Friday, July 18, 2008

Then Sings My Soul Saturday - He Leadeth Me

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.
Psalm 23:1-2 (KJV)

This beloved Psalm was the foundation for a beautiful hymn during one of the worst periods of our nation's history.

Joseph Gilmore was only twenty-eight years old when he preached a sermon at First Baptist Church Philadelphia which led him to write this hymn. He explained the experience years later:
At the mid-week service, on the 26th of March 1862, I set out to give the people an exposition of the Twenty-third Psalm, which I had given before on three or four occasions, but this time I did not get further than the words "He leadeth me." Those words took hold of me as they had never done before, and I saw them in a significance and wondrous beauty of which I had never dreamed.

It was the darkest hour of the Civil War, I did not refer to that fact – that is, I don’t think I did – but it may subconsciously have led me to realize that God’s leadership is the one significant fact in human experience, that it makes no difference how we are led, or whither we are lead, so long as we are sure God is leading us.

At the close of the meeting a few of us in the parlor of my host, good Deacon Wattson, kept on talking about the thought which I had emphasized; and then and there, on a blank page of the brief from which I had intended to speak, I penciled the hymn, talking and writing at the same time, then handed it to my wife and thought no more about it. She sent it to The Watchman and Reflector, a paper published in Boston, where it was first printed. I did not know until 1865 that my hymn had been set to music by William B. Bradbury. I went to Rochester to preach as a candidate before the Second Baptist Church. Going into their chapel on arrival in the city, I picked up a hymnal to see what they were singing, and opened it at my own hymn, "He Leadeth Me."
William Bradbury added the final two lines to the chorus: "His faithful foll'wer I would be, for by His hand He leadeth me."

This acapella version is beautiful and really enhances the harmonies:


He leadeth me, O bless├Ęd 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.

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.

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.

WORDS: Joseph Gilmore, 1862
MUSIC: William Bradbury, 1864

Visit Amy's blog for more songs for your Saturday!


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Sita said...

Nothing like the old hymns...mean so much to me the acapella versions...such profound words..thank you..

Cheryl said...

Great song! Thanks for sharing!


Leah said...

I have always loved this song! Thanks for sharing! You always uplift me!

Xandra@Heart-of-Service said...

My favorite verse is the gives me chills everytime I hear it!

Welcome back!!!


ocean mommy said...

Beautiful! It does bring holy chills doesn't it!!!

blessings to you this weekend,

Lisa writes... said...

I am clinging to His promise to lead me!

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace said...

You just can't go wrong with a classic standard like this.

Amanda said...

This moved my soul...truly...I cried the whole time!

Oh how it fills me with peace to Praise Him!!!

Thanks so much for this beautiful song.

God bless-

Julie Stiles Mills said...

I LOVE how he learned it had been set to music. Goosebumps.