Samuel Stennett, 1727-1795

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
I Corinthians 15:19

In this day of the "throwaway" and the temporary, Christians must live according to their belief in eternity. The apostle Paul reminded the believers at Corinth that if their hope in Christ were related only to this life, they would be the most miserable men of all (I Corinthians 15:17-19). The anticipation of God's tomorrow makes it possible for Christians to live joyfully today--regardless of life's circumstances.

He liveth long who liveth well!
All other life is short and vain;
He liveth longest who can tell
Of living most for heav'nly gain.
~Horatius Bonar~

We see another Old Testament picture of a New Testament truth...what Canaan--the Promised Land--was to God's chosen people Israel, the "heavenly places" are to New Testament believers. God has raised us up with Christ so that even now we can sit with Him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). Living in Canaan, our spiritual heavenlies, should be the Christian's daily experience as well as a foretaste of eternal Glory. We, like the Israelites, must faithfully follow our Leader and foresee and enjoy our possessions now.

Samuel Stennett was one of the most respected and influential preachers among the dissenting or non-conformist groups of his times. He pastored a Baptist church on Little Wild Street in London, England for an entire lifetime. The tune "Promised Land" is one of the many traditional melodies used in the United States during the early part of the 19th Century. The hymn was first published in its present form in 1895.

On Jordanís stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaanís fair and happy land,
Where my possessions lie.

O the transporting, rapturous scene,
That rises to my sight!
Sweet fields arrayed in living green,
And rivers of delight!

There generous fruits that never fail,
On trees immortal grow;
There rocks and hills, and brooks and vales,
With milk and honey flow.

Oíer all those wide extended plains
Shines one eternal day;
There God the Son forever reigns,
And scatters night away.

No chilling winds or poisonous breath
Can reach that healthful shore;
Sickness and sorrow, pain and death,
Are felt and feared no more.

When shall I reach that happy place,
Iíll be forever blest?
Soon I shall see my Fatherís face,
And in His bosom rest.

Filled with delight my raptured soul
Would here no longer stay;
Though Jordanís waves around me roll,
Fearless Iíd launch away.

I am bound for the promised land,
I am bound for the promised land;
Oh who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the promised land.

*For Today*: Numbers 14:7-9; Isaiah 35:10; Revelation 21:1-4

Determine to set your sights and values more strongly on eternity and heavenly gain. Go forth with a buoyancy to your step and this song upon your lips.

Music url: The Cyber Hymnal

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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