Sovereign Ruler of the Skies – John Ryland

I came across part of this comforting hymn today in a “Grace Gems” devotional, and had to look it up. The first result of my search gave the fullest version of “Sovereign Ruler of the Skies,” though it is also found on hymnary.org. I found this nice summary of the hymn on the Founders website:

“Sovereign Ruler of the Skies” [was written] by the English Baptist pastor and hymn writer John Ryland (1753–1825). The hymn was written in 1777 and included in Rippon’s Selection (1787) #545. It originally had nine verses. Unfortunately, as with many hymns, it is often shortened to four or five verses when included in hymnals.

…The longer composition is worth singing. It reveals Ryland’s intentions in thought and structure. The hymn begins with doctrine that overflows into devotion. As in a well-crafted sermon, he takes time to proclaim truth and then apply truth. In the first six verses he declares what is true about God and about himself. Then in verses 7–9 he responds to that truth. His response is a model for us in how we should respond:

He prays, entrusting himself to God: “In Thy hands my life I trust.”

He examines his heart and motives, wanting nothing to surpass God in his life, asking himself: “Have I somewhat dearer still?”

He commits himself to God’s will, acknowledging that all he has and is belongs to God.

He praises God, desiring to bless Him “at all times”

And he closes the hymn by preaching to his own soul. God is sovereign over all. If I have Him, I have all I need. He will never leave me or forsake me. So how could I ever be orphaned or abandoned?

Take time to read Ryland’s hymn—all nine verses. He has much to teach us about savoring truth and crafting praise.

Here, then, are all nine verses of the original hymn of Rylands:

1.   Sovereign Ruler of the skies!
Ever gracious, ever wise!
All my times are in Thy hand,
All events at Thy command.

2.   His decree, who formed the earth,
Fixed my first and second birth;
Parents, native place and time,
All appointed were by Him.

3.   He that formed me in the womb,
He shall guide me to the tomb;
All my times shall ever be
Ordered by His wise decree.

4.   Times of sickness, times of health,
Times of penury and wealth;
Times of trial and of grief,
Time of triumph and relief.

5.   Times the tempter’s power to prove,
Times to taste a Savior’s love:
All must come, and last and end,
As shall please my heavenly Friend.

6.   Plagues and deaths around me fly,
Till He bids I cannot die:
Not a single shaft can hit
Till the God of love thinks fit.

7.   O Thou Gracious, Wise and Just,
In Thy hands my life I trust:
Have I somewhat dearer still?
I resign it to Thy will.

8.   May I always own Thy hand
Still to the surrender stand;
Know that Thou art God alone,
I and mine are all Thine own.

9.   Thee, at all times, will I bless;
Having Thee, I all possess;
How can I bereaved be,
Since I cannot part with Thee?

Notice especially that 6th verse in our present calamity:

6.   Plagues and deaths around me fly,
Till He bids I cannot die:
Not a single shaft can hit
Till the God of love thinks fit.

Source: Hymns from History | Sovereign Ruler of the Skies

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Thank you so much for this song and it’s notation!! I am looking to sing it for my church at some point, and the extra verses are really neat.
    I appreciate that the lyrics are free! 🙂

    Like


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