A Hymn Devotion for 18 February 2020 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
John 12:32 (KJV)
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:14-15 (KJV)
Here is another spiritual masterpiece written in 1874 by our precious sister, Fanny Crosby (1820–1915) – one of 9,000 hymns authored by this great lady. The hymn is more a sung prayer than a song. It speaks of the dearest sentiments of the Christian heart. The tune is the composition of William H. Doane (1832-1915) who passed into his reward the same year as Fanny.
DRAW ME NEARER, BLESSED LORD
1. I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice,
And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith
And be closer drawn to Thee.
Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To the cross where Thou hast died;
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To Thy precious, bleeding side.
2. Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord,
By the pow’r of grace divine;
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
And my will be lost in Thine.
3. Oh, the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God
I commune as friend with friend!
4. There are depths of love that I cannot know
Till I cross the narrow sea;
There are heights of joy that I may not reach
Till I rest in peace with Thee.
I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice, And it told Thy love to me; But I long to rise in the arms of faith And be closer drawn to Thee. When we have heard the Voice of the Lord calling us from death to life, we are truly His child. His Voice is laden with that same love that beckoned to Lazarus at Bethany and to Mary Magdalene outside the Garden Tomb. His Holy Spirit speaks in a Voice magnetized by power and conveyed in love. That Voice penetrates a dead spirit just as even a candle can penetrate a room filled with smothering darkness.
Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord, By the pow’r of grace divine; Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope, And my will be lost in Thine. The elect of God are set apart for their calling in Christ to do those things that will most accommodate the purpose of their calling. We must forever bear in mind that it is His service to which we are called and not our own. If we forget that truth and begin to believe our own way is better, we are in for ship wreck on the shoals of error. Even our Lord Jesus Christ looked on high outside the tomb of Lazarus before calling him forth: “Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.” John 11:41 (KJV) The Voice of Christ is as a great Magnet which draws its object, irresistibly, to Himself. “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” The sprinkling of the blood of repentence and evil disposition is the beginning of the washing of spirit and soul. “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22 (KJV)
Oh, the pure delight of a single hour That before Thy throne I spend, When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God I commune as friend with friend! Even in tragic moments of loss, we may stand in joy before that Fountain of Living Waters and receive an effulgence of Light and blessing. We have a Friend above every other in Christ. He is a Friend that is forever closer to us that a favorite brother. “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 (KJV)
There are depths of love that I cannot know Till I cross the narrow sea; There are heights of joy that I may not reach Till I rest in peace with Thee. There are depths of love, as well, that we cannot fathom even before crossing those narrow waters of Jordan Banks. The heights to which we attain in Christ are forever higher and higher. The Straight and Narrow Way leads upward always and, if we are on it, we gain an upward step all the way. The peace we find in Christ is not subject to our physical condition or environment. It is a peace of the heart where no man or beast can intrude. The Way is forever joyful as long as our gaze is above. If we look down and back to the putrid waters of the Nile, we may sink as did Peter in the Sea of Galilee. But if we do sink, our Lord is always there to hear our prayer desperation, “Lord, save me!”
Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord, To the cross where Thou hast died; Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord, To Thy precious, bleeding side. Why pray we to be drawn nearer and nearer to the cross of our Lord? Was this not the place of the courageous women disciples who stood at the foot of the cross while the men cowered in the hedge rows? And what of the beloved disciples, John, who stood there with them? Love compels loyalty and fidelity! What, pray tell, drays us to that rudely hewn wooden cross? Remember? “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:14-15 (KJV)
Why did our Lord use such and illustration to depict His manner of drawing sinners to Himself? Remember the misbehaving, murmuring children of the Wilderness journey? “ 5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. 6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. 7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.” The sinner has, indeed, been bitten by that ancient serpent of Eden. The bite is fatal. There is only one antidote – the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. We look to Christ, and Him crucified, in our desperate repentance – and we are healed just as those misbehaving children of the Wilderness.
When you feel the pains of sin and damnation, listen for the Voice that calls, and look to the Cross. He KNEW you ere you were ever born, and He will never forsake nor leave you in the wilderness of sin.