O God, Our Help in Ages Past

GodTube Staff O God, Our Help in Ages Past
"O God, Our Help in Ages Past" is a hymn written by Isaac Watts and paraphrases the 90th Psalm of the Book of Psalms. This hymn is frequently sung as a portion of the remembrance day service in Canada and festive occasions in England. Discover the lyrics and story behind this awesome hymn below along with music videos!

1 Our God, our Help in ages past,
our Hope for years to come,
our Shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal Home.

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

3 Before the hills in order stood
or earth received its frame,
from everlasting Thou art God,
to endless years the same.

4 A thousand ages in Thy sight
are like an ev'ning gone,
short as the watch that ends the night
before the rising sun.

5 Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
bears all its sons away;
they fly forgotten, as a dream
dies at the op'ning day.

6 Our God, our Help in ages past,
our Hope for years to come,
be Thou our Guide while life shall last,
and our eternal Home!

Source: Hymns to the Living God #303

Songwriters Isaac Watts Published by Public Domain

The Story Behind O God, Our Help in Ages Past

The hymn was originally part of The Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament, published by Watts in 1719. In this book, he rephrased in Christian verse the entire psaltery with the exclusion of twelve Psalms which he thought were inappropriate for Christian practice.

The hymn melody "St. Anne" to which the lyrics are most frequently sung was produced by William Croft in 1708 while he was the organist of the church of St Anne: giving the name of the melody. It first emerged anonymously in the Supplement to the New Version of the Psalms in 1708. It was first meant to be used with a version of Psalm 62. It was not until sometime following when matched with Watts' text that the melody earned significant recognition.

 In 1738, John Wesley in his hymnal, Psalms, and Hymns, altered the first line of the text from "Our God" to "O God." Both Watts' wording and Wesley's rewording remain in modern usage.

 


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