Posted by: rcottrill | May 3, 2013

His Way with Thee

Words: Cyrus Silvester Nusbaum (b. July 27, 1861; d. Dec. 27, 1937)
Music: Cyrus Silvester Nusbaum

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Cyrus Nusbaum’s song dates from 1898. You can see more about the man, and also the background of the song, on the Wordwise Hymns page.

There are popular sayings and songs that express man’s assertive independence. When faced with the objections of an employee, a boss may say, “It’s my way or the highway.” Or there’s the 1967 song by Canadian singer-songwriter Paul Anka, “I Did It My Way.” It pictures an older person looking back on his life, satisfied that whether or not things turned out well, he’s able to boast that he did things his way. The number became Frank Sinatra’s signature song.

There’s a certain hollow arrogance in such statements. The first leaves no room for negotiation or compromise, because the speaker seemingly assumes his way could never be wrong, or even improved upon. The second deifies self-rule as a value above all others, above wisdom, above charity, or above an investment of resources that will last for eternity.

A similar attitude is reflected in Jesus’ parable of The Rich Fool (Lk. 12:16-21). Eleven times in three verses he uses personal pronouns to proclaim “within himself” (vs. 17) that since he is rich and growing richer, he plans to live large and enjoy himself. But God confronts him with eternity, and called him a fool (vs. 20).

This is the kind of folly that got our first parents in trouble in Eden. Adam and Eve had been given a test to see whether they would willingly submit to the rule of their Creator (Gen. 2:17). But, teased and tempted by the devil (vs. 1-5), they took their own independent course, in disobedience to God (vs. 6). They swallowed Satan’s lie that they could be like God (vs. 5), with the implication that they wouldn’t need God, they could be their own god.

A persistent tendency of the sin nature, this “my way” attitude has infected the whole human race, prompting the assessment of the prophet Isaiah:

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way” (Isa. 53:6). And compare, “Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money….lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (II Tim. 3:2, 4).

How different is the life of faith and obedience toward Him to which God calls us, in His Word.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him [as Lord of your life], and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil” (Prov. 3:5-7) .

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Rom. 12:1-3).

That commitment to God that is to direct and control our days is reflected by Pastor Nusbaum’s hymn. For a meaningful life that pleases God, and fruitful service that will endure for eternity, the hymn writer’s counsel is “Let Him have His way with thee.” In other words, submit yourself to God.

Even though, weak and fallible human nature being what it is, none of us will be “always pure and good” in character (CH-1), or “always at [our] best” in serving the Lord (CH-3), the principle stands. We can set this before us as an ideal, and make it our aim, by the grace of God.

CH-1) Would you live for Jesus, and be always pure and good?
Would you walk with Him within the narrow road?
Would you have Him bear your burden, carry all your load?
Let Him have His way with thee.

His power can make you what you ought to be;
His blood can cleanse your heart and make you free;
His love can fill your soul, and you will see
’Twas best for Him to have His way with thee.

CH-3) Would you in His kingdom find a place of constant rest?
Would you prove Him true in providential test?
Would you in His service labour always at your best?
Let Him have His way with thee.

1) As you face this day, or this week, what essential elements of “His way with Thee” can you discern?

2) Why is it so difficult to live this way consistently? And how can we do better at it?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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