If God the LORD Were Not Our Constant Help

If God the LORD were not our constant help

Versifier: Calvin Seerveld (1981)
Tune: OLD 124TH
Published in 1 hymnal

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Audio files: MIDI
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Versifier: Calvin Seerveld

Calvin Seerveld (b. 1930) was professor of aesthetics at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto from 1972 until he retired in 1995. Educated at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan; the University of Michigan; and the Free University of Amsterdam (Ph.D.), he also studied at Basel University in Switzerland, the University of Rome, and the University of Heidelberg. Seerveld began his career by teaching at Bellhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi (1958-1959), and at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois (1959-1972). A fine Christian scholar, fluent in various biblical and modern languages, he is published widely in aesthetics, biblical studies, and philosophy. His books include Take Hold of God and Pull (1966), The Gr… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: If God the LORD were not our constant help
Title: If God the LORD Were Not Our Constant Help
Versifier: Calvin Seerveld (1981)
Language: English
Copyright: © Calvin Seerveld


Praise for God's deliverance from the fierce hostility of the nations.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-5
st. 2 = vv. 6-8

One of the fifteen "Songs of Ascents" (120-134) the Israelites sang as they went up to worship at the temple in Jerusalem, Psalm 124 praises God for deliverance from the raging hostility of other nations. Thus it stands appropriately next to Psalm 123, which is a prayer for such deliverance. In two well-balanced stanzas, Israel first acknowledges that only the LORD could have delivered them when the "flood" of hostility attempted to “engulf” them (v. 4; st. 1), and then praises the LORD for deliverance (st. 2). The imagery of hostility shifts from that of a threatening flood in the first stanza to that of a fowler's snare and a threatening wild beast in the second stanza. From the closing verse comes the traditional "votum" of Reformed liturgy: "Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth." Calvin Seerveld (PHH 22) prepared the unrhymed versification of this psalm in 1981 for the Psalter Hymnal.Scripture References: st. 1 = vv. 1-5 st. 2 = vv. 6-8

Liturgical Use
Contexts of gratitude for God's deliverance.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



GENEVAN 124 (also known as OLD 124TH) was first published in the 1551 edition of the Genevan Psalter. Dale Grotenhuis (PHH 4) harmonized the tune in 1985. One of the best known from the Genevan Psalter, the tune is published in most North American hymnals. By 1564 it was adopted in English and Scott…

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Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #124
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Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #124

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