Sunday, March 30, 2014

Hymns & Hymn Writers: Who Else But God? by David R. Kenney

Songs stir our souls in various ways.  Sometimes they take our minds back to our younger days in a sentimental way.  Some songs make us contemplate the future and our position in relation to being prepared for that future.  Some songs ask thought-provoking questions that each person ought to give serious thought to.  Who Else But God?  is a song with such a question.
John Otis Deaton (1891-1985), Lyricist & Composer
John Otis Deaton was born on May 21, 1891.  On September 11, 1919 Otis Deaton married Bennie Youngblood (1893-1980) whose grandfather was first cousin to Robert E. Lee.  She was a pianist and music teacher.    They had several children including Floy, Isaac Nugent, Tom Calvin, Troy Travis and a daughter who died at infancy.  
Deaton was affiliated with the Stamps-Baxter Quartet.  He also taught summer music schools in various places including once in Cleveland, OH.  He was a promoter of Southern Gospel Music and wrote the lyrics to one of his most popular songs Give the World A Smile.  The song was recorded on Victor Records on October 20, 1927 and included Palmer Wheeler singing tenor.  The title of this song appears on his tombstone.  According to, this was his most popular song followed by While Going Through Life and Its Troubles and Strife and Lo The Grape is Ripe and Ready.  He also wrote some 400 songs which are largely unknown to us.  
Otis Deaton died October 14, 1985 and is buried in Greenview Cemetery in Greenview, TX.

Who Else But God?  
The subject of God is one of great fascination.  Even those who do not believe in God are still perplexed by the subject.  The mere questions relating to God are weighty to contemplate.  When one considers the creation from its vastness to its minuteness, one comes away with great questions that have answers with serious implications.  
In the 2013 West Virginia School of Preaching Lectureship book on the book of Job, Charles Pugh, III wrote on “God’s Matchless Questions” and made this statement about God:  
“In effect, God said if man in general (and Job in particular) could not fully explain and comprehend the things of God’s awesome creation of the universe, the world, and man, then it should not be thought strange that suffering also has its mysteries to humans.  However, this much is sure—God, who is infinite in understanding and power is in control and will do right!  ‘Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite’ (Ps. 147:5.)  ‘Let all the Earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him’ (Psalm 33:8.)”  (Living Lessons from the Book of Job, 2013, pp. 270-271).  
We serve an awesome God!  


John P. Wiegand, Editor, Praise for the Lord, Nashville, TN:  Praise Press, 1997.

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