Inspiration from Hymns

A popular English Hymn begins like this:

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 out defence is sure.

Before the hills in order stood or earth received her frame,

From everlasting thou art God to endless years the same.

The words are by Isaac Watts (1674-1748) and are based on Psalm 90, which begins:

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world

From everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Early Reformation hymns were often based on Psalms, but tended to stick closely to the original text.  Isaac Watts allowed himself more license to follow the meaning of his sources.  The whole hymn is worth comparing to the whole psalm.  Watts captures the central thought, which is the dependence of mortal man on the timeless and protective power of God.  It is comforting (in the old sense of strengthening) to know that God is constantly present, always willing our good if we will only acknowledge and trust him. 

Image result for o god our help in ages past

About Saint Barnabas Anglican Church of Seattle

Rooted in Scripture & Steeped in Anglican Tradition. A church that worships from the King James Version of the Bible and the 1928 American Book of Common Prayer. A diverse congregation committed to Jesus Christ.
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