He Leadeth Me
“He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.”
“Marvelous grace of our loving Lord!” Two tiny pronouns tied together by a mighty verb. Naturally these two pronouns are as far apart as the poles of the universe. But for the fact of restoration made possible through the redemption of the Lamb of God, He could not lead us. He would have nothing in common with us, for He cannot have fellowship with darkness. He voluntarily bridged the mighty gulf of death, separating God and man, with His own bruised body. The veil of the temple was rent in twain, letting man into God and letting God’s glory out to man. Man can again walk and talk with His Maker. The Saviour-Shepherd can lead us again “in the paths of righteousness.” Were it not for the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” we would not have had this glorious psalm. We would not have had the story of Enoch who walked with God for three hundred years. All of God’s great dealings with mankind since the fall were made possible through the “slain Lamb.”
He Personally Leads Me
How amazing that He spoke the suns and stars into space, and set them spinning along celestial paths, and shepherds them in their courses, is my Shepherd and reigns to personally lead me. Guardian angels we may have along life’s dangerous ways, but here we are told that our Lord Himself leads us. This is too much for our small minds to grasp. How can He in person lead His many sheep? How can He love and care for each of us as adequately as if He had only one sheep to care for? I have no answer. According to astronomy, the 2,400 millions of human beings which crowd our earth are a mere sprinkle in number when compared to the myriads of suns spinning far out in the depths of space. (Sir James Jeans estimated that there are probably as many suns in the heavens as there are grains of sand on all the seashores in the world) . The Psalmist says, concerning our Sovereign-Shepherd, “He telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power. His understanding is infinite.” Ps. 147:4,5. Our Good Shepherd “Calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Mt. 10:30. How majestic and how minute is the care of our Shepherd.
HE LEADETH THEM OUT
He leadeth them out, and His sheep gladly follow,
Content to be near Him, where’er it may be,
No longing have they for the world or its pleasure,
While His voice they can hear, and His face they can see.
The voice of the stranger can never allure them
Away from their Shepherd, away from His fold;
His voice to them, of all voices, the sweetest,
His love far more precious than diamond or gold.
He leads, and they follow, where dangers are hidden;
O’er paths that are lonely, where deep waters flow.
The touch of His hand gives strength for the journey,
As onward and upward and homeward they go.
Tho’ pressed in the conflict, and often so weary,
They know He is near them, each burden to share,
And “filled with the Spirit,” they see in the distance
The light of the City, that lieth four square.
He leads and they follow, His reproach gladly bearing
The cross, all their glory, come joy or come pain,
In humble submission, by service or silence,
No haste, and no worry, impatience or strain.
How precious to know that He goeth before us:
By faith we can follow, where our eyes may not see,
Mid doctrines of demons and men, so confusing,
We hear His voice whisper, “My Child, follow Me.”
— Alfred Easterbrook —
He Leadeth Me Personally
Not only does our Shepherd Himself lead us, but He leads us personally, or individually. He leadeth me. He does not lead us in groups and clubs, but He leads us as individuals. God’s little saints have often had to suffer as a result of this fact. When God wants some special task accomplished He never seeks out a group, a church, or a club to perform it. He finds a Noah, an Abraham, a Joseph, a Moses, a Paul, a Luther, a Wesley, or a Booth whom He can lead out and away from the crowd. Every such divinely directed person has been cruelly branded as a fanatical fool by carnal religion. Many have had to pay off for their supposed foolhardiness by going to prison, to the stake, or else crucified upon unseen crosses. Just as each luminary of the heavens has its own particular path through the illimitable fields of space, so each follower of our Lord has his divinely chosen course. Here we, like Peter, are prone to say, And Lord, what shall this man do?” Jesus’ answer is, “What is that to thee? follow thou Me.” It is so much more convenient to go with the crowd, but those who follow Christ must take up their cross of being singled out. We are His property therefore have no right to choose our course. It is blessed to leave the choice to Him.
Our Shepherd always leads His sheep in the “paths of righteousness.” Any so-called leadings which are contrary to this rule are not of the Lord. Many who have claimed the personal leadership of the Lord have brought disgrace to the subject of divine guidance by their actions which were contrary to the way of righteousness. Some folk have tried to claim that the Lord led them in the matter of taking the companion of another party. This is a shameful lie. The Lord never leads anyone contrary to the truth contained in the Bible. The Lord never leads anyone to split off and make trouble for another chosen worker of God. He never leads anyone along the path of selfishness. He never leads anyone to blacken the name of another by spreading slander, or by peddling rumors. Let us beware of our words and of our deeds when we testify of the Lord’s leadings.
We cannot always see the way by which our Lord leads us. Those who are unprepared to follow except as they can see their way will never go very far with our Shepherd. Abraham followed “not knowing whither he went.” It is often dark around us, and disturbing voices call out from the misty shadows which hang low along our trail. The hounds of hell are barking and snapping at our heels, and would devour us if they could. Envy and jealousy stalk in rage along the way. We dare not stop to explain our position, nor to defend our innocence, lest we lose contact with our Leader who ever onward moves.
How strange it seems that the paths of righteousness should be so besieged by beasts of evil design, but so it was with our Shepherd as He, the sinless Son of God walked through the wilderness of this world. Envy, jealousy, slander, hatred, and murderous intent hounded Him on every hand. This came from those from whom He should have received commendation and praise. He was hated most by those to whom He came first to bless. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” Christian, of Pilgrim’s Progress, traveled this trail with the Saviour-Shepherd, and was likewise assailed by lions and ravenous beasts of the wilderness. He often trembled as He went, but was later comforted to find that these devouring wayside beasts were chained. They could come so near, but no nearer.
How blessed it is to know that the evil design of men and devils can never harm a saint of God who closely follows his Shepherd. “All these things are against me,” so we may think and speak, but God says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.”
The world’s most perfect type of Christ was Joseph. Not a blemish on his character. He, too, was led forth in devious ways by our Shepherd’s hand. All his days he walked in paths of righteousness, yet his way was not strewn with flowers. He was hated, dungeoned, and sold as a slave by his jealous brethren; served as slave in the land of darkened Egypt; shamefully tempted and mercilessly lied upon by a vile woman; served years of unjust punishment in a criminal’s prison. On and on he went with his Shepherd guide without a natural hopeful way of light. Every earthly support was denied him, and not one person of earth left to whom he could tell his heartaches. Dark and lonely were the many nights spent by this servant of God while exiled from his father and home, and yet he did not falter nor question the judgment of his Shepherd. . The record says, “But God was with Joseph.” Repeatedly this word is found. Note the prophetic blessing of Jacob: “Joseph is a fruitful bough even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall. The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: but his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel:) Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: the blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.” Gen. 49:22-26.
After the death of Jacob the brethren of Joseph bowed before him in fear, “and Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me: but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” Note the words, “But God meant it unto good.” God always knows how to turn Satan’s worst unto the best for us and others.
For His Name’s Sake
There are no idle purposes in the leadings of our Lord. He is leading us for our good, the good of others, and for the praise of His glory — “For His Name’s Sake.” The name and honor of our Shepherd is at stake. Should just one of His promises fail for one of the least of His followers, His record would be ruined. He must keep His word. He is honor-bound to work all things for the good of those who love Him. Joshua, the servant of the Lord, had come to the day of his death. The leaders of Israel were present to catch his parting message. He said, ” … not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you, all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing has failed thereof.” Joshua 23:14.
Our Saviour-Shepherd has a particular plan and purpose for each of His sheep, nor is His plan limited to the small space which we call time. He has a plan for us which extends on out in the ages to come. Each of His followers is a part of the eternal plan of God. Oh, that every believer might see this truth and act his part. Suffering saints in every age of the world have played their part in the drama of our eternal King. What, though their part may have been to burn at the stake, be devoured by wild beasts, to be broiled on coals of fire, to have limb torn from limb on the rack, to linger long in dungeons of darkness, to die at the point of the spear, to suffer martyrdom at the hands of cruel savages, or to be martyred by the shameful slander of a poison tongue, our Shepherd turns all to His eternal glory, and to the everlasting good of His saints.
Madame Guyon said, “Many people want to direct God, instead of resigning themselves to be directed by Him. To show Him a way, instead of passively following where He leads.”
Our Shepherd sees the end from the beginning and plans accordingly. He faces no emergencies, no accidents, and no surprise attacks from the enemy. Until we learn this truth from experience we are tempted to tremble with fear when we face perplexing problems. Because our Lord makes no demonstration and never becomes illustrated, we are inclined to feel that He has forgotten to care for us when the going is hard. We think that He must do something drastic in the hour of great need. We are wont to say with those other tempest-tried disciples, “Master, carest Thou not that we perish?” If they had believed His words they could not have feared, for He said, “Go to the other side of the lake,” not to the middle and drown. Without fear of frustration our Lord has already provided for all the exigencies of our lives.
In the year 1939, I met a beloved Brother in England. He asked me to come to Glasgow on a certain date and to take a certain train from London. At that particular time I was not in position to give an emphatic answer as to whether I could come on that date. The good Brother was to be in another city, so I was to let him know my plans. Later I wrote to him that I could be in Glasgow on the date he had requested, but I was not at all certain that he would be able to get my message before leaving the address he had given to me. On the day appointed I was aboard the train, but was assailed by Satan that afternoon. My enemy suggested that the message didn’t reach the man in time, and even if it did we were not well acquainted with each other, therefore I would be faced with the problem of finding this man in the crowd at the station. In England and Scotland one steps directly from his particular car on to the platform which is level with the floor of the train. My train was a very long one. Where would my friend be in relation to the car I was riding in? Finally I was able to successfully resist Satan in the Name of Jesus, then rested at ease. Upon stepping from my car (here stood my friend, as though he had known what number I would be riding in.
We went together to the home where I was to be entertained. One of the first things in the room to draw my attention was this motto: “HE WILL SILENTLY PLAN FOR THEE.” How precious were those words!
“He will silently plan for thee,
Happy child of a Father’s care,
As though no other claimed His love,
But thou alone to Him wert dear.”
“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eyes.” Ps. 32.8.