He Leadeth Me

Photo_061009_006He leadeth me, O blessed thought!
O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.
He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.

Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
By waters still, over troubled sea,
Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.
He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.

Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine;
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since ’tis my God that leadeth me.
He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.

And when my task on earth is done,
When by Thy grace the vict’ry’s won,
E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
Since God through Jordan leadeth me.
He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.

Words by Joseph H. Gilmore, 1862
Music by William B. Bradbury, 1864

 


The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Psalm 23:1 – 3

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
Isaiah 41:13


 

What are you planning to do with your life? Every teenager has heard this question at some point in time. After all, we need to have our entire life planned out by the time we turn 18, right? Of course as a teenager, it can be a seemingly innocuous question, but when you get to be 25, 35, 45 it is not so innocuous a question. In fact it can seem a little judgmental condescending.

But it is a valid question for any of us. A question we often ask ourselves, even when everyone around us thinks we have it all together. So we ask ourselves, “What am I doing with my life?” “Where am I going?” “Is there a purpose to my life?”

Ultimately that is what we are looking for, a purpose, a meaning, a direction. A direction that seems to elude us when we search simply in our own strength. But we can find direction when we trust in God’s leading in our lives. This is the message behind Joseph H. Gilmore’s “He Leadeth Me.”

The hymn begins by straight out stating the theme, “He leadeth me.” A phrase that comes from what is one of the most well-known passages of scripture in the world, Psalm 23. Verses 1 – 3 reads, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”

The hymn then continues by reflecting on this theme, “O blessèd thought! O words with heav’nly comfort fraught! Whate’er I do, where’er I be, Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.” Stop for a minute and think about this. For those who have within them a desire for direction; for those who all to often feel that they are all alone with no purpose in their lives, what thought could compare with the truth that God is there to guide us along. What comfort can compare with knowing that while we may seem lost, God knows the direction He has for us.

The hymn continues by saying, “Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom, Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom, By waters still, over troubled sea, Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.” It does not matter the time or situation we are in, God is there. In times of trouble and times of joy, God is there with us to guide us. It draws our minds to Deuteronomy 31:6 where we read, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” God is always there for us to turn to and follow.

Gilmore then writes, “Lord, I would place my hand in Thine . . . Content, whatever lot I see.” A seeming reflection of Isaiah 41:13 where we read, “For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Whatever circumstance may come our we, we need not fear, we need not worry for God has promised that he is there to help. In him we can find strength to move forward, even when we do not know what is to come. As a child taking his parents hand, we can take God’s hand and trust in his guidance and find contentment in knowing He is in control.

Yes, we all seek direction in our lives. A direction that gives us purpose. A direction that will encourage us to move on. Even when we do not have those in our lives to ask the question, we ask ourselves, “where are we going?” We can find the answer in God. We can find the answer in knowing that God has a purpose and direction for us and if we will trust in Him, He will lead us there. So let us lean on him, trusting in His leadership so that we may say, “His faithful follower I would be, For by His hand He leadeth me.”

 

 

Read more about “He Leadeth Me.”

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