Posts Tagged ‘O God Our Help in Ages Past’

Our refuge and strength, a very present help

August 10, 2017

Psalm 46--1-3

Revised and re-posted, the Verse of the Day for August 10, 2017 offers this blessed assurance found in Psalm 46:1 (AMP):

[God the Refuge of His People.] [To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah, set to soprano voices. A Song. ] God is our refuge and strength [mighty and impenetrable], a very present and well-proved help in trouble

As we examine the verse more closely, we find great comfort and strength. First of all, God is described as “our refuge,” a similar place of trust, described in Psalm 2:12 (NLT):

Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry,
and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities—
for his anger flares up in an instant.
But what joy for all who take refuge in him!

Throughout the Psalms and elsewhere we find numerous references to God as a source of strength. Psalm 27:2 reveals that “The Lord is the strength of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid,” while Psalm 18:2 declares:

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.

The expression “a very present help” literally means “a help He has been found exceedingly.” As the Amplified Bible puts it, “a very present and well-proved help in trouble.” I also recall the opening and closing stanzas of the hymn by Dr. Isaac Watts: “O God, Our Help in Ages Past.”

O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

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

 “In the time of trouble” also brings to mind other verses:

Psalm 27:5

For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

 Psalm 37:39

But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.

Isaiah 33:2

O Lord, be gracious to us; we have waited for You. Be their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.

Psalm 46 opens with a striking declaration regarding who God is in verse 1, and the powerful psalm ends with a directive from God Almighty in verses 10 and 11:

“Be still, and know that I am God!
I will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the world.”

11 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
the God of Israel is our fortress.

The psalm ends with the Hebrew expression “Selah,” meaning, “pause, and calmly think of that!” As we “Selah” this Psalm, we also give heed to these words—

 Be Still

 Be still and know that I am God.

Be still my soul and be at peace.

Rise above your circumstance and rest in me.

We close, as we Kari Jobe tenderly encourages us: “Be Still My Soul (In You I Rest)”

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The magnitude of God: The eternal God

June 7, 2014

Psalm 90--2

The Verse of the Day for June 7, 2014 is found in Psalm 90:2, 4 (KJV)

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

Take a look at this rendering of the verse in the Amplified Bible:

Before the mountains were brought forth or ever You had formed and given birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting You are God.

For a thousand years in Your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.

Here we find verses that make known the magnitude of God. Indeed, the Scriptures speak of “the God eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, to whom is due glory and honor and majesty forever and ever.” Other passages reveal the magnitude of an eternal God who is great and greatly to be praised.

1 Peter 5:10 speaks of “the God of all grace, who has called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus. . . .” and 1Timothy 1:17 makes known this magnificent benediction:

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen.

In addition, Deuteronomy 33:27 makes a similar declaration about who God is and what He will do:

The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.

The passage from Psalm 90 is the inspiration for “Even from everlasting, Thou art God,”one of the popular hymns by the great 18th Century hymn writer, Isaac Watts.  This well-known hymn is offered in three different versions. The first is a “shape note anthem,” an example of “Sacred Harp singing” or “shape-note singing.” Shape notes are a music notation designed to facilitate congregational and community singing. Harp singing or shape note singing dates back to the colonial period and continues to enjoy popularity in the rural South and elsewhere.

The second version, “O God, Our Help in Ages Past,” comes from the Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute Singers.

The third version is a contemporary rendering of “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” by Harvest Church.