Song of the Prophets

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Ancient prophets--
1 In ages past the mighty Lord by prophets spoke the Word,
and from their lips God’s great design throughout the earth was heard.
In revelation, parable, bold fantasy, and dream,
they echoed God’s eternal vow to ransom and redeem.

2 A voice cries in the wilderness: “Prepare a desert way,
where God may pass, bring righteousness, and rule without delay.”
The weak who wait upon the Lord with eagles’ strength shall rise,
imagined blessings of the past now real before their eyes.

3 The lamentations of our lives, our sadness, and our fear
God’s faithfulness transforms to joy if we but persevere.
The bowl the potter shaped from clay, now marred and disarrayed,
shall be in course of time and space by God’s hand be remade.

4 The faithful bound in tyrants’ chains shall find their hopes fulfilled,
and stony hearts become true flesh as God’s love is revealed.
Dry bones will dance and whirlwinds sing when joy supplants despair,
and every corner of the earth proclaim, the Lord is there!

5 Blest be God’s name from age to age, who strength and wisdom brings;
who makes the roaring lions submit, and silent tongues to sing.
Life’s deep and hidden mysteries no more confound our will,
for God will keep the covenant to love and lead us still.

6 Come, let all flesh return to God, who breaks, then binds as one;
who makes death shadows disappear with resurrection sun.
Return, O children, to the Lord, and blossom like the vine;
God will set right each dreadful wrong, and life by grace refine.

7 Now sanctify a fast, O God, among your gathered host;
cry out for joy to those who mourn; bring down the ones who boast.
Come quickly, Lord, and make our hearts a worthy dwelling place,
where conflict finds an ordered peace, and vengeance bends to grace.

8 The Lord in holiness has sworn the time shall surely come
when evil foes are cast aside, the righteous gathered home.
With humble hearts the faithful take their place among the least,
and those who dine with servants greet the Giver of the feast!

9 The day of wrath is close at hand, when God will draw the line
between the good and wicked lot, the vinegar and wine.
Their destiny lies at the end of chosen paths they trod:
the sinners lost in dark dismay, the saints at home with God.

10 Alone, I called in my distress, “Good Lord, deliver me!”
And from the dreadful threat of death, God’s mercy set me free.
How can I then but offer up my life for all my days,
or cease to lift my voice to God in songs of grateful praise?

11 With what shall I before the Lord come bearing as my due?
God’s blessings are a boundless store, my offerings but a few.
Yet God does not unmeasured gifts of wealth require of me,
but acts of justice, kindly love, and true humility.

12 God’s anger, slow and ever sure, will bring injustice down;
the hateful find themselves by love encompassed all around.
Prepare yourselves to be accused, to bear the chastening rod,
for judgment and redemption meet before the throne of God.

13 O Lord, how long will you not hear your servant’s earnest plea?
How many chains must I endure before you set me free?
I cry, and still you turn away, my tears an empty wave;
yet I will keep my vow to praise, and you your vow to save.

14 The judgment day is drawing near, a day of wrath and gloom,
when brooding clouds obscure the sun, and life becomes a tomb.
The wicked shall be met with scorn, defeated by God’s might;
the Lord above the just will smile and sing with pure delight!

15 Go to the hills, bring wood and stone to build a sacred place,
where faithful in the Lord may kneel and meet God face to face.
The firm foundation in God’s law lets justice shine alone,
its walls adorned with charity, and truth its cornerstone.

16 “Be strong!” God’s forceful voice commands. “Your strength will set you free!
Advance through faith against the foe; I’ll bring you home to me.
Rejoice as slaves who went before did shout in days of old:
a humble king upon a colt will lead you to the fold.”

17 The Son of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings,
and every child will know the peace his sure redemption brings.
His judgment, like refiner’s fire, shall purify the soul,
and outcasts find their broken hopes and shattered lives made whole.

18 Yet still in present, troubled days we seek to hear God’s voice,
and in the face of our distress, find reason to rejoice.
Grant us the wisdom to discern through faith who we should be—
a fallen race, stored through grace, a captive world set free.

Source: Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #53

Author: Michael Morgan

Michael Morgan is a church musician, Psalm scholar, and collector of English Bibles and Psalters from Atlanta, Georgia, where he has served as organist for Central Presbyterian Church for over 35 years, and is also organist at Columbia Theological Seminary. He is author of the Psalter for Christian Worship (revised edition, 2010), and a regular contributor in the field of psalmody (most recently to the Reformed collection Psalms for All Seasons and to the new Presbyterian hymnal, Glory to God, publishing in 2013). Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: In ages past the mighty Lord
Title: Song of the Prophets
Author: Michael Morgan
Meter: D
Copyright: © Faith Alive Christian Resources


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