Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah
CWM RHONDDA | Hymn History | Same-Tune Hymns | Bible Passage
William Williams, 1717-1791
John Hughes, 1873-1932
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Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim thro' this barren land;
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy pow'rful hand;
Bread of heaven, Bread of heaven,
Feed me till I want no more,
Feed me till I want no more.
Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through;
Strong Deliv'rer, strong Deliv'rer,
Be Thou still my strength and shield,
Be Thou still my strength and shield.
When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of death, and hell's destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan's side;
Songs of praises, songs of praises
I will ever give to Thee,
I will ever give to Thee.
Each of the individual countries which go to make up these beautiful British Isles has its own personal sense of national pride.
For example, Scotland, with its majestic hills and heather, its lochs and streams and its tumbling waterfalls can be excused a certain justifiable self esteem in being called, 'The land of the mountain and the flood.'
The others, too, have their own very good reasons for this strong national pride.
I don't have time to more than mention 'Merrie England,' or my own native 'Land of saints and scholars,' although a lot could be said about both. I do want to talk about Wales, however, for that's where this hymn story takes place.
Wales is, traditionally, the land of song; and the Welsh people may well be the most enthusiastic singers in all the world. In Wales, everybody loves to sing and they sing just about everywhere.
It was always the custom for the men to sing on their way to the coalmines, although that's not done so much today. But the powerful and melodious strains of their singing still fill the air at rugby matches and other great outdoor events.
Choirs abound in every town and village and their music is popular with audiences everywhere. Wales, too, has given the world of professional singing more than its quota of national and international artistes.
In the last couple of centuries a number of great spiritual revivals have swept the land, and during these, music and singing played a major part.
Several times during those revival services the sermon was interrupted by the spontaneous outburst of congregational singing; and this was often used by the Holy Spirit to move hearts to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus.
However, not only has Wales given us singers and singing in abundance, it has also produced its fair share of hymn writers too.
One such was William Williams, a lay-preacher, who lived towards the end of the eighteenth century. At first he studied as a medical student but then decided to enter the ministry of the Church of England. However this didn't work out so he switched to open-air preaching in his native Wales.
Williams was a tireless servant of the Lord, and during the forty years of his ministry he travelled almost 100,000 miles, on foot and on horseback, preaching and singing wherever he went.
He wrote over 800 hymns, of which by far the best known is "Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah".
This hymn, written originally in Welsh and translated by Peter Williams, recalls some of the most trying incidents which took place during the forty year journey of the Israelites, from the bondage of Egypt, to the promised land, Canaan.
What an example to us! We too, are pilgrims, on the journey from the cradle to the grave and ultimately, to eternity. Many times our lives seem like a wilderness - 'a barren land' - as the hymn writer puts it. It is then that we must call upon the Lord to sustain us by His powerful hand.
The entire hymn is an account of God's gracious, plenteous provision for His people, at every stage of life. Surely this is one of the sources of Christian joy; to know God is with us each moment, guiding, protecting, providing.
As a result we can join with our brothers in Christ, not only in Wales, but all around the world to lift up that marvellous tune, 'Cwm Rhondda,' and say...
Guide me, O thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
Hold me with thy powerful hand:
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven,
Feed me till I want no more.
OTHER HYMNS with the SAME TUNE:
Lo! He Comes Author Unknown
24 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.