Sun, Dec 14, 2008

OUR HEAVENLY FATHER! NUMBERS 33:1-15

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Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
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OUR HEAVENLY FATHER!
NUMBERS 33:1-15

            Please turn in your Bibles this morning to Numbers chapter 33 as we look at the journey’s of the children of Israel during those 40 years from Egypt to the boarder of the Promise Land. Now that topic many not sound too encouraging or exciting to you. In fact, as you look at some of these place names you may be thinking, “Why did I come today of all days?” Because God has brought you.  He brought you here not to punish you but to bless you. I truly believe that God has a blessing for you this morning and I believe every time we gather He has a blessing.

            Now, before we get to our text this morning here in Numbers chapter 33, let me share with you this true story of the hitchhiker. We are told:

Roger Simms, hitchhiking his way home, would never forget the date—May 7. His heavy suitcase made Roger tired. He was anxious to take off his army uniform once and for all. Flashing the hitchhiking sign to the oncoming car, he lost hope when he saw it was a black, sleek, new Cadillac. To his surprise the car stopped. The passenger door opened. He ran toward the car, tossed his suitcase in the back, and thanked the handsome, well-dressed man as he slid into the front seat. “Going home for keeps?” “Sure am,” Roger responded. “Well, you’re in luck if you’re going to Chicago.” “Not quite that far. Do you live in Chicago?” “I have a business there. My name is Hanover.”

After talking about many things, Roger, a Christian, felt a compulsion to witness to this fiftyish, apparently successful businessman about Christ. But he kept putting it off, till he realized he was just thirty minutes from his home. It was now or never. So, Roger cleared his throat, “Mr. Hanover, I would like to talk to you about something very important.” He then proceeded to explain the way of salvation, ultimately asking Mr. Hanover if he would like to receive Christ as his Savior. To Roger’s astonishment the Cadillac pulled over to the side of the road. Roger thought he was going to be ejected from the car. But the businessman bowed his head and received Christ, then thanked Roger. “This is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.”

Five years went by, Roger married, had a two-year-old boy, and a business of his own. Packing his suitcase for a business trip to Chicago, he found the small, white business card Hanover had given him five years before. In Chicago he looked up Hanover Enterprises. A receptionist told him it was impossible to see Mr. Hanover, but he could see Mrs. Hanover. A little confused as to what was going on, he was ushered into a lovely office and found himself facing a keen-eyed woman in her fifties. She extended her hand. “You knew my husband?” Roger told how her husband had given him a ride when hitchhiking home after the war.

“Can you tell me when that was?” “It was May 7, five years ago, the day I was discharged from the army.” “Anything special about that day?” Roger hesitated. Should he mention giving his witness? Since he had come so far, he might as well take the plunge. “Mrs. Hanover, I explained the gospel. He pulled over to the side of the road and wept against the steering wheel. He gave his life to Christ that day.” Explosive sobs shook her body. Getting a grip on herself, she sobbed, “I had prayed for my husband’s salvation for years. I believed God would save him.” “And,” said Roger, “Where is your husband, Mrs. Hanover?” “He’s dead,” she wept, struggling with words. “He was in a car crash after he let you out of the car. He never got home. You see—I thought God had not kept His promise.” Sobbing uncontrollably, she added, “I stopped living for God five years ago because I thought He had not kept His word!”

- J. Kirk Johnston, Why Christians Sin, pp. 39-41

            That truly is what we will be looking at this morning because I believe it is easy to come to the conclusion that God has forgotten about you, that He doesn’t know what you are going through, that He really doesn’t care what happens to you. Obviously that is wrong, it is a wrong conclusion to come to and when things are going well for us we truly don’t believe these things. We do believe that God has not forgotten about us, that He knows exactly what we are going through, that He truly cares what happens to us, that He loves us. But when things get tough, when things happen we don’t understand, when the heat is turned up, we loose the perspective and come to some very wrong conclusions about our Heavenly Father! That is what happened to this woman until God opened her eyes and then she saw the love of her Heavenly Father for her and her husband!

            I don’t know what all of you are going through this morning, but my prayer as you leave here hearing God’s Word, opened up to you by His Spirit, that you would be encouraged and truly believe God is aware of everything you are going through. He has a plan for your life. With that said, let’s begin reading in Numbers chapter 33, starting in verse 1 and see what the Lord has for us this morning as we study His Word, as we look at OUR HEAVENLY FATHER!

NUMBERS 33:1-15

            I know, pretty exciting stuff so far.  Do you want me to read all 49 verses dealing with their journeys? I didn’t think so. I am sure you don’t want to hear me mess up these place names any more.  But I do believe this is an important portion of Scripture, maybe not a devotional section for you, but there are some lessons we can learn and apply to our lives.

            I would like to focus on three areas this morning on what our Heavenly Father is doing in our lives.  First we will look at, OUR HEAVENLY FATHER REMEMBERS WHERE WE HAVE BEEN.  Then we will look at, OUR HEAVENLY FATHER REPRESSES OUR SIN. And we will conclude by looking at, OUR HEAVENLY FATHER RECEIVES US INTO HEAVEN.  You see, we not only need to know these truths, but we need to believe them, apply them to our life, and as you do I believe God will encourage you to forge ahead as you travel down the path He has set for you!

1.  OUR HEAVENLY FATHER REMEMBERS WHERE WE HAVE BEEN

            Do you remember what you did, where you went to 20 years ago?  Okay, how about 10 years ago?  Maybe that is still too far in the past, how about 5 years ago? Still having trouble remembering?  I remember Julie and I were with another couple a few months back and she was telling us about this memory pill she was taking and she said, “Now what was the name of that pill?” I couldn’t stop laughing but the reality is, we do have a hard time remembering things. Think about it, do you remember what you did last week, where you went? You see, we do tend to forget about the places we have been.

            But not our Heavenly Father, he remembers each place we have been and when we were there.  I love what Paul wrote in Hebrews 6:10, For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. In other words, God remembers our work, our travels, the things we are doing for Him down to the tiniest detail. In fact, He remembers it all!

            Do you believe that God is leading you step by step and He is not only leading you but He is recording your travels? He is!  Do you remember those slide projectors and those family vacation pictures you were invited to view! Some of you are flinching when I said that probably because you had a flashback of those several hundred pictures you had to view of your friend’s vacation from beginning to end!

            We might not like it, we might not be too excited to relive those memories, but our Heavenly Father has no problem remembering with joy the places we have stopped along the way, pitched our tents you might say on our journey with Him. Think about all those verses here, from Egypt to the boarder of the Promise Land, forty years of traveling, pitching their tents, lots of pictures you might say and God remembers them all, He documents every one of them!

            Now that life journey that we are on can be scary, not knowing what to expect. But listen to these words of Jesus in Matthew 10:28-31, And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

            We see God’s love for nature, for the sparrows and then He tells us we are more important to Him, more valuable to Him than the sparrows!  How can we be sure of this? Because He tells us that He has numbered every hair on our head!  And folks, He keeps count of them. “There goes number 12, number 48 fell out, there goes number 3,012, and wow, 300-500, that is going to leave a mark!” But do you see that, He not only numbers the hairs on our head but He keeps an accurate count of which ones are left and which ones are gone!

            Now I do realize that this seems pretty insignificant to count, to number the hairs on our head and I guess it is. Folks, that is the point. If God cares that much about the hairs on our heads don’t you think He cares more about our lives, our travels, the paths that we are taking in life? Of course He does!

            Think of it like this in regards to our total confidence in Christ as this story illustrates for us. We are told:

One day, while my son Zac and I were out in the country, climbing around in some cliffs, I heard a voice from above me yell, “Hey Dad! Catch me!” I turned around to see Zac joyfully jumping off a rock straight at me. He had jumped and then yelled “Hey Dad!” I became an instant circus act, catching him. We both fell to the ground. For a moment after I caught him I could hardly talk. When I found my voice again I gasped in exasperation: “Zac! Can you give me one good reason why you did that"??”

He responded with remarkable calmness: “Sure...because you’re my Dad.” His whole assurance was based in the fact that his father was trustworthy. He could live life to the hilt because I could be trusted. Isn’t this even more true for a Christian?

- Tim Hansel, Holy Sweat, pp. 46-47

            In knowing that truth, can we walk by faith, trusting in the Lord on our journeys, knowing that He will remember the places we have been, the things we have done. Yes, we may forget, the world may not care, but our Heavenly Father cares deeply and He won’t forget!  And He not only remembers where we have been, but one day He will reward us for the things that we have done.

Jesus put it like this in Matthew 10:38-42, And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.

            Yes, the path we are on may be difficult, but God is aware and do you know that the safest place to be is in the center of God’s will in the midst of the storm and the most dangerous place to be is outside His will in the calm of the day!  Folks, it all boils down to this and I like the way that J. I Packer put it in his book, Knowing God. He wrote:

            What matters supremely, therefore, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it – that He knows me. I am graven on the palms of His hands. I am never out of His mind. All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know Him because He first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is no moment when His eye is off me, or His attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when His care falters. This is momentous knowledge. There is unspeakable comfort . . . in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love and watching over me for my good.

There is tremendous relief in knowing that His love is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion Him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench His determination to bless me.

- J. I. Packer, Knowing God

            Thus, every stop that we make along the way we are traveling, every place we have pitched our tent, every time we pull up stakes to move on, God remembers because He loves us, He cares about our lives and He will reward us one day. And so, may we always remember that OUR HEAVENLY FATHER REMEMBERS WHERE WE HAVE BEEN!

2.  OUR HEAVENLY FATHER REPRESSES OUR SIN

            As you look and study this chapter here in Numbers there is something that is missing and we will see that in a minute. First, let’s look at what we do see in this chapter. In Numbers 33:3-4 we see the children of Israel leave their bondage in Egypt. Then, in Numbers 33:5-8 we see the children of Israel pass through the midst of the Red Sea.

            As they continue on their journey, in Numbers 33:9-15 they travel from Marah to Mount Sinai. It is here that God gave to them His Law, the instructions for building the tabernacle, the establishment of the priesthood and the sacrificial system and-so-on. As they continue on in their journey, in Numbers 33:16-36 they go from Mount Sinai to Kadesh Barnea, on the boarder of the Promise Land. And we see the conclusion of their journey so far in Numbers 33:37-49 as they travel from Kadesh Barnea to the Jordan River, on the east side, with the Promise Land on the other side, the land of Canaan!

            As you read through this it does seem very detailed but there is something very huge, something very big that has been left out by God.  What is that huge omission? Well, first of all it is not an oversight, it is not that God forgot to put it in here, He just choose not to. What is it?  It is all those years of wandering in the wilderness in unbelief, all their sins that they committed against God. In fact, it really covered a period of time of forty years of sin. But God does not record one little sin in all those forty years!

            Why was God so detailed in recording every place they traveled during those forty years and not record any of their sins, which were many? Not even one is mentioned, not one record, not one memory as far as He is concerned. Folks, that is the God we serve. Yes, he remembers every place where we have been but He forgets about our sin, He does not keep a record of them, not one of them. We do and it eats at us, but He doesn’t!

            Why doesn’t God remember our sins? Why does God repress our sins in a sense? Because they have been paid in full by the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. All of our sins have been paid in full and all we must do to receive that pardon is to receive it by faith, to ask Jesus to be our Lord and our Savior!

            Paul put it like this in Colossians 2:13-14, And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

You see, we were all spiritually dead in our trespasses and sins before we came to Christ!  Think of it like this, we were not sick in need of a doctor, but we were dead in need of a Savior, in need of Jesus!  And thus, God stepped in; paying in full the penalty for our sins and brought our spirits back to life so we could have fellowship with God once again!  In Isaiah 1:18 we are told, ‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ Says the LORD, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.’  The Living Bible puts it this way, ‘Come, let's talk this over!’ says the Lord; ‘no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool!’

            This is a rational choice on our part. Once we see ourselves as sinners separated from God, our only hope, our only answer is Jesus, the Savior of the world and it doesn’t matter how bad you were, you are cleansed by Him, washed as white as snow!  Not only that, but God forgave us of all our transgressions, all our sins.  Paul uses the Greek word CHARIZOMAI (khar-id’-zo-ahee) and it is the verb form of the ancient Greek word CHARIS or grace!  Thus, we are forgiven or saved by grace through faith!

            This handwriting of requirements was the debt a person owed and the debt of sin condemned us to Hell, it was against us.  And God has come, taken all our sins, nailed them to the cross, and they are completely taken away, and the paper which contained all our debts has written on it TETELESTAI or paid in full!  But what about this sin or that sin we have committed?  TETELESTAI!  Jesus completed the work for us and all we must do is receive the free gift by faith!

And thus, all of our sins have been cast as far as the east is from the west, to be remembered no more. I realize that this is a hard concept for many to believe, but that is exactly what the Scriptures teach us.  In Psalm 103:12 we are told, As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.  And in Isaiah 43:25 we are told, I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.  Do you see how clear that is? I hope you do, all of our sins have been cast as far as the east is from the west to be remembered no more and thus, don’t go fishing for them!  Believe it by faith, believe what God is saying and rejoice in what He has done!

God not only represses our sins but He even warns us of the dangers that are out there so we don’t fall prey to them.  We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone but we still sin. Yes, God sees us as perfect in Christ in a positional sense, but in a practical sense we deal with sin every day and God warns us not to go down those paths as this true story illustrates for us. We are told:

Several years ago an eastern paper reported this story:

One evening a woman was driving home when she noticed a huge truck behind her that was driving uncomfortably close. She stepped on the gas to gain some distance from the truck, but when she sped up, the truck did too. The faster she drove, the faster the truck did.

Now scared, she exited the freeway. But the truck stayed with her. The woman then turned up a main street, hoping to lose her pursuer in traffic. But the truck ran a red light and continued the chase.

Reaching the point of panic, the woman whipped her car into a service station and bolted out of her auto screaming for help. The truck driver sprang from his truck and ran toward her car. Yanking the back door open, the driver pulled out a man hidden in the back seat.

The woman was running from the wrong person. From his high vantage point, the truck driver had spotted a would be rapist in the woman's car. The chase was not his effort to harm her but to save her even at the cost of his own safety.

Likewise, many people run from God, fearing what he might do to them. But his plans are for good not evil-to rescue us from the hidden sins that endanger our lives.

             - Illustrations For Preaching & Teaching, Editor Craig Brian Larson, p. 98

            Instead of running from God, afraid of what He might do, may we run to God, into His loving arms because He knows what is best for our lives and He wants to protect us. You see, our Heavenly Father loves us so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross of Calvary for our sins, for as His blood was shed our sins were made as white as snow, they were covered by the blood!

            It is as Jesus said in John 3:16-21, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.

            Folks, look at the price our Heavenly Father paid, the price our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ paid to repress our sin, to clean our mess! That is true love, we don’t deserve it and yet,OUR HEAVENLY FATHER REPRESSES OUR SIN!

3.  OUR HEAVENLY FATHER RECEIVES US INTO HEAVEN

            I think most of us if not all of us here this morning believe that God has saved you –SALVATION.  I think you believe that God is working in your life every step of the way, making you more like Him – SANCTIFICATION.  But do you also believe that one day He will receive you up into Heaven – GLORIFICATION? He will!  Yes, it is not always easy as this story illustrates for us, but He will complete the work He has begun in us. We are told:

The Barcelona Olympics of 1992 provided one of track and field's most incredible moments.

Britain's Derek Redmond had dreamed all his life of winning a gold medal in the 400-meter race, and his dream was in sight as the gun sounded in the semifinals at Barcelona. He was running the race of his life and could see the finish line as he rounded the turn into the backstretch. Suddenly he felt a sharp pain go up the back of his leg. He fell face first onto the track with a torn right hamstring.

Sports Illustrated recorded the dramatic events:

As the medical attendants were approaching, Redmond fought to his feet. "It was animal instinct,"' he would say later. He set out hopping, in a crazed attempt to finish the race. When he reached the stretch, a large man in a T-shirt came out of the stands, hurled aside a security guard and ran to Redmond, embracing him. It was Jim Redmond, Derek's father. "You don't have to do this," he told his weeping son. "Yes, I do," said Derek. "Well, then," said Jim, "we're going to finish this together." And they did. Fighting off security men, the son's head sometimes buried in his father's shoulder, they stayed in Derek's lane all the way to the end, as the crowd gasped, then rose and howled and wept.

Derek didn't walk away with the gold medal, but he walked away with an incredible memory of a father who, when he saw his son in pain, left his seat in the stands to help him finish the race.

That's what God does for us. When we are experiencing pain and we're struggling to finish the race, we can be confident that we have a loving Father who won't let us do it alone. He left His place in heaven to come alongside us in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. "I am with you always," says Jesus, "to the very end of the age" (Matt. 28:20).

- Wayne Rice, Hot Illustrations For Youth Talks, pp. 93-94.

            Just as this earthly father came alongside his son to help him through this difficult time so that his son can finish the race that he was in, so too our Heavenly Father comes alongside us to help us finish the race we are in and one day we will be received in glory! Paul put it like this in Philippians 1:6, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.  Has God begun a good work in you? If you are saved, He has. And thus, he will finish what He has started. Do you believe that? You need to, not just because I said it but because God did through Paul being inspired by the Holy Spirit!

            Listen to what we are told in Deuteronomy 1:30-31, The Lord your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you, according to all He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place.  God is telling the children of Israel that He went before them, he was leading them all the way and He will bring them into the Promise Land. The same is true for us, and the Promise Land is that Spirit-filled life and one day, as this life comes to an end, we will be home with the Lord!  He will not only save us through this life but on into the next life, the eternal life with Him!

            I do realize that some teach that we must hang in there or if we don’t, as our life comes to an end, then we won’t enter into eternity with the Lord but apart from Him.  That is wrong because then my salvation is based upon my good works and not the finished work of Christ!

            I know we have covered these verses before but they clearly teach that God saves us, sustains us and one day will take us to glory with Him based upon His faithfulness, not yours or mine!  In I Peter 1:3-9 we are told, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith — the salvation of your souls.

Keep in mind that this section deals with our salvation and as Peter speaks of what God does in our lives, what comes forth from the lips of Peter?  Praise unto God for His abundant mercy that He has bestowed upon us!  Now Jeremiah illustrates the problem for us as he tells us, Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?  Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.  Jeremiah 13:23.  Obviously an Ethiopian can’t change the color of his skin nor can a leopard change or remove his spots, it is part of their make-up.

What does that have to do with us?  Simply, apart from Christ we are dead in sin and the flesh controls our lives.  Thus, we can’t do anything good because it is not part of our nature apart from Christ.  You see, whoever is on the throne of your heart will be manifested in your actions.  Now here is the thing.  God has begotten us or we are born again in Christ.  That old flesh nature is now dead and the spirit controls us.  That is Paul’s point in II Corinthians 5:17.  Paul said, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  We are a new creation in Christ, not because we can change our ways, but God can and He has!

            Now think about our earthly inheritance, is it safe, is it everlasting, will it not fade away?  Of course not, nothing of this world will last, it is always moving from order to disorder, from new to rotting and decaying, from yours to someone else’s.  You can’t take it with you.  But look at our heavenly inheritance, it is incorruptible or it will not be destroyed, it will never be lost.  Our heavenly inheritance is undefiled or it is unstained or unpolluted.  And our heavenly inheritance will not fade away which speaks of a flower that does not wither and die.  The kingdom of this world, the things of this world, the things we tend to treasure and hold onto so tightly will all go away but what God has for us will not!

            And folks, if you think you can lose your salvation, think again because Peter tells us it is reserved in heaven for us. If God has a place reserved for us do you think He will lose it or give it away to someone else?  Of course not because our salvation is based upon His finished work, His faithfulness and all we must do to receive that gift is to receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior!

            Notice again that Peter says that we are kept or PHROUREO, (froo-reh’-o) in the Greek, and it was a military term used to refer to a garrison within the city.  (The same Greek word is used in Philippians 4:7).  If God is on guard over our salvation do you really think the enemy is going to be able to take it away?  Of course not.  Remember what Paul said in Philippians 1:6, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.  Do you see that, He will complete the work He has started in our lives!  Jesus said that He has lost none of us and I believe it! And what peace that should bring to each of us! And notice the end result – the salvation of our souls!  Praise the Lord and a big AMEN to that!  What a precious promise that OUR HEAVENLY FATHER RECEIVES US INTO HEAVEN!

            As I close this morning I hope you have seen the love of God for us. That our Heavenly Father REMEMBERSREPRESSES and RECEIVES!  He remembers where we have been, the things we have done. He represses our sins; He has cast them as far as the east is from the west to be remembered no more. And He will receive us into heaven one day; we will be in glory with Him!

            Thus, as you journey in this life, never forget what God has done, is doing and will do in your life! May you be encouraged to walk by faith as you trust in Him.  Let me leave you this morning with this poem that is called, Thy Way, Not Mine. It goes like this:

Thy Way, Not Mine

Thy way, not mine, O Lord,

However dark it be!

Lead me by Thine own hand,

Choose out the path for me.

Smooth let it be or rough,

It will be still the best;

Winding or straight, it leads,

Right onward to Thy rest.

I dare not choose my lot;

I would not, if I might;

Choose Thou for me, my God;

So shall I walk aright.

The kingdom that I seek

  Is Thine; so let the way

That leads to it be Thine;

Else I must surely stray.

Take Thou my cup, and it

With joy or sorrow fill,

As best to Thee may seem;

Choose Thou my good and ill.

Choose Thou for me my friends,

My sickness or my health;

Choose Thou my cares for me,

My poverty or wealth.

Not mine, not mine the choice,

In things or great or small;

Be Thou my guide, my strength,

My wisdom, and my all!

- Horatius Bonar, quoted in Donald T. Kauffman, Baker’s Pocket Treasury of Religious Verse

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