This is one of my favorite songs ever, even beyond choir. In Spring ’07, the Chapel Hill Community Chorus performed Mendelssohn’s Elijah. To be honest, I found the oratorio as a whole (especially the solo parts) to be quite boring. I don’t think I’ve listened to the entire thing from start to finish. Instead, I skip to the choir movements that I like. “He Watching Over Israel” is hands-down my favorite. I listened to it a LOT back in ’07 and the years afterward. At one point it hit the #1 spot for number of plays in my iTunes Library.
When it comes to favorite songs, I’m generally indifferent to the meaning of the lyrics. If you were to change the lyrics but keep the tune, I may or may not like the song. It’s more about the way those particular words sound when sung to a particular tune, and not necessarily the meaning.