O God Our Help In Ages Past

Here is a beautiful hymn written by Isaac Watts almost 300 years ago. The lyrics are based entirely on Psalm 90 and were composed at a time when the songs sung in church services were almost always the actual words of Scripture.

Psalm 90 is the only Psalm attributed to Moses.  The title of this Psalm, which appears in the Hebrew text, is A Prayer of Moses, “ish ha-Elohim” [the Man of God].  That is an awesome tribute!

In the Torah portion Shemot we were introduced to the man Moses as he meets “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:6, Exodus 3:15 and more).  Surely Moses penned with conviction the words “Adonai, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations … from everlasting to everlasting You are God” (Psalm 90:1 CJB).

What better way is there to look back from the end of a year and look forward to begin the next year than to read Psalm 90 and sing this hymn.  Seek to be known, like Moses, as a man (or woman!) of God.  While you are at it, plan your Bible reading for the upcoming year (see my post on that topic here).  And remember, All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV).

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

Thy Word commands our flesh to dust
“Return, ye sons of men”
All nations rose from earth at first
And turn to earth again

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

The busy tribes of flesh and blood
With all their lives and cares
Are carried downwards by the flood
And lost in following years

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

Like flowery fields the nations stand
Pleased with the morning light
The flowers beneath the mower’s hand
Lie withering ere ’tis night

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

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