Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Shepherd Will Supply My Need

One of the most wonderful things in life is stumbling upon something inexpressibly beautiful and uplifting, that you didn't know before was there. This happened to me today at work while listening to some instrumental music on my MP3 player, from a CD collection of old English hymns set to strings and woodwinds. A selection came up entitled My Shepherd Shall Supply My Need, with which I wasn't familiar. Struck by the quiet, lilting melody, I went looking online for a choral rendition, and found a breathtaking one by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I was moved to tears by the beautiful singing and video, the latter featuring lovely artwork depicting the Savior's life among us as well as the words to this incomparable hymn. Based on the Psalm 23, the text was written by the "Father of English Hymnody," Isaac Watts (1674-1748), and set to music in 1863 by William B. Bradbury (1816-1868) (composer of such popular old hymns as He Leadeth Me, Just As I Am, Without One Plea, and Sweet Hour of Prayer). This hymn expresses for me, perhaps better than any other, the confidence and joy of knowing who our Father is, that he loves us infinitely and without condition, and that He guards, guides, and sustains us throughout this life and in the eternal life to come.

So relax, close your eyes (well, after you've watched the video), and let the comfort and hope of this precious work flow over you! (text appear beneath the video)

My Shepherd will supply my need:
Jehovah is His Name;
In pastures fresh He makes me feed,
Beside the living stream.
He brings my wandering spirit back
When I forsake His ways,
And leads me, for His mercy's sake,
In paths of truth and grace.

When I walk through the shades of death
Thy presence is my stay;
One word of Thy supporting breath
Drives all my fears away.
Thy hand, in sight of all my foes,
Doth still my table spread;
My cup with blessings overflows,
Thine oil anoints my head.

The sure provisions of my God
Attend me all my days;
O may Thy house be my abode,
And all my work be praise.
There would I find a settled rest,
While others go and come;
No more a stranger, nor a guest,
But like a child at home.


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  2. What a lovely rendition of Psalm 23! I remember singing this version years ago at Thanksgiving in my old church choir. It's probably my favorite. Thank you for posting this!!

  3. I have loved this hymn since discovering it on Marvin Payne's first album, "Ships of Dust," in 1972. Its haunting melody and simple, straightforward harmony lent itself to guitar accompaniment, and I have played and sung this hymn ever since. It transcends belief and doctrine. My heart is moved by the deep spiritual resonance the words and music create as they describe the longing of so many - to make His house our "abode, while others go and come, no more a stranger nor a guest, but like a child at home."