The Miracle of God’s Leadership

He leads the humble in justice and teaches the humble His way.
Psalm 25:9
On autumn nights while we sleep, millions of sparrows and songbirds travel in the darkness toward the south for winter. Apparently, God has given them an internal guidance system that causes them to know when and where to go for the winter. If God guides this part of His creation, will He not also guide us, His children, if we depend upon Him for our direction? Psalm 23:3 certainly suggests so: He leadeth me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (KJV).
As we approach the time of Christ’s birth, what more can we be thankful for than the leadership God will give us if we simply ask in daily prayer in the name of Christ. One of the loveliest and most inspirational hymns in all of Christendom is He Leadeth Me. Dr. Joseph Gilmore wrote this hymn shortly after graduating seminary in the darkest hour of the Civil War. He was supplying the pulpit on a few occasions at a church in Philadelphia while awaiting a call to his first church. During one particular service, he was intending to expound upon the Twenty-Third Psalm. While he was preaching, he was captivated by the words He leadeth me.
After his sermon, he was visiting with a deacon and others in the church parlor.  While he visited, he “penciled the hymn” while writing and talking at the same time. He then handed what he had written to his wife and apparently forgot about it. Dr. Gilmore’s wife sent the hymn to The Watchmen and Reflector, a newspaper in Boston where it was first printed. Dr. Gilmore did not know that it was inserted into a hymnal until he was preaching as a candidate before the Second Baptist Church in Boston. Entering the chapel, he picked up a hymnal and the people were singing his own hymn, He Leadeth Me.
While preparing the sermon and reading in Psalms, Dr. Gilmore made a statement that I believe is as true as any that has ever been made. He said, “God’s leadership is the one significant fact in human experience that it makes no difference how we are led, or whither we are led, so long as we are sure God is leading us.”
He leadeth me, O blessed thought! O words with heavenly comfort fraught!
What e’er I do, where e’er I be, Still ‘tis God’s hand that leadeth me.
—Joseph H Gilmore (1862) set to music by William B. Bradberry

Larry Durrett
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