O God, Our Help in Ages Past

By Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

LORD, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever Thou hadst formed the earth,and the world,
even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.

--Psalm 90:1-2

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
Still may we dwell 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.

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

The words to this stately hymn were written at a time when Queen Anne was fiercely determined to do all she could to limit religious freedom in England. Her efforts produced feelings of fear and uncertainty in Christians who were living in her country. Yet with assurance and hope Isaac Watts took the thoughts of Psalm 90 and set them to music as a reminder that God would be their shelter and guide.

While these words bring courage and comfort whenever they are sung, they are particularly reassuring at dawn of a new year.

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