“The Ninety and Nine”
See and hear George Beverly Shea sing the “Ninety and Nine”
The title of the hymn is a bit of a misnomer. It is not about the ninety and nine per se. But about the one who is missing from the fold. The lyrics are based on the parable Jesus taught beginning in Luke 15: 4. Jesus is obviously the shepherd who seeks for the one who was lost. The shepherd cares for the ninety and nine. He does not seek for the ninety and nine who are in the fold, for they are found; but seeks the one who is outside. The who is in danger, and the who is in distress. And many-a-time the sheep does not even know of the danger. It was a favorite of George Beverly Shea’s, the soloist for the Billy Graham Evangelistic team, that toured the world as Graham preached the Gospel to millions. The story behind the hymn and how it came to be used in the earlier Evangelism context of Moody and Sankey can be read and experienced at: From My Life and the Story of the Gospel Hymns by Ira D. Sankey. Philadelphia: The Sunday School Times Company, ©1907. This is located at https://www.wholesomewords.org/biography/biosankey11.html
See and hear George Beverly Shea sing the “Ninety and Nine” at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DA3gO0EJCJQ
There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold; But one was out on the hills away, Far off from the gates of gold. Away on the mountains wild and bare; Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.
“Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine; Are they not enough for Thee?” But the Shepherd made answer: “This of Mine Has wandered away from Me. And although the road be rough and steep, I go to the desert to find My sheep.”
But none of the ransomed ever knew How deep were the waters crossed; Nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed through Ere He found His sheep that was lost. Far out in the desert He heard its cry; ’Twas sick and helpless and ready to die.
“Lord, whence are those blood-drops all the way, That mark out the mountain’s track?”
“They were shed for one who had gone astray Ere the Shepherd could bring him back.” “Lord, whence are Thy hands so rent and torn?”
“They’re pierced tonight by many a thorn.”
And all through the mountains, thunder-riv’n,
And up from the rocky steep, There arose a glad cry to the gate of heav’n, “Rejoice! I have found My sheep!” And the angels echoed around the throne, “Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!”