“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it; prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it; seal it for thy courts above”
Robert Robinson, 1735-1790, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”
Many of the well-known and well-written hymns speak of the character and the nature of God. They serve a grand purpose to reinforce and/or teach good, sound theology; they are songs about God. Others, like the one that comes to mind for this post, talk about our walk, our heart, our sin, and how God responds to us; they are songs (prayers) to God.
Ever since I heard this hymn on Fernando Ortega’s HYMNS & MEDITATIONS CD, it has gripped my very soul. There are so many wonderful lyrics in this hymn, but the last stanza is especially heart-moving and thought-provoking.
“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love”
Sometimes we wander on purpose; like the time we took Josie, 14 at the time, to Walmart. She thought it would be really funny to wander (ditch me). She wanted me to look for her. It was a test. How much did I love her? Would I leave my husband in the store to look for her? How long would I look for her? Once I found her, and after giving her a piece of my mind or two, I explained that there is nothing she can do to make me love her less. I passed her test, but she didn’t pass mine. I realized that day, that I had to keep her on a short leash, so to speak, until she would stay close. The Lord does the same with us.
Other times, like a child in Disneyland, the world offers so much to grab our attention. Noises, songs, the smell of churros in the air, Mickey and Goofy wanting to pose in a photo with us are all competing to have our audience. If we don’t stay close to our parents, we could easily be separated until they come to find us.
We are prone to wander. This is our disposition and our default. The hymn writer understood this truth; the cares of this world, the worries, the trials, and even the blessings are all vying for our attention and devotion.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:14); He will always look and search for us (Luke 15:3-6). The Spirit searches for us (Luke 15:8-10). The Father will always wait for our return and run toward us (Luke 15:11-24).
Mathew 18:12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?
This is not all. The hymn writer also understood the keeping power, the guarantee that the Father gives us through the Holy Spirit. He gives us a seal.
“Here’s my heart, o take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.”
Worship is a response and mostly a response to God’s speaking (His word) to our heart. The hymn writer confesses his weakness through his lyric; he realized that he is prone to wander. He can feel it. Like Paul, he knows what is right, but does the wrong (Romans 7:18-20). He expresses his longing for God and asks for His help based upon the promises He gives us in His word.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Isn’t it marvelous that we can trust in God to do the keeping of us? He establishes us. He anoints us. He has sealed us. He will always search for us. He has given us the Spirit and sealed us as His own. He has guaranteed our inheritance.
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.
For Thought & Discussion:
- Why Did I Write this?
- Read Luke 15. What are your thoughts about these parables and how do they relate to one who is lost?
- Read Psalm 23. How does it relate to the wandering? Hint: verse 4.
- How does 1 John 1:9 relate to this stanza?
- What are your thoughts about this stanza?
- Are there any other verses that back up this lyric theologically?
- Have you used this song lately? Have you explained it?
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.