of you too young to have ever sung a
hymn . . . or too old to remember what you sang, the first verse goes like this:

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.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Wow! I can’t remember the last time I sang that song in church.

This isn’t about the worship wars. We all have our opinions and I’m not sure anyone has ever changed anyone else’s mind.

It’s more about the need to lean on God in times of – as the writer of the hymn phrases it, alarms.

The idea of leaning on something or someone implies two thoughts: 1) a need, and 2) a trust. Used with it’s normal meaning, both the Old Testament Hebrew and the New Testament Greek refer to the need for support, either physical or emotional. That’s what leaning says – you’re weak or tired and you need support.

But there’s also the trust side. If you need support you lean on something or someone you can trust. You don’t lean against a rotten tree for physical support, you lean against a tree that you can trust.

And you don’t lean on something or someone who has the potential to fail you for spiritual support, you lean on the only One who will not fail you. The One with Everlasting Arms.

Proverbs 3:5-6 brings this out. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths (way).

Acknowledging God indicates a need for direction. So you lean on Him because you trust Him.

Because of the new normal in our lives most of us are at a place where we know that we need someone greater than ourselves just to make it through another day. We need someone to lean on.

To have that joy divine and peace that the song talks about we have to lean. We need to recognize our need and learn to lean. Only then will we be safe and secure from all alarms.

Stay in the Word,
Pastor Steve

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