New Song: Forevermore

It’s been a bit of a crazy couple of years with a lot of changes in my life which I’ll post a bit about later, but I’ve finally worked on a new song. I’ve managed to find time to record it and you should be able to listen to it from 2nd November 2018 on all major streaming services like Spotify, Apple, Amazon, etc. You can find links to those on the song page and I really hope you enjoy listening to it. You can read the lyrics below as well as some background about the Psalm and my approach to writing the lyrics. Please leave comments below if you want to let me know what you think.

Forevermore Cover

I lift my eyes up to the hills
From where does my help come?
I lift my eyes up to the hills
My help comes from the Lord
The creator of all things
Will help me, oh my soul sings
I have confidence in Him
Who doesn’t rest, my guardian
I lift my eyes up to the hills
From where does my help come?
I lift my eyes up to the hills
My help comes from the Lord
By his power I’m secure
Trusting Him my path is sure
In His promises I am
Protected by my guardian
My guardian, my help, my hope
You’re watching over, evermore
No other power will take me from
My eternal destination
As my shadow’s here each and every day
You are here with me and there You will stay
Everywhere I go You will always be
Where my help comes from, my security
Forevermore, forevermore

The idea behind my song was that I would take the text found in the Bible and paraphrase it so that it would flow in song format but without losing the meaning behind the original text. To do this, I looked at several different translations* of the Bible to see the phrases used by different translators as well as some of the commentaries written about it. Here are the words to Psalm 121 from the ESV Bible which was my starting point:

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

The background to this Psalm* is that the author was facing a journey on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He was looking up to the hills ahead and asking where his help comes from. The main refrain of my song (I lift my eyes up to the hills…) is almost a direct lift from the first few lines of the Psalm. The author quickly answers his own question and declares that his help comes from the LORD* who made heaven and earth; his help doesn’t come from creation but from the creator. There is no sense of doubt in his response and this confidence is a theme that recurs throughout the Psalm and is one that I picked up in the song (“I have confidence in my guardian”).

Verse 1 of my song starts with that acknowledgement that God is the creator of all things and that he is the one who helps. I also added the idea that the author is singing this out from his soul; it’s a deep and spiritual understanding that it is God who helps us. The Psalm writer continues that God will not let his foot be moved and I reference this in the second verse when I write that “by his power I’m secure, trusting him my path is sure”. The next few lines describe how God doesn’t slumber or sleep and is our keeper and I reference this at the end of the first verse in my song. The Psalm mentions the word “keeper” or “keeps” several times and the Hebrew word behind this means to keep, guard, watch over or attend to carefully. For this reason, I reference God throughout the song as “my guardian”.

The author of the Psalm refers to God as a keeper of Israel and this reminds me of the promises that God made and kept when leading his chosen people, the Jews (aka Israel). I picked up that theme in the second verse when I wrote “in his promises I am protected by my guardian”. There is a sense in the Psalm that the author has this great confidence in God because he knows him as the God of Israel who watched over his people at all times and kept his promises.

The second half of the Psalm continues in the theme that God is the author’s keeper or guardian. It talks about God being the shade on his right hand, which is a metaphor for protection, and this protection applies during the day (“the sun shall not strike…”) and by night (“nor the moon by night”). I wanted to pick up that theme and so the second half of the bridge of the song relates to that protection and idea of shade (“as my shadow’s here each and every day you are here with me and there you will stay”).

The last few lines of the Psalm continue the theme of protection but it switches emphasis from this particular journey of pilgrimage to the life of the author. It states that God will keep him from all evil and will keep his life. I reference this in the bridge of the song when I write that “no other power will take me from my eternal destination”. I believe that I have an eternal destination with God and that I’m protected from evil in that sense. God is my guardian , my help and my hope – the certain hope of an eternity with God. I end the bridge in the same way that the Psalm ends, recognising that God is with me everywhere (my “going out” and “coming in”) from now and forevermore.

The great message behind this Psalm is that God cares, he is all-powerful and ever-watchful. We should look to God for help at any time. This doesn’t mean that bad things won’t happen us – there’s a wider context to all of this – but it does mean that God is always with us, in the good times and through our struggles.

I hope you find the song helpful and if you have any questions or comments then please do so below.

Forevermore Mix

Footnotes

*If you’re confused about why there are different versions of the Bible, the reason for this is that the original text was in Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) and the English language is complex and is continually evolving. The original text should never change but different translators take different approaches to expressing this in English. Some versions attempt to translate the original text literally word for word and others attempt to make the text easier to understand by using more familiar phrases and language. It should mean that the original meaning of the text is still preserved but there are different ways of expressing that in modern English. For studying the Bible, I tend to use the English Standard Version (ESV) or New International Version (NIV) but if you’ve never read the Bible before then you might find it easier to start with a translation like the New Living Translation (NLT).

* The Psalms are a collection of 150 Hebrew poems or songs. There are several authors of the Psalms and they were written over a long timespan (all hundreds of years BC). Christians and Jews (as well as Muslims I think) believe that the Psalms were inspired by God and they weren’t simply the writings of men. They cover a wide range of subjects and emotions.

* “The LORD” is the way English translators have translated the Hebrew word “yhwh” which was the personal name of God.

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