Last week I was working on a service about Exodus 18 where Moses receives instruction from his father-in-law Jethro about governing the people of Israel. As you can imagine, there were not as many song resources for this story as there are on manna and crossing the Red Sea!
But I did find a hymn by Philip Doddridge that was in the ballpark. Though Doddridge actually based his hymn on the Ebenezer stones of 1 Samuel 7:12, it covered similar themes of relying on God’s help amidst overwhelming tasks.
I gave Doddridge’s text a substantial rewrite (you can read the original here) and wrote a brand new tune*. I like the Americana feel of this melody. It feels like it comes from the pages of Southern Harmony, even though the demo makes it sound like Pure Prairie League. But mostly I like that it’s a journey song, reminding us that the seemingly insurmountable obstacles we see ahead of us will become occasions for praising God in the future.
A leadsheet and piano accompaniment can be downloaded here: https://gregscheer.com/product/o-god-our-help-we-bless-your-name/
1. O God, our help, we bless your name,
whose love is constant all our days.
Whose many gifts and gracious care
begin, and crown, and close the year.
2. Ten thousand trials may line our path,
but you will guide with loving hand.
When we look back along our way:
ten thousand monuments of praise!
3. Thus far your arm has led us on;
thus far you’ve made your mercy known;
And while we tread this desert land,
new mercies shall new songs demand.
4. And when we stand on Jordan’s shore,
our thankful souls shall sing once more;
then journey on to courts above–
eternal tributes of your love.
*Actually, I wrote three new tunes and let my Facebook friends choose their favorite. This is one of the perks (or liabilities) of being my friend. Here are versions A, B, and C.