HE LEADETH ME! written in 1862
The Civil War had begun in America, and people were losing hope. The War was still early, but there seemed no end in sight. Casualties were mounting. Joseph Gilmore, Pastor of Philadelphia’s First Baptist Church, wanted to bring some hope to his congregation, so he turned to Psalm 23. The important thing, he told his congregation, is to know God is leading – no matter HOW or WHERE He leads us.
After the service, he went to a deacon’s home and continued the conversation about how God leads His children. As they were talking, Joseph started to scribble down some thoughts, and soon the words of this hymn were written. He gave this hymn to his wife… and then forgot all about it.
3 years later, when he was a pastoral candidate for a church in Rochester, New York, he began leafing through the hymnal and spotted a hymn titled “He Leadeth Me”… his own hymn! He didn’t know his wife had submitted this hymn to a Christian periodical and that it had been set to music. He discovered that, when you are led by the Lord, there often pleasant surprises.
Read this hymn and – today – be grateful for the competent leading of God.
He leadeth me, 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.
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. Refrain
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. Refrain
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. Refrain