Pastor Fisher Update 41

Pastor Fisher Update 41

Dear Church Family,

Friday and halfway through May! The swiftness of the calendar puts one in mind of the great hymn by Isaac Watts.

Our 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 thy 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 e’er ’tis night.

 

Our God, our help in ages past,

   Our hope for years to come,

Be thou our guard while troubles last,

   And our eternal home.

If you skipped reading the whole hymn as quoted above, you are going to miss the full character of what Isaac Watts wrote. You may think you know the hymn, but the truth is, it is a little different in its full context than most people know. You find in this copy of the hymn some verses that are commonly left out of most hymnbooks for various reasons; but by reading the whole hymn through, one is struck by the contrast between the fleeting nature of our lives here on earth and the eternal nature of God.

It is a paraphrase of Psalm 90 originally entitled “Man Frail and God Eternal.”

Sometimes, people are confused at the very start of the hymn because the Wesleys changed the very first line to “O God, our help.” They changed it from “Our,” to “O,” because John did not like the “Calvinistic” and personal character of the use of the word “Our.” He said it emphasized too intensely the relationship of God with the “elect.”

This is considered one of Watts’s best hymns dealing with the brevity of life in this world in contrast with the unchanging and eternal nature of our God.

It is meant to call your attention to the fact that no One has more authority or is better equipped or positioned to be our help and guard while troubles last than OUR eternal God.

Psalms 90:1-2 & 14-17  A Prayer Of Moses the Man of God. LORD, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.   Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

 Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, That we may rejoice and be glad all our days!   Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us, The years in which we have seen evil.   Let Your work appear to Your servants, And Your glory to their children.   And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.