One of my favorite hymns is, “He Leadeth Me.” This hymn text was written by Joseph H. Gilmore on March 26, 1862. He wrote the hymn following a midweek service at the First Baptist Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in which hedelivered a message on the first part of Psalm 23. The emphasis of his message was on the phrase, “He leadeth me.” I am grateful for that hymn and for Psalm 23. God leads His children like a shepherd. Martin Luther said that, “Faith is a matter of personal pronouns.” We have a personal God who leads us.
In Psalm 23 we see three ways that God leads us.
- With His Presence v. 4, “You are with me:” Even in the valley of the shadow of death God is with us. We have His presence in sadness and sorrow.
- With His Peace v. 5, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;” We can have peace in our hearts even when surrounded by enemies.
- With His Promise v.6, “Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” We have a twofold promise here in this verse. God will give us goodness and lovingkindness now and in the future He will give us a place in God’s house for all eternity.
What a wonderful phrase for the child of God to remember, He leadeth me. Joseph H. Gilmore said it like this in his wonderful hymn by the title, “He Leadeth Me.”
“He leadeth me! O blessed tho’t! O words with heavenly 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.”
I am so blessed that all of the days of my life I can say with assurance, “He Leadeth me.”
Rev. Richard A. Humphries
Pastoral Care and Senior Adult Minister, First Baptist Church Columbia, SC