Devotion for the Week of August 13, 2017 - The Story behind the Hymn; SAVIOR, LIKE A SHEPHERD LEAD US

The Story behind the Hymn; SAVIOR, LIKE A SHEPHERD LEAD US

David’s Confidence in God’s grace.  Psalm 23:1-6 (KJV), “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.  2  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”

We don’t know who wrote the words to “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us.”  It first appeared in a children’s hymnal compiled by Dorothy Thrupp in 1836, so some people think that Mrs. Thrupp wrote it—but that is far from certain.

But it is clear enough what inspired the words.  Two scriptures come to mind.  The first is Psalm 23, which begins, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”  The second is the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John, where Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd.”

We do know who wrote the music.  His name is William Bradbury.  Bradbury was a gifted teenage music student in Boston when he met Lowell Mason at the Bowdoin Street Church.  Mason was a well-known musician who wrote the music for “Joy to the World” and a number of other hymns.  Mason took Bradbury under his wing, nurturing his musical abilities.  After finishing school, Bradbury moved to New York City, where he worked as a church musician specializing in children’s music.  He wrote the music for what must be the favorite children’s hymn of all time— “Jesus Loves Me.”  He intended “Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us” to be a children’s hymn, but it turned out that adults enjoyed singing it too.

We also know who popularized the hymn.  A story related to this hymn is told about Ira Sankey, a musician who worked closely with Dwight L. Moody.  On one occasion, Stankey sang this song, “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us” on a riverboat on the Detroit River.    He was prodded by a crowd to sing this very song even though he wanted to sing some Christmas carols as it was that season. He relented and sang, “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us”.

Afterwards, one of the guests pulled him aside and asked if Sankey had served on guard duty on a particular night in a particular place.  Sankey, who had served in the Union army, said that he had.  The other man said that he had served in the Confederate army.  On the evening in question, he had started to shoot a Union picket when the Union soldier began to sing “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us.” The Confederate soldier, who had often heard his mother sing that song, couldn’t do it.  Singing “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us” had saved Sankey’s life.  Sankey was then able to lead the ex-Confederate soldier to Christ.

 

Savior, like a shepherd lead us, much we need Thy tender care;
In Thy pleasant pastures feed us, for our use Thy folds prepare.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus! Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus! Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.

 

We are Thine, Thou dost befriend us, be the guardian of our way;
Keep Thy flock, from sin defend us, seek us when we go astray.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus! Hear, O hear us when we pray.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus! Hear, O hear us when we pray.

 

Thou hast promised to receive us, poor and sinful though we be;
Thou hast mercy to relieve us, grace to cleanse and power to free.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus! We will early turn to Thee.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus! We will early turn to Thee.

 

Early let us seek Thy favor, early let us do Thy will;
Blessèd Lord and only Savior, with Thy love our bosoms fill.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus! Thou hast loved us, love us still.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus! Thou hast loved us, love us still.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N36B2qYfXpg

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