Psalm 7: Arise!

Update: Sheet music for this song is now available at gregscheer.com.

When I host songwriting workshops, I often advise writers to choose a hymn they like, write new music for the text, then write a new text for the new tune. Voila! An entirely new song! This is a great way of priming the songwriting pump.

I followed my own advice on this song. I found Isaac Watts’ setting of Psalm 7, “My Trust Is in My Heav’nly Friend” at hymnary.org. It is a good text, but I couldn’t see myself singing “Tho’ leagu’d in guile their malice spread, / A snare before my way: / Their mischiefs on their impious head, / His vengeance shall repay.” So I set to work re-tuning and re-texting his hymn.

It must be said that Psalm 7 is not an easy sell. It is, as Watts described it, about “God’s care of his people and punishment of persecutors.” The Psalmist makes some pretty explicit suggestions about how God might bring vengeance on enemies. But it is also full of vivid language like “save me or they will tear me like a lion” and “he who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble gives birth to disillusionment.” So, while this is unlikely to be my big hit, I think my Psalm 7 song does a good job of letting the text speak. Or as I like to say: This is not the best song you’ve ever heard, but it’s probably the best Psalm 7 song you’ve ever heard.

1. My only hope is in the Lord;
I refuge in my God.
God save me from those hunting me
like lions seeking blood.

If I had brought this on myself
I would not call your name,
but I’ve done nothing to deserve
their anger or my shame.

Arise! Arise! Arise, O Lord!
Arise! Arise! Arise, O Lord!

2. Arise, O Lord, and stay their hand
or I will be undone;
for only you can judge the heart
and keep me safe from harm.

My strong defender is my God;
my Savior is the Lord
who judges every human heart
and wields a righteous sword.

Arise! Arise! Arise, O Lord!
Arise! Arise! Arise, O Lord!

3. Their ripened rage gives birth to wind,
for God has changed their plans.
They find themselves ensnared in traps
that they themselves have set.

But I give thanks to my good God,
whose righteousness prevails.
I sing the praises of my Lord,
whose love will never fail.

Arise! Arise! Arise, O Lord!
Arise! Arise! Arise, O Lord!

This entry was posted in 2022 Psalm Collaborations, Church, Congregational Songs, Demos, FAWM 2022, Psalms. Bookmark the permalink.

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