‘He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands’

Melissa HendersonBy Melissa Henderson3 Minutes

“He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” may be a familiar tune you enjoyed singing in Sunday School. Perhaps you learned hand motions to accompany the song. The words have special meanings and can be used as a tool for worship.

Music has been used as a form of worship for around 2000 years. Scripture shares the importance of sharing songs. The words and music can impact the singer and the listener.

The Old Testament book of Psalms is filled with songs, prayers, and poems. A hymn can be a way to praise God and give thanks. David is one of the authors of Psalms. David’s son Solomon is another author of some of the Psalms. Other people contributed to writing the Psalms.

According to historians, the hymnal “Spirituals Triumphant, Old and New” was first published in 1927 and included “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” The song is known as a traditional African-American spiritual. In 1957-1958, a singer named Laurie London recorded a version that became a musical hit.

The version sung by gospel singer Mahalia Jackson was included in the top 100 on the Billboard charts. Other popular singers such as Kate Smith, Cristy Lane, Perry Como, and Andy Williams recorded the song and helped it gain popularity.

Although how or why the song was written is uncertain, some historians believe slaves may have created the words and music. The lyrics vary in different versions of the song.

Marian Anderson, a well-known vocalist, provided a concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday in 1939. The event, according to historians, was a protest of the Daughters of the American Revolution, which restricted access of black artists to the concert venue.

The lyrics of the song give the reminder to not lose hope because God can help everyone who asks.

The book of Psalms shares that everything belongs to God.

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters” (Psalm 24:1-2 NIV).

Although there might be a slight change in lyrics in different recordings, the original message stands firm. God has the whole world in His hands.

From the itty bitty baby to the brother and the sister, He’s got the whole world in His hands.

Colorful books for children have been created using the words of the song. Sermons have focused on God and His love for the world.

Amen. God does have the whole world in His hands.

In His Name,

Melissa Henderson