Wednesday, January 15, 2020

I Know Whom I Have Believed

"But I know Whom I have believed
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day"

This great hymn published in 1883 and written by Major Daniel Webster Whittle has been in my head pretty strong the past couple of days. Usually that happens it means it is something that I need to hear. I want to believe this is God's way of speaking to me. Is this something that happens to you?

Major Whittle wrote over 200 hymns in his lifetime, including "There Shall Be Showers of Blessings." Born in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts on November 22, 1840, he worked as a cashier for Wells Fargo bank beginning in his teenage years and in 1861 joined the Union Army, where he was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant and later rose to the rank of Major.

In the summer of 1862, as the Civil War began to intensify, his unit was called to go South. At his departure, his mother placed a New Testament in a pocket of the haversack she'd arranged for him. A haversack is similar to a backpack, but with one shoulder strap. The New Testament would have a vital role in his life.

Wounded in battle, he was captured and sent to a prisoner of war camp, where one of his arms was amputated. It was while in this POW camp that he began of to read his New Testament. One night a nurse informed him that a dying soldier from his unit was begging for someone to pray for him.

"I dropped to my knees and held the boys hand in mine," he wrote. In a few broken words I confessed my sins and asked Christ to forgive me. I believed right there that He did forgive me. I then prayed earnestly for the boy. He became quiet and pressed my hand as I prayed and pleaded God's promises. When I arose from my knees, he was dead. A look of peace had come over his troubled face, and I cannot but believe that God who used him to bring me to the Savior, used me to lead him to trust Christ's precious blood and find pardon. I hope to meet him in heaven."

Years later, Major Whittle began to write lyrics and, at the encouragement of D.L. Moody, entered into music evangelism. It was during this time that he wrote the words to "I Know Whom I Have Believed." The refrain is a direct quotation from II Timothy 1:12: "...for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."

"I Know Whom I Have Believed" is about many things, such as faith and how the Lord paid the price for our redemption. Most folk, including me, identify with verse four's theme of assurance. Assurance that, no matter what the days may hold, in heaven, I will eventually see God in all His glory.

"I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me
Of weary ways or golden days
Before His face I see

But I know Whom I have believed
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day"

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