451. What God Ordains Is Always Right
all st. = Rom. 8:38-39
st. 1 = Deut. 32:4
st. 2 = Deut. 31:6, Heb. 13:5, John 8:12; 14:18
st. 3 = Eph. 2:20
st. 4 = Luke 1:79
Samuel Rodigast (b. Graben, Thuringia, Germany, 1649; d. Berlin, Germany, 1708) wrote the text (“Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan!”) in six stanzas for his seriously ill friend, Severus Gastorius. The text was published in the Appendix to Das Hannoverische Gesangbuch (1676). Gracia Grindal (PHH 351) translated four of the original stanzas for the 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship.
A sermon on Deuteronomy 32:4 in hymn form, the text is a confession of unshakable trust in God's providence in our lives (see 440 and 446 as well as confessions found in Rom. 8:38-39 and Lord's Day 1 for a similar theme). The text expresses the kind of devout faith that produced Lutheran Pietism (which began around 1670) and provides a worthy vehicle for congregations to affirm trust in God's care.
Rodigast studied at the University of Jena and briefly served as an instructor in philosophy there. But for most of his professional life he was associated with the Greyfriars Gymnasium (high school) in Berlin, as joint rector from 1680 to 1698 and as rector from 1698 until his death. A fine scholar and administrator, Rodigast was offered a position at the University of Jena, but he preferred to stay at the gymnasium. Be is known to have written only two hymn texts, of which "What God Ordains" has become a classic.
As a sung confession of faith in God's care and keeping and in his wisdom as he directs our lives; a healing service; many other occasions of worship.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook
WAS GOTT TUT is usually attributed to Severus Gastorius (b. Ottern, near Weimar, Germany, 1646; d. Jena, Germany, 1682), who presumably composed the tune during a convalescence in 1675 (see above). The tune was published in Ausserlesenes Weimarisches Gesangbuch (1681). Educated at the University of Jena, Gastorius became cantor of Jena in 1677, a post he held until his death. He wrote a variety of church music, including five funeral motets, but he is known primarily for composing WAS GOTT TUT.
The tune is a classic example of a seventeenth-century German chorale setting in bar form (AAB). Sing in sturdy unison, changing to harmony for some of the stanzas. Do not rush, but sing with stately fervor. Observing fermatas at the ends of the first two 1 long lines will help to bring a sense of patience to this melody by giving more breathing time.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook