Posts Tagged ‘He leadeth me’

A Triptych from Hebrews 6: Take a Look (Panel 3)

June 10, 2021

Today’s blog entry is the third of a series of three poems that form a triptych inspired by Hebrews 6:10-12. OxfordDictionaries.com defines a triptych as, “a set of three associated artistic, literary, or musical works intended to be appreciated together.” WordNet 3.6 provides this definition of triptych art, as “art consisting of a painting or carving (especially an altarpiece) on three panels (usually hinged together).” Here is an example of one panel of a triptych carved from wood with three sections on each leaf. Each of the three poems that form my triptych is also accompanied by commentary and a musical selection related to that work.

ONE LEAF OF A TRIPTYCH IN CATHEDRAL OF SEVILLE

For our discussion of the third panel of our triptych from Hebrews 6, we are going to look at Hebrews 6:12, but we begin with a statement from Brian Adams:

“Learn the art of patience. Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious over the outcome of a goal. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement and failure. Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to success.”

As believers, perfecting the art of patience involves learning to wait on the Lord. The closing verses of my favorite psalm come to mind:

Psalm 27:13-14 (NKJV)

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
that I would see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.

14 Wait on the Lord;
be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Note this Biblical definition of patience which has also been translated endurance or perseverance, steadfastly bearing up under and remaining faithful while waiting. Patience or perseverance is a fruit of the spirit that should be evident in our lives, as we wait on the Lord.

When we examine one of the words translated “patience”, we see a compound word meaning “to stay, remain, abide”, literally abiding under. The verb form means to stay under (behind), i.e. remain; figuratively, to undergo, i.e. bear (trials), have fortitude, to persevere — abide, endure, suffer, tarry behind.

The root idea of the noun is that of remaining under some discipline, subjecting oneself to something which demands the yielding of the will to something against which one naturally would rebel.  It means cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy — enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting). It is a bearing up in a way that honors and glorifies our heavenly Father, not merely to grin and bear it.

James 5:11 provides an excellent example of the word for patience being used as a verband as a noun. The New Living Translation offers this rendering containing a familiar phrase that encompasses a character trait most often associated with Job:

11 We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.

The Book of Job is a classic example of the principle of first usage and first spiritual principle, which highlights as particularly important the first time that a concept is mentioned in the Bible.  It is believed by E.W. Bullinger and other Bible scholars that the first book written was the Book of Job, believed to have been composed by Moses. Job, whom Chuck Swindoll described as a “man of heroic endurance,” was, indeed, a real person, and his story is one of the first demonstrations of many spiritual principles, one being that God is “full of compassion and tender mercy” and that he rewards those who demonstrate “patience.” Although it is said that “Patience is its own reward,” God also rewards patience, as so clearly demonstrated at the end the Book of Job. Recall Job 42:10:

And the LORD turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends: also the

LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Hebrews 10:36 (AMP) also reinforces the message that patience precedes what one is striving to achieve:

For you have need of patient endurance [to bear up under difficult circumstances without compromising], so that when you have carried out the will of God, you may receive and enjoy to the full what is promised.

Previously, while working on a teaching related to patience, I read about an apple orchard run by “Farmer Johnson” in Washington State, an individual with whom I spiritually identified. Reading about the apples produced by this individual also inspired the following poem which opens with Hebrews 6:12, another reference using “patient endurance” or patience.

Farmer Johnson

Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent.

Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going

to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.

Hebrews 6:12

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.


Lyrics by Joseph H. Gilmore

Farmer Johnson owns orchards in Washington State.
His apples are renowned and said to be the best.
As scriptures remind us to labor and to rest,
This Farmer Johnson is patient and learns to wait
For the bountiful fruit of his harvest season.
Patience now abounds to complete and perfect me,
As I walk by faith, despite all that I may see.
I assess my times and unfold the real reason
For all the trials and seeming setbacks that came.
At times I felt as though being torn asunder
But like Job, I still abide and bear up under.
God yet delivers those who call upon His name.
Committed to go wherever the Lord shall send,
A faithful follower, I endure to the end.

As a youngster I recall singing this hymn “He Leadeth Me” countless times, performed here by the Michael Curb Congregation.

Following and leading

July 14, 2016

John 15--10

From John 15:10 (AMP) comes the Verse of the Day for July 14, 2016:

If you keep My commandments and obey My teaching, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.

Jesus Christ provides the perfect example of obedience and love that we should follow. In other places in the Gospels, the Lord also speaks of the importance of following:

Matthew 16:24

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

One of the metaphors used by Jesus Christ is that of being the Good Shepherd, as John 10:27 reveals this truth:

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

Paul also encourages believers to follow him, just as he follows Christ:

 

1 Corinthians 11:1:

Be ye followers of me, even as I also [am] of Christ.

1 John 2:3-6 (NLT) also speaks of the keeping the commandments as a demonstration of love, as we walk in love, just as Christ walked in love:

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

1 Peter 2:21 (NLT) emphasizes the necessity of following Christ’s example:

For God called you to do good, even if it means sufferingjust as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.

In reflecting on the Verse of the Day and other verses related to “following,” a number of songs associated with “leading” and “following” come to mind. I recall two children’s ministry songs that were sung as a medley:

The Lord knows the way to the wilderness,

All I need to do is follow.

 

The Lord knows the way to the wilderness,

All I need to do is follow.

 

These lyrics were followed by this chorus:

Following Jesus, ever day by day,

Nothing can harm me since He knows the way.

Sunshine or shadow, whatever befall.

Jesus, my Savior, is my all and all.

Growing up in the church, I recall lyrics to a number of “vintage hymns” related to leading and following, but one in particular stands out: “He leadeth Me” by Joseph Gilmore:

Psalmsandhymns.org reveals the circumstances behind Gilmore’s writing of this beloved song:

As a young man I recently had been graduated from Brown University and Newton Theological Institution, I was supplying for a couple of Sundays the pulpit of the First Baptist Church in Philadelphia. 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 sprinted. 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 last two lines of the chorus, “His faithful foll’wer I would be, for by His hand he leadeth me” as he put it to music.

Candi Pearson offers this classic rendering of this great hymn of the Christian Church:

 

Three poems from Hebrews 6

November 2, 2015

Hebrews 6--10 In this past Sunday morning’s message at Christian Provision Ministries in Sanford, NC, Bishop Charles Mellette delivered a powerful teaching, as part of a series: “God is Our Source.” This particular lesson offered the subtitle: “Help is on the Way” and provided this objective: “to empower and encourage you to trust God in challenging times.” In the course of the teaching, Bishop Mellette focused on three verses from Hebrews 6:10-12. I wrote in my notes to check out the three poems that I had written a few years, inspired by these very verses.

As I read over the poems, I noted that they are part of a collection connected to “Knowing God’s Will.” In fact, the three poetic works were part of a series that I called a “Triptych on the Will of God.” OxfordDictionaries.com offers this definition of the term “triptych”: “A set of three associated artistic, literary, or musical works intended to be appreciated together.” WordNet 3.6 provides this definition of triptych art, as “art consisting of a painting or carving (especially an altarpiece) on three panels (usually hinged together).” Here is an example taken from the same source:

ONE LEAF OF A TRIPTYCH IN CATHEDRAL OF SEVILLE

ONE LEAF OF A TRIPTYCH IN CATHEDRAL OF SEVILLE

The three attached poems in my triptych are inspired by quotations and verses from Hebrews 6:10-12

A Reminder: God Is Faithful

 

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love,

which ye have shown toward his name,

in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

Hebrews 6:10

The good deeds that you have done may not be extolled

When the fervor of God’s love has long since grown cold.

Some quickly forget all the good that you have done

And fail to recall that you were the only one

To answer the call, seek the Lord and intercede.

Time after time you were the one to meet the need.

When others were busy and chose to walk away,

You were there and remained in the thick of the fray.

In dark times when words of thanks are distant memories,

Recall that God knows all things, for He alone sees

Your labor and saves all the tears that you have shed.

Our Father is ever mindful of how you serve,

And He shall reward you beyond all you deserve.

As you strive to finish your course, have no regret:

Our God is faithful–He will never forget.

Hebrews 6:10 is graphically illustrated in this video clip:

The second in the series takes its title from a familiar gospel song that I vividly recall in my formative years in the 1950s along with the second verse from Hebrews 6:

This Far by Faith

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence                            

to the full assurance of hope until the end,                               

Hebrews 6:11

                                        

“We have come this far by faith.”

Traditional Black Gospel Song

 

Though we see truth, there is still the rest of the story,

As we strive to be all that God called us to be.

Created to be to the praise of His glory,

We walk by faith and not by what we can see.

We now rise above to view life from God’s grand scope:

Each day our faith will increase and not diminish.

With diligence to the full assurance of hope,

We will complete our course, striving toward the finish.

A great cloud of witnesses surround us to cheer

Us on from faith to faith and victory to victory.

The mighty hand of our gracious God brought us here,

For such a time as this—behold our destiny.

As we press toward the mark, we must not lose our gait.

Lyrics remind us “We have come this far by faith.”

Voices of Hope, a wonderful choir from Los Angeles under the direction of Thurston Frazier offer the title selection:

The third poem in the series was inspired as I was working on an article related to patience, as the fruit of the spirit that was in season at the time that I wrote it. Entitled “Farmer Johnson,” the poem is also related to the passage on patience found in James 5:7-9 which speaks of the farmer who plants, patiently waiting for the bountiful harvest. In the poem I also make reference to an actual apple orchard. Most remarkably, I also came across an endorsement from someone who had sampled the apples from “Farmer Johnson Apple Orchards” in Washington State. The individual commented, “I have had the opportunity to try all the varieties of Farmer Johnson apples, they are the best apples I have ever tasted. Fresh, crisp…. the perfect apple.” I couldn’t help but smile, as I reflected upon my desire to be “neither barren nor unfruitful” but to be productive and highly fruitful in all my endeavors. Just as apples are now in season in the natural at “Farmer Johnson’s Apple Orchards”, so in the spirit, patience is the fruit I am endeavoring to perfect during this my present season. Hebrews 6:12 serves as the introductory verse along with lyrics from a familiar hymn “He Leadeth Me”

Farmer Johnson

That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who

through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Hebrews 6:12

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.

Lyrics by Joseph H. Gilmore

Farmer Johnson owns orchards in Washington State.

His apples are renowned and said to be the best.

As scriptures remind us to labor and to rest,

This Farmer Johnson is patient and learns to wait

For the bountiful fruit of his harvest season.

Patience now abounds to complete and perfect me,

As I walk by faith, despite all that I may see,

I assess my times and unfold the real reason

For all the trials and seeming setbacks that came.

At times I felt as though being torn asunder

But like Job, I still abide and bear up under.

God yet delivers those who call upon His name.

Committed to go wherever the Lord shall send,

A faithful follower, enduring to the end.

The last line brings to mind another vintage hymn from childhood days and beyond: “He Leadeth Me,” as iworship offers a stirring rendition of this memorable song:

A Reminder: God is faithful

May 18, 2015

Hebrews_6-10

The Verse of the Day for May 18, 2015 is found in Hebrews 6:10 (NIV):

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

While reflecting upon this particular verse, I recall a poem that I had written inspired by verse 10 of Hebrews 6. As I was preparing to send a framed copy of the poem to two of my cousins, I realized that I had also written poems inspired by Hebrews 6:11-12 as well.

These three poems formed what is called a “triptych,” which OxfordDictionaries.com defines as, “a set of three associated artistic, literary, or musical works intended to be appreciated together.” WordNet 3.6 provides this definition of triptych art, as “art consisting of a painting or carving (especially an altarpiece) on three panels (usually hinged together).” Here is an example of one panel of a triptych carved from wood with three sections on each leaf.

triptych altar

Each of the three poems that form my triptych is also accompanied by a musical selection related to that work.

A Reminder: God Is Faithful

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

Hebrews 6:10

The good deeds that you have done may not be extolled

When the fervor of God’s love has long since grown cold.

Some quickly forget all the good that you have done

And fail to recall that you were the only one

To answer the call, seek the Lord and intercede.

Time after time you were the one to meet the need.

When others were busy and chose to walk away,

You were there and remained in the thick of the fray.

In dark times when words of thanks are distant memories,

Recall that God knows all things, for He alone sees

Your labor and saves all the tears that you have shed.

Our Father is ever mindful of how you serve,

And He shall reward you beyond all you deserve.

As you strive to finish your course, have no regret:

Our God is faithful–He will never forget.

Here is a graphic illustration of Hebrews 6:10:

Growing up in the 1950s in Gary, IN, I have fond musical memories from the “Golden Age of Gospel Music.” One of the most popular songs of this period was “We’ve Come This Far by Faith,” a selection often used a processional for morning services at countless black churches across the country. The opening line of the renowned gospel favorite is part of the inspiration for this poem:

This Far by Faith

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence  

to the full assurance of hope until the end,                                                    

Hebrews 6:11

“We have come this far by faith.”  

Traditional Black Gospel Song

 

Though we see truth, there is still the rest of the story,

As we strive to be all that God called us to be,

Created to be to the praise of His glory,

We walk by faith and not by what we can see.

We now rise above to view life from God’s grand scope:

Each day our faith will increase and not diminish.

With diligence to the full assurance of hope,

We will complete our course, striving toward the finish.

A great cloud of witnesses surround us to cheer

Us on from faith to faith and victory to victory.

The mighty hand of our gracious God brought us here,

For such a time as this—behold our destiny.

As we press toward the mark, we must not lose our gait.

Lyrics remind us “We have come this far by faith.”

Voices of Hope, a choir from Los Angeles under the direction of Thurston Frazier, offer a rendition of one of the most popular gospel songs of the Fifties and Sixties.

While working on a teaching related to patience as an illustration of the fruit that was in season at that particular time of my life, I read about an apple orchard that was run by Farmer Johnson in Washington State. Reading about the apples produced by this individual also inspired the following poem:

Farmer Johnson

That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who

through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Hebrews 6:12

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.

Lyrics by Joseph H. Gilmore

Farmer Johnson owns orchards in Washington State.

His apples are renowned and said to be the best.

As scriptures remind us to labor and to rest,

This Farmer Johnson is patient and learns to wait

For the bountiful fruit of his harvest season.

Patience now abounds to complete and perfect me,

As I walk by faith, despite all that I may see.

I assess my times and unfold the real reason

For all the trials and seeming setbacks that came.

At times I felt as though being torn asunder

But like Job, I still abide and bear up under.

God yet delivers those who call upon His name.

Committed to go wherever the Lord shall send,

A faithful follower, I endure to the end.

As a youngster I recall singing this hymn “He Leadeth Me” countless times, performed here by the Michael Curb Congregation.