Update: Sheet music for this song is now available at gregscheer.com.
It is always a pleasure to work with a text by T.L. (Tammy) Moody. She has a knack for finding fresh ways to express herself, or in this case, express a Psalm: “Our faith is not strung on our bows,” “fear, do not our garment be,” “for your sweet mercy’s sake” are all vivid phrases expressing the anguished cry for help of the original Psalm: “Awake, O Lord!”
I tried something different on this song. Since the text is full of unresolved questions, distress, and fear, I begin the song away from the home key and on a melody note that doesn’t exactly fit. This gives the music an unsettled feel that matches the text. In fact, the music doesn’t resolve until the chorus–and even then it’s evasive.
1. For we have heard, Lord, with our ears,
the ancient stories told;
how you once crushed fierce enemies
and saved us from our foes.
God, why have you now cast us off
to wander in this place,
where dragons wing in darkening skies
and bitter nights await?
With your right hand, come swiftly, Lord,
and lift us from our shame.
Then will we boast not in our might,
but ever praise your name.
2. As sheep, we are now led away
unto the slaught’ring floor.
Confused we fall before you, God,
confounded to our core.
Our faith is not strung on our bows,
nor trust we in our swords;
your name alone our only hope,
our King, our conquering Lord. (Chorus)
3. Awake! Why do you sleep, O Lord?
Come quickly to our aid!
O, fear, do not our garment be,
nor death our parched soul’s shade.
Come rub the sleep out of your eyes
and in your power, wake.
Arise, O Lord, and be our help
for your sweet mercy’s sake. (Chorus)