O God, Our Help in Ages Past

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O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal Home.

Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.

A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone,
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.

Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.

O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while life shall last,
And our eternal Home.

Often sung at Remembrance Day services, this hymn is a faith-strengthening reminder, at any time, of God’s permanence. The hymn was played on BBC radio when World War 2 was declared, and sung years later at Winston Churchill’s funeral. It was also used in at least one memorial service following the September 11, 2001 tragedy in the U.S.

this hymn is a faith-strengthening reminder Click To Tweet

However, imagine the author, watts_isitting at his desk on the Abney Estate in the year 1719, perusing Psalm 90 for comfort in his illness, and then writing these words.
Psalm 90, verses one and two, say:

“Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or You brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God.”

Watts wrote many hymns based on the Psalms, trying to paraphrase most of the 150 of them and adapt them for singing. He added New Testament teaching to that of many of the Psalms, saying, “Where the Psalmist describes religion by the fear of God, I have often joined love and faith to it. Where he speaks of the pardon of sin through the mercies of God, I have added the merits of a Saviour.” Although the above hymn does not show this, it speaks of the everlasting, omnipresent God on Whom we can always rely. Hallelujah!

God on Whom we can always rely. Hallelujah! Click To Tweet
WORDS: ISAAC WATTS MUSIC: WILLIAM CROFT
S.A. SONG BOOK, 2015 EDITION, #47; 1987 EDITION, #13
REFERENCE: MORGAN, ROBERT J., THEN SINGS MY SOUL

 

 

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