“LEAD ME GENTLY HOME, FATHER”

Wayne S. Walker

“For Thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore…lead me, and guide me”
(Psa. 31.3)

     INTRO.:  A song which asks God to lead us through this life to the
home that He has prepared for us is “Lead Me Gently Home, Father” (#60 in
“Hymns for Worship Revised”).  The text was written and the tune was
composed both by Will Lamartine Thompson (1847-1909).  A native of East
Liverpool, OH, he studied music at Mt. Union College in Alliance, OH, at
the Boston, MA, Conservatory of Music, and at Leipzig, Germany.
Establishing his own publishing firm in Chicago, IL, he produced several
collections containing numerous of his own songs, at first primarily
secular but later also sacred.

      Two of his more famous and still-used gospel song are “Jesus Is All
The World To Me” (#451)and “Softly And Tenderly Jesus Is Calling” (#274).
 This one was published in 1879.  It became well-known among churches of
Christ by its inclusion in E. L. Jorgenson’s 1937 “Great Songs of the
Church” (#133) and L. O. Sanderson’s 1948 “Christian Hymns No. 2” (#171).
 Among books in common use today, it is found in Ellis Crum’s 1956
“Sacred Selections for the Church” (#462 with full four-part harmony);
Alton H. Howard’s 1971 “Songs of the Church” (#315), 1990 “Songs of the
Church 21st C. Ed.” (#409), and 1994 “Songs of Faith and Praise” (#823);
V. E. Howard’s 1978/1983 “Church Gospel Songs and Hymns” (#123); and John
P. Wiegand’s 1992 “Praise for the Lord” (#379).

     This song offers several reasons why we should want God to lead us.

I. Stanza 1 says that we should ask God to lead us because of life’s
toils
 A. The toils of life are often used generally of the burdens that we
have to bear on this earth: Gen. 5.29, 41.51
 B. And these toils will continue until parting days come when we return
to the dust of the ground: Gen. 3.17-19, Eccl. 12.7
 C. Sometimes, we may allow the toils and cares of this life to cause us
to roam from God: Mk. 4.18-19.  Therefore, we need to be careful about
these things and seek God to lead us through

II. Stanza 2 says that we should ask God to lead us because of life’s
troubles
 A. Everyone will agree that this earthly life is full of trouble: Job
14.1
 B. Such troubles often produce dark hours in our lives, such as they did
even in the life of Jesus: Lk. 22.53 (may be persecutions by evil men, or
may be the natural tribulations that come to all who dwell on this
sin-cursed earth)
 C. And these troubles often present opportunities for our feet to wander
from the Lord by causing us to doubt: Ps. 55.1-7.  Because of these
things, we should look to the Lord to lead us through them.

III. Stanza 3 says that we should ask God to lead us because of
temptations
 A. Temptation is the avenue through which Satan entices us to sin: Jas.
1.13-15
 B. And these temptations serve as trials to test our faith, whether we
will continue to obey the Lord or not: 1 Pet. 1.6-9
 C. But God has promised to be near us in our temptations and make a way
of escape for us if we shall take it: 1 Cor. 10.13.  Hence, we should
always pray that the Lord will lead us away from temptation

IV. Stanza 4 (not in “Hymns for Worship Revised”) says that we should ask
God to lead us because of our hope of heaven:
“Lead me gently home, Father, lead me gently home,
While I humbly follow and when my pleasures come;
Give to me my portion, Those across the foam,
Such, the glory never fadeth, Lead me gently home.”
 A. While in this life we face toils, troubles, and temptations, we can
look forward to a time when we shall have pleasures at God’s right hand
evermore: Psa. 16.7-11
 B. Thus, we can be assured that God has prepared an eternal home for His
people as their portion: Lk. 12.42
 C. And this portion will include “those across the foam”–the redeemed
of all ages where the “glory never fadeth”: Rev. 22.1-5.  We need to
remember that we can find that eternal home only if we turn to the Lord
to lead us there and follow His leading.

     CONCL.:  The chorus underscores the fact that we must have God to
lead us or else we shall fall upon the wayside.  This song is not the
easiest to sing because it requires basses who know what they are doing
in the chorus.  But it has a wonderful message.  I have already faced
various toils, troubles, and temptations in life, and will likely face
many more before parting days shall come.  If it is my desire to have the
eternal reward that the Lord promises His followers, I must constantly be
asking, “Lead Me Gently Home, Father.”

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