O GOD, OUR HELP IN AGES PAST                                                       written in 1714

The Story

In 1714, Queen Anne of England lay dying, and she had no son or daughter to succeed her on the throne.  Who would be the new ruler?  All of Britain was concerned.

Isaac Watts also had reason to worry.  His Father had been imprisoned by the previous regime because his views did not please the royal family.  As a young child, Isaac had been carried by his mother to visit his father in prison.  Queen Anne had been more tolerant than others in authority, and she had granted freedom to Isaac’s father.  But what would happen now?

Isaac Watts turned to the Bible for help… and read Psalm 90.  And, as a result, he wrote this hymn, “Our God, Our Help in Ages Past”.   In 1738, John Wesley in his hymnal, Psalms and Hymns, changed the first line of the text from “Our God” to “O God.”

It’s a hymn about time… and the fact God stands above time.  In God, all our anxieties can be put to rest.  When your day brings worry and concern, the God of Ages remains our eternal refuge.

The Song

            Read the lyrics of this song, and, today, make them your own…

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 troubles last, and our eternal home.

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