Lord, You Have Been Our Dwelling Place

Full Text

1 Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place
Through all the ages of our race;
Before the mountains had their birth,
Or ever Thou hadst formed the earth,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To everlasting our abode.

2 At thy command man fades and dies
And new-born generations rise;
A thousand years are passed away,
And all to Thee are but a day;
Yea, like the watches of the night,
With Thee the ages wing their flight.

3 Man soon yields up his fleeting breath
Before this swelling tide of death;
Like transient sleep his seasons pass,
His life is like the tender grass,
Luxuriant 'neath the morning sun,
And withered ere the day is done.

4 Man in thy anger is consumed,
and unto grief and sorrow doomed;
Before Thy clear and searching sight
Our secret sins are brought to light;
Beneath Thy wrath we pine and die,
Our life expiring like a sigh.

5 For threescore years and ten we wait,
Or fourscore years if strength be great;
But grief and toil attend life's day,
And soon our spirits fly away;
O who with true and reverent though
Can fear Thy anger as he ought?

The Psalter: with responsive readings, 1912

Author: Anonymous

In some hymnals, the editors noted that a hymn's author is unknown to them, and so this artificial "person" entry is used to reflect that fact. Obviously, the hymns attributed to "Author Unknown" "Unknown" or "Anonymous" could have been written by many people over a span of many centuries. Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place Through all the ages of our race
Title: Lord, You Have Been Our Dwelling Place
Author: Anonymous (1912)
Source: Psalter, 1912; Psalter Hymnal, 1987, rev.; The Psalter (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: The United Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1912, number 245
Language: English
Copyright: Text © 1987, CRC Publications; Public Domain


An appeal for God's wisdom and favor upon the sad state of humankind as sinners and mortals.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-2
st. 2 = vv. 3-6
st. 3 = vv. 7-9
st. 4 = vv. 10-11
st. 5 = vv. 12-15
st. 6 = vv. 16-17

Psalm 90 opens Book IV of the Psalms. No other psalm expresses so poignantly our melancholy state as sinful mortals before the face of a holy and eternal God. Yet the psalmist expresses no defiance. Honesty acknowledges guilt, and faith knows God's unfailing love. To that love we can appeal for mercies that bring joy and for blessings that make our work fruitful.

The psalm opens by addressing the everlasting God as humanity's security and rest through all generations (st. 1) and quickly moves to contrast God's eternity with the shortness of the human lifespan (st. 2). God knows all our sins, and we suffer God's displeasure because of them (st. 3). We live perhaps seventy or eighty years; yet even so long a life brings no relief from sorrow and no escape from death (st. 4). The psalmist asks God to grant wisdom to us sinners and to have pity and mercy on us so that we may yet know joy (st. 5). He continues with a request that God reveal his glory to us and our children by showing favor to us and blessing our efforts in the LORD's service (st. 6).

The versification is a 1985 revision by Helen Otte (PHH 17) of the texts found at 245 and 246 of the 1912 Psalter. Another setting of Psalm 90 is at 170.

Liturgical Use:
Traditionally for Old/New Year services; funerals; many other occasions in Christian worship.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook





Various forms of GOTTLOB are found in a number of collections of old German melodies. One form of the tune appeared in Johann G. Wagner's Sammlung alter und neuer (1742) with the burial hymn "Gottlob, es geht nunmehr zum Ende" ("Thanks Be to God; My End Is Near Me"). Although only the first line of…

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The Cyber Hymnal #4042
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  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
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Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #90
  • Full Score (PDF, XML)
  • Bulletin Score (PDF)
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)


Instances (1 - 3 of 3)Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #90Text InfoTune InfoScoreAudio
Rejoice in the Lord #114TextPage Scan
The Cyber Hymnal #4042TextScoreAudio
Include 8 pre-1979 instances