Sheep Among Wolves Publishing

Our God, Our Help in Ages Past

When Grace Macintosh is lost in a sudden snowstorm, she remembers a hymn which her Aunt Alice has taught her.  Teaching children the words to hymns as part of their education was a common practice in the past, and one which will continue to reap fruit today.

This one, written by Isaac Watts, was published in 1719 in a volume titled The Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament.  Watts complete works number well over 700 different hymns.

Isaac Watts

The most common tune is St. Anne, written by William Croft in 1708.  This is the earlier tune, and the one which the Macintoshes would have sung.  The alternate, Lafayette (by John B. Herbert), was not written until 1890.

The complete hymn is included below.  It contains several more verses than are published in many hymnals.

Our God, Our Help in Ages Past

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 the 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 ere ‘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.

The website which provided the hymn text, as well as the historical facts for this article, is  This is a great source for thousands of hymns, including lyrics, tunes, sheet music, recordings, etc.

Grace, just like many other Christians through the years, found comfort in this hymn even in the midst of danger and confusion.  Click here to find out just how appropriate the first verse proved!