Prone to Wander

Text: Psalm 119:9-16

“With my whole heart I have sought You; oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!” —Psalm 119:10

Robert Robinson was a fatherless teenager when the powerful preaching of George Whitefield first influenced him to surrender to Christ. This uneducated barber-turned-poet preacher, described as a perpetual wanderlust, often wrestled with his beliefs and frequently moved between denominations and theological camps. In his twenties, he wrote the hymn “Come, thou Fount of every blessing” (1758), in which he confessed that his heart was “Prone to wander… Prone to leave the God I love.”

The hymn as a whole is a great testimony to the grace of God that had saved him, notwithstanding his nomadic heart. It has resonated with many a heart for more than two hundred and fifty years, attesting to God’s faithfulness in times of distraction, doubts, and drifting. Robert Robinson wasn’t alone.

In ancient Israel, the psalmist cried out: “With my whole heart I have sought You; oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!” (Psalm 119:10)

Though we may not deliberately choose to wander, our hearts do tend to drift. Like Paul, we sometimes find ourselves doing what we despise (Romans 7:19)—lusting after the things of this world, judging others though we ourselves don’t want to be judged, gossiping rather than edifying, losing our cool and getting caught up in the moment, doubting God is going to come through for us though He has never failed us in the past. It’s in these times that we desperately need a Rescuer from our wandering. How grateful we can be for a God of mercy—a compassionate heavenly Father—whose grace is all-sufficient and never exhausted.

In that hymn, Robinson also wrote: “Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God.” He knew that though we turn to our own way again and again, God keeps bringing us back. We must daily bind our wandering hearts to Christ. Psalm 138:8 speaks of His constant shepherding as the remedy to my drifting nature: “The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.”

PRAYER

God, you know my wandering heart. You know it better than I know myself. Thank you for pursuing me even in times of drift, doubt, and distraction. Holy Spirit, teach my heart to align with you more, and to wander less. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Questions for Reflection, Small Group or Family Discussion:

  1. What causes friendships or other relationships to deteriorate?
  2. What advice does this psalm give to its readers? (Psalm 119:9-16)
  3. What do you think is meant by “storing up” God’s Word in our hearts? (v.11)
  4. What benefits can we expect from disciplined meditation on God’s Word?
  5. In what ways will you aim to store up God’s Word in your heart this week?

Subscribe to “Abiding In Him” and get the latest devotional in your Inbox once a week.