Hymn Challenge #13: O God, Our Help in Ages Past
Written by: Isaac Watts
b. July 17, 1674; d. November 25, 1748
I have been humming this hymn all week. My daughter even asked me why I was humming it. I told her that I guess it was what God wanted us to study this week. And then as I began to look at the background of this hymn, I thought it was funny that Isaac Watts wrote this hymn in 1714 during a time of turmoil within the Royal family of England—the same week as His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge has been born to the Royal family. God's timing is always perfect!
This hymn was first sung in 1719. Wow! I have seen that Isaac Watts wrote between 500-700 hymns—many of them very popular still today. A few written by him that you will recognize are:
*Join all the Glorious Names
*Joy to the World, the Lord Is Come
*Marching to Zion
*When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
Goodness, we could do a year long study just on some of his hymns and we would only cover 24 of his 500-700 hymns. I can't imagine writing so many hymns. What a gift from God! There is a biography written about Isaac Watts called "Isaac Watts Remembered 1674 - 1748," and a copy of the book is in the Royal Library of the British Monarchy at Windsor Castle. How fun is that? There is also a statue of him in a park in central Southampton, England (the place of his birth). See a wonderful biography and a list of 518 of his hymns by clicking here.
As I began looking at this hymn, I really got caught up in all of the scriptures. I hope that you will enjoy reading some of the lines from the hymn with a lot of scripture to follow.
Originally there were 9 verses to this hymn but in a lot of hymnals you may only see 5-6 verses. You can read all 9 verses by clicking here. Now here are some key phrases in this hymn:
Verse 1: Our God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come.
Psalm 90:1 "Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations."
Psalm 121:2 "My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."
Isaiah 25:4a "You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat."
We can go to Him anytime, and we find refuge in Him. He is our safety if we stay fixed on Him. He is all we need. But we must be careful. If we don't stay fixed on Him, it is easy to fall and become prey. Is He your hope? Are you experiencing Him daily and staying fixed on Him because He lives in you?
Verse 2: Sufficient is Thine arm alone, And our defense is sure
Psalm 33:20 "We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield."
Psalm 36:7 "How priceless is Your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of Your wings."
Psalm 46:1 "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."
His arms are wrapped around us, and He protects us. He is the one true God. Are you exalting Him even in your trials?
Verse 3: From everlasting Thou art God, To endless years the same.
Psalm 48:14 "For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end."
Psalm 90:2 "Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God."
Isaiah 6:3b "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory."
James 1:17 "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
Our focus always needs to be on God alone. We need to be filled with Him so that what comes out is Him! Is God so big in your life that you cannot contain Him? As we apply His word to our lives, we see His glory.
Verse 7: Be Thou our guard while life shall last And our eternal home!
Romans 8:18 "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
He is the God of the ages. He was there before the creation of the earth, and He is eternal. You can trust that He is there for you now. When your day seems full of worry or turmoil, remember He is the God that never changes. He has been there for you in the past, and He is there for you now!
Psalm 93:2 "Your throne was established long ago; You are from all eternity."
And I leave you with this quote from Kenneth W. Osbeck from his book "Amazing Grace"—"Live confidently in the assurance that the One who has directed your steps to this moment of time is worthy of your complete trust for the days ahead."
Below you will find the sheet music for today's hymn, and click here to listen to the St Paul's Cathedral Choir sing this hymn.
For my 6x6 page today, I knew I wanted to use these papers by Poin Design from the C'est Magnifique August kit. I love God's creation because it reminds me of Him constantly. So, this paper with the birds, flowers, the added butterflies, etc., was just perfect for remembering that He has been here before the creation of the earth, and He will always be here! I also used the Blue Fern Studios Symphony Corner Medium chipboard. It was just perfect for the corner of my layout.
Papers: Poin Design Vintage Garden, Bazzill cs
Blue Fern Studios chipboard: Symphony Corner Medium (painted with Tim Holtz Distress Crackle Paint shabby shutters and Inka Gold old silver)
Stamp Ink: Tim Holtz Distress Ink gathered twigs
Embellishments: Manor House Creations Powderpuff citrus mix flower and Shades ivory and apple green flowers; Kaisercraft Marigold Collectables; misc. tag; Wild Orchid Crafts flower and leaves; sewing machine
Remember to use Keyword HSCRC13 when posting your creations in any online galleries. Also, please leave a link to your creation here using Inlinkz! To see all of the information regarding this challenge and the previous studies, please see this post here. Have a blessed week ahead!