"He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold" (Job 23.10)
INTRO.: A song which points out that the Lord knows the way that we take and will help us is "He Knows." The text was written by Mary G. Brainard. It first appeared in The Congregationalist, 1869. Apparently the first line originally began, "I Know Not What Shall Befall Me." John Julian wrote, "The original hymn we have failed to trace." The text was arranged and the tune was composed both by Philip Paul Bliss (1838-1876). Ira D. Sankey wrote, "Mr. Bliss lost his life in the terrible train wreck at Ashtabula, Ohio [Dec. 30, 1876]. His trunk, however, reached Chicago safely, as it had gone before by another train. In his trunk was discovered this hymn. Mr. Bliss had rearranged the words of the poem to some extent, and had composed the tune. Sentence by sentence, the words are full of pathetic interest in connection with the author’s sudden death so soon afterward." It is believed that this version was made sometime early in 1876, and it was first published in Sankey’s Gospel Hymns No. 2 the following year. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, this hymn appeared in the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2 edited by L. O. Sanderson. The only other book that I have ever seen it in is the 1959 Hymns of Dawn, published by the Dawn Bible Students Association of East Rutherford, NJ, which I believe is a break-away group from the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The song emphasizes the need to put our trust in God no matter what the future may bring.
I. Stanza 1 talks about God’s kindness
"I know not what awaits me; God kindly veils my eyes,
And o’er each step of the onward way He makes new scenes to rise.
And every joy He sends me comes A sweet and glad surprise."
A. While there have always been those who want to look into the future, God actually is kind to us by not allowing us to know what shall be on the morrow: Jas. 4.14
B. However, for those who trust Him, He will make new scenes arise as He guides them each step of the onward way: Lk. 1.78-79
C. And every joy that He sends them will come a a glad and sweet surprise because every good and perfect gift comes from Him: Jas. 1.17
II. Stanza 2 talks about God’s promise
"One step I see before me; ‘Tis all I need to see.
The light of heaven more brightly shines When earth’s illusions flee,
And sweetly through the silence came His loving ‘Follow Me.’"
A. Christians do not need to see the future holds because we are being led by the one who holds the future in our steps: Ps. 119.133
B. However, He does allow us to see a glimpse of a bright future in heaven when earth’s illusions flee: 1 Pet. 1.3-5
C. Therefore, He simply calls upon us to follow Him: Lk. 9.59
III. Stanza 3 talks about God’s guidance
"O blissful lack of wisdom; ‘Tis blessed not to know.
He holds me with His own right hand, And will not let me go,
And lulls my troubled soul to rest In Him Who loves me so."
A. In truth, there are some things which it is better not to know that they are going to happen because the way of man is not in himself: Jer. 10.23
B. We must simply put our hand in God’s hand to help us: Ps. 119.173
C. And when we do that, He will lull our troubled soul to rest in Him: Ps. 55.6
IV. Stanza 4 talks about God’s encouragement
"So on I go not knowing; I would not if I might.
I’d rather walk in the dark with God Than go alone in light;
I’d rather walk in faith with Him Than go alone by sight."
A. Thus, even though we do not know what the immediate future is, we must, like Paul, press on: Phil. 3.14
B. To "walk in the dark" here does not mean to walk in sin because God is light and in Him is no darkness at all: 1 Jn. 1.5-6
C. Rather it means to walk without knowing what the future holds but by faith in God rather than sight: 2 Cor. 5.7
CONCL.: The chorus encourages us to determine to follow the Lord wherever He leads us.
"Where He may lead, I’ll follow; My trust in Him repose,
And every hour in perfect peace I’ll sing, He knows, He knows."
It is good to make plans and preparations for the future in order that we might strive to accomplish what the Lord wants us to do in this life. However, the fact is that we do not know precisely what will happen to us on our journey in life, and even if we did we could not always do much about it. It should be simply enough to follow the Lord and understand that "He Knows."