Our God Reigns (How lovely on the mountains)

This worship song was written by American music-publisher, hymn-writer, teacher and former Roman Catholic seminarian Leonard E (Lenny) Smith Jnr (b 1942).   The first verse and chorus were written in the early 1970s, inspired by verses from Isaiah 52.   Further verses were added, inspired by Luke 24.

The song spread organically at first, having been rejected by various major Christian publishers.  It was included the 1979 Scripture in Song - Songs of Praise Volume 1 published in New Zealand, and in the 1977 Hymns Old and New for the Irish Church  and in John Michael Talbot's 1985 publication Songs for Worship.   Each of these publications had some variations on the words:  unknown people wrote extra verses, with Smith's approval or knowledge.

An official version with additional verses was eventually released by Smith.  Sheet music for it is now available for free download from his website, Great Comfort Records:  download a songbook for the album Deep Calls to Deep, and unzip the file to access the leadsheets.   (A number of Smith's newer songs can also be accessed from the same website.)

More details about the composer and origin of the song can be read here.

The tune, referred to as OUR GOD REIGNS in some books, has a 4/4 time signature, and in the key of Bb the first few notes are D E F F B AB.


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Official video, performed by the composer:

Small group with keyboard backing, professionally produced:


Original verse 1 and chorus:

How lovely on the mountains are the feet of Him
Who brings good news, good news
Proclaiming peace, announcing news of happiness
Our God reigns, our God reigns

Our God reigns, our God reigns
Our God reigns, our God reigns

Verses 2-5 as officially released by Smith:

He had no stately form, He had no majesty
That we should be drawn to Him.
He was despised and we took no account of Him.
Our God reigns, our God reigns!

It was our sin and guilt that bruised and wounded Him.
It was our sin that brought Him down.
When we like sheep had gone astray our Shepherd came
And on His shoulders bore our shame.

Meek as a lamb that’s led out to the slaughterhouse,
Dumb as a sheep before its shearer,
His life ran down upon the ground like pouring rain
That we might be born again.

Out from the tomb He came with grace and majesty;
He is alive, He is alive.
God loves us so, see here His hands, His feet, His side
Yes we know, He is alive.

Widely printed and used verses 2-4, author unknown:

You watchmen lift your voices joyfully as one
Shout for your King, your King,
See face to face the Lord restoring Zion
Your God reigns, your God reigns!

Waste places of Jerusalem break forth with joy
We are redeemed, redeemed
The Lord has saved and comforted His people
Our God reigns, our God reigns!

Ends of the earth, see the salvation of your God
Jesus is Lord, is Lord.
Before the nations He has bared His holy arm
Our God reigns, our God reigns!

Note, various other variations of verses 2-4 have also been printed over the years, but many later books have settled on these ones.

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