Hymn of the Month: From God Can Nothing Move Me

The Hymn of Month is “From God Can Nothing Move Me” (LSB 713). It is set to the tune VON GOTT WILL ICH NICHT LASSEN. This is probably the most well-known hymn of Ludwig Helmbold, a German philosophy professor and poet of Lutheran hymns. It was written for friends fleeing the 1563 plague in Erfurt to comfort them on their journey. Johann Sebastian Bach used several of Helmbold’s hymn texts in his cantatas, and stanza five of Von Gott Will Ich Nicht Lassen appears in Bach’s O heilges Geist-und Wasserbad (O holy bath of Spirit and Water).

Stanza Three

      The Lord my life arranges;

      Who can His work destroy?

      In His good time He changes

      All sorrow into joy.

      So let me then be still:

      My body, soul, and spirit

      His tender care inherit

      According to His will.

The Old Testament Reading for the Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost comes from Exodus 3, when Moses meets God, the great I AM, in the burning bush. There the I AM says to Moses, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry. … I know their sufferings, and I have come to deliver them.”

Here, even in the Old Testament, the preincarnate Christ comes to God’s people to comfort them. In the face of temptation, trial, and even slavery, the Lord arranges our lives. None can destroy his work—not chariots, not Pharaoh and all his hosts, not even Satan. We need only be still, for He who led His people Israel out of bondage in Egypt still comes to us with tender care to protect and strengthen us in body, soul, and spirit.

Stanza Four

      Each day at His good pleasure

      God’s gracious will is done.

      He sent His greatest treasure

      In Jesus Christ, His Son.

      He ev’ry gift imparts.

      The bread of earth and heaven

      Are by His kindness given.

      Praise Him with thankful hearts!

How does God come to our bodies, our souls, and our spirits? He sends us His Son, Jesus Christ. How does Jesus come to us? He feeds us both with the bread of earth, in response to our prayer “Give us this day our daily bread,” and with the bread of heaven, when we receive His body as He bids us to “Take, eat” at His altar in the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

This is the gracious will of God: that He would impart to us every gift through His Son so that we may receive the great treasures of eternal life. It pleases Him to do this, too, and though we may grow weary in our devotion to Him and our service to others, He never grows weary in coming to us, exactly how He says He will. What great kindness our Lord shows to us!

Stanza Five

      Praise God with acclamation

      And in His gifts rejoice.

      Each day finds its vocation

      Responding to His voice.

      Soon years on earth are past;

      But time we spend expressing

      The love of God brings blessing

      That will forever last!

How are we to respond to these great gifts? We shall praise God and rejoice in His kindness! Just as He continues to come to us daily, exactly where He promises to be, we daily find our response and our purpose in Him, following His voice as He reveals it to us in Holy Scripture.

And though we know our earthly days are limited, our Christian vocation is everlasting. We are freed in Christ to express the love of God in service to our neighbor and in acclamation we return to heaven. Those blessings Christ gives to us; and the blessings Christ gives to His people through His gifts and through us, His servants, are everlasting—even beyond the tomb of earthly death.

Stanza Seven

      For thus the Father willed it,

      Who fashioned us from clay;

      And His own Son fulfilled it

      And brought eternal day.

      The Spirit now has come,

      To us true faith has given;

      He leads us home to heaven.

      O praise the Three in One!

This life of the Christian—this life of deliverance from sin, of comfort in forgiveness, of receiving the gifts of God, and of freedom in Christ—is made possible by the will of God the Father. At the moment man ruined God's sinless and perfect creation, the Father promised His Son, Jesus, to restore corrupt human nature to its incorruptible design. Christ indeed fulfilled this perfect plan of salvation for us on the cross.

Even now, two thousand years after Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, the power of the Holy Spirit brings life and salvation to us, planting and nurturing our faith—given to us in Baptism—until we are called home to heaven. The work of the triune God in the life of the Christian deserves all thanks and praise. For indeed, nothing can move us from God, our heavenly Father.

Scripture: ESV®

Hymn is taken from Lutheran Service Book copyright © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved. 

Celebrate our heavenly Father with a festive twelve-part arrangement appropriate for the thanksgiving season.

Order A Feast Prepared: A Requiem

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Nathan Grime

Nathan Grime is from Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is a 2020 graduate of Hillsdale College, where he studied rhetoric, public address, and journalism. Nathan is the fifth and sixth grade teacher at Our Savior Lutheran School in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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