The Delightful Land

Revelation 21 New International Version

The New Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. 16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia[c] in length, and as wide and high as it is long. 17 The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits[d] thick.[e] 18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.[f] 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.

22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

There is a land of pure delight,
where saints immortal reign,
infinite day excludes the night,
and pleasures banish pain.

There everlasting spring abides,
and never-withering flowers:
death, like a narrow sea, divides
this heavenly land from ours.

Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood
stand dressed in living green:
so to the Jews old Canaan stood,
while Jordan rolled between.

But timorous mortals start and shrink
to cross this narrow sea;
and linger, shivering on the brink,
and fear to launch away.

O could we make our doubts remove,
those gloomy thoughts that rise,
and see the Canaan that we love
with unbeclouded eyes!

Could we but climb where Moses stood,
and view the landscape o’er,
not Jordan’s stream, nor death’s cold flood,
should fright us from the shore.

A Slightly diferrent arrangement to the traditional hymn

Joseph H. Gilmore

Psalm 16 New International Version – UK

Psalm 16

miktam[a] of David.

Keep me safe, my God,
    for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord;
    apart from you I have no good thing.’
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
    ‘They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.’
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
    I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
    or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

He leadeth me: O blessed thought!
O words with heavenly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be,
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

“He Leadeth Me” by American Joseph Gilmore (1834-1918) was birthed out of a particular struggle in American history. This hymn was composed in 1862 during the Civil War, a time of upheaval and insecurity. The author was preaching at First Baptist Church in Philadelphia soon after his ordination.

Dr. Carlton R. Young, The United Methodist Hymnal editor, cites Gilmore’s recollections on the hymn’s formation: “I set out to give the people an exposition of the 23rd Psalm, which I had given before on three or four occasions, but this time I did not get further than the words ‘He Leadeth Me.’ Psalm 23:2, ‘he leadeth me beside the still waters,’ became the theme of the song” (Young, 1993, 390).

Subsequently, upon the initiative of Glimore’s wife and without the author’s knowledge, the text appeared in the Boston newspaper Watchman and Reflector (Dec. 4, 1862) under the rather unusual and unexplained pseudonym “Contoocook.” The famous gospel song composer William Bradbury (1816-1868) included these words anonymously with his own tune in his collection The Golden Censer (1864). Bradbury is credited with adding the third line to the famous refrain (in bold italics):

He leadeth me! He leadeth me!
By his own hand he leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be,
For by his hand he leadeth me.

Joseph H. Gilmore, the son of Joseph A. Gilmore, governor of New Hampshire, received his education from Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island (1858), and Newton Theological Seminary (1861) where he taught Hebrew. An ordained Baptist minister (1862), Gilmore became a professor after serving churches in Philadelphia, New Hampshire, and New York. He was also a professor of English at the University of Rochester from 1868-1911. A prolific writer for newspapers and periodicals, Gilmore also authored three books in his academic field: The Art of Expression (1876) and Outlines of English and American Literature (1905), as well as a book of poetry, He Leadeth Me, and Other Religious Poems (1877).

Working as his father’s private secretary during the Civil War, he also edited the Concord, New Hampshire Daily Monitor. Gilmore provided further information on the historical context of this hymn:

It was the darkest hour of the Civil War. I did not refer to that fact—that is, I don’t think I did—but it may subconsciously have led me to realize that God’s leadership is the one significant fact in human experience, that it makes no difference how we are led, or whither we are led, so long as we are sure God is leading us. http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/h/l/e/hleademe.htm

Stanza 2 of the hymn may suggest the ethos of the national crisis. Drawing on Psalm 23:4a; “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil” (KJV), Gilmore begins: “Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom…”

In stanza 3, the poet offers a particular theological interpretation of Psalm 23:4b: ”thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” In doing so, he reflects on the concept of complete submission to God’s will found in many gospel songs of this era:

Lord I would place my hand in Thine,
nor ever murmur nor repine;
content, whatever lot I see,
since ‘tis my God that leadeth me.

Consider the similarity between this sentiment and the first stanza of “When Peace Like a River” (1873) by Horatio Spafford (1828-1888): “… whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, / ‘It is well, it is well with my soul.’”

Or note “Blessed Assurance” (1873) by Fanny Crosby (1820-1915), in which the poet says: “Perfect submission, all is at rest, / I in my Savior am happy and blest…“ (stanza 3).

Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (KJV), provides a basis for the final stanza of the hymn, drawing upon the familiar image of the Jordan River cited throughout Scripture, especially as the place of Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 2:13) and a place where Jesus often conducted his ministry (Matthew 4:25; Mark 3:7-8), and ultimately the passageway from this life to the next:


And when my task on earth is done,
When by thy grace the victory’s won,
E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
Since God through Jordan leadeth me.



As is the case with so many gospel songs, the rhetorical strength of this hymn lies in the almost incessant repetition of a single thought: “He/God leadeth me.” When the five quotations of this idea in the four stanzas are added to the three references in the refrain, the singer will have sung “He/God leadeth me” a total of seventeen times by the time the hymn is concluded!

Gilmore seems to have had a humble nature as a poet and lacked ambition in promoting his own work. After handing the draft of the poem to his wife who sent it to The Watchman and Reflector under a pseudonym, Gilmore thought no more about it. Gilmore notes, “Three years later I went to Rochester, New York, to preach as a candidate before the Second Baptist Church. Upon entering the chapel, I took up a hymnbook, thinking, ‘I wonder what they sing.’ The book opened up at “’He Leadeth Me,’ and that was the first time I knew that my hymn had found a place among the songs of the church” (Osbeck, 1982, 87).

When the famous musical evangelist Ira D. Sankey (1840-1908), the musician for renowned evangelist Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899), included Bradbury’s version of the hymn in several editions of Sacred Songs and Solos, its fame was assured. The Salvation Army spread its use throughout Britain when they included it in several of their collections.

Though Gilmore wrote other hymns, it is this hurriedly penned text written at age 28 for which he is remembered. The First Baptist Church of Philadelphia was demolished in 1926. Kenneth Osbeck notes, however, that the words to the first stanza of Gilmore’s hymn appear on a bronze tablet on the large office building that replaced the church with the inscription, “in recognition of the beauty and fame of this beloved hymn, and in remembrance of its distinguished author” (Osbeck, 1982, 88).

The River

Joshua 1 New International Version

Photo by Frank Cone on Pexels.com

Joshua Installed as Leader

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

10 So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.’”

Being led by God

Psalm 16 New International Version

Psalm 16

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A miktam[a] of David.

Keep me safe, my God,
    for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    apart from you I have no good thing.”
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
    “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
    I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
    or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

  1. He leadeth me, O blessed thought!
    O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
    Whate’er I do, where’er I be
    Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.
    1. Refrain:
      He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
      By His own hand He leadeth me;
      His faithful foll’wer I would be,
      For by His hand He leadeth me.
  2. Sometimes ’mid scenes of deepest gloom,
    Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
    By waters still, o’er troubled sea,
    Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.
  3. Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
    Nor ever murmur nor repine;
    Content, whatever lot I see,
    Since ’tis my God that leadeth me.
  4. And when my task on earth is done,
    When by Thy grace the vict’ry’s won,
    E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
    Since God through Jordan leadeth me.