Update 11/4/21: Sheet music for this song can now be downloaded at gregscheer.com.
This was one of the “easier” Psalms of my Adopt-a-Psalm month—lots of good images to work with, and no imprecations—but it gave me the hardest time. I think it was difficult because the song is so simple, and simple music has to be just right or else it sounds simplistic.
For example, I changed the first three notes over and over again. I wrote F#, A, B in my first draft, but then second guessed myself because it sounded too much like “Ten Thousand Reasons.” I changed it to A, F#, B, but then it threw off the symmetry with “like the city” a few measures later. So I changed it back, but decided in a final draft to accompany those notes with an F#m chord rather than the D, A/C#, Bm I had at first. On and on it went for a week, writing something, changing it, singing it while driving my car or running, changing it again. I even made significant changes as I went through the process of recording it!
You’ll notice that the third verse (not included on the recording) pulls from John 14:23-31. It’s uncanny how closely that passage tracks with this Psalm. The one alludes to “the scepter of wickedness” and the other “the ruler of this world,” “those who trust” becomes “those who love me,” and “Peace be upon Israel!” is transformed to “My peace I leave with you.”
The music is quite adaptable. It could be led by one folk guitar, played in flowing arpeggios on the piano, or rocked out with a full metal praise band. In the recording above, I went for something of a South American style—perhaps because I spent the week of worship symposium with a group of Argentinians! (Turn the bass up on the recording so you can hear the bass and bass drum groove.)
Those who trust in the Lord
shall abide, shall abide
like the city of God,
Oh, the people of God
shall remain, shall remain,
for the Lord shall surround
those he loves.
1. The scepter and the crown
belong to God alone.
Though evil rages,
it shall not rage for long.
2. God, bless us with the strength
to walk your holy way.
Lord, keep your children
within your strong embrace.
3. Christ’s peace will be with you;
Christ’s peace will dwell in you;
Do not be troubled—
let nothing frighten you.