1 How well God must like you—
you don’t walk in the ruts of those blind-as-bats,
you don’t stand with the good-for-nothings,
you don’t take your seat among the know-it-alls.
2-3 Instead you thrill to God’s Word,
you chew on Scripture day and night.
You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
always in blossom.
4-5 You’re not at all like the wicked,
who are mere windblown dust—
Without defense in court,
unfit company for innocent people.
6 God charts the road you take.
The road they take leads to nowhere.
2 1-6 Why the big noise, nations?
Why the mean plots, peoples?
Earth-leaders push for position,
Demagogues and delegates meet for summit talks,
The God-deniers, the Messiah-defiers:
“Let’s get free of God!
Cast loose from Messiah!”
Heaven-throned God breaks out laughing.
At first he’s amused at their presumption;
Then he gets good and angry.
Furiously, he shuts them up:
“Don’t you know there’s a King in Zion? A coronation banquet
Is spread for him on the holy summit.”
7-9 Let me tell you what God said next.
He said, “You’re my son,
And today is your birthday.
What do you want? Name it:
Nations as a present? continents as a prize?
You can command them all to dance for you,
Or throw them out with tomorrow’s trash.”
10-12 So, rebel-kings, use your heads;
Upstart-judges, learn your lesson:
Worship God in adoring embrace,
Celebrate in trembling awe. Kiss Messiah!
Your very lives are in danger, you know;
His anger is about to explode,
But if you make a run for God—you won’t regret it!
3 1-2 God! Look! Enemies past counting!
Enemies sprouting like mushrooms,
Mobs of them all around me, roaring their mockery:
“Hah! No help for him from God!”
3-4 But you, God, shield me on all sides;
You ground my feet, you lift my head high;
With all my might I shout up to God,
His answers thunder from the holy mountain.
5-6 I stretch myself out. I sleep.
Then I’m up again—rested, tall and steady,
Fearless before the enemy mobs
Coming at me from all sides.
7 Up, God! My God, help me!
Slap their faces,
First this cheek, then the other,
Your fist hard in their teeth!
8 Real help comes from God.
Your blessing clothes your people!
4 When I call, give me answers. God, take my side!
Once, in a tight place, you gave me room;
Now I’m in trouble again: grace me! hear me!
2 You rabble—how long do I put up with your scorn?
How long will you lust after lies?
How long will you live crazed by illusion?
3 Look at this: look
Who got picked by God!
He listens the split second I call to him.
4-5 Complain if you must, but don’t lash out.
Keep your mouth shut, and let your heart do the talking.
Build your case before God and wait for his verdict.
6-7 Why is everyone hungry for more? “More, more,” they say.
I have God’s more-than-enough,
More joy in one ordinary day
7-8 Than they get in all their shopping sprees.
At day’s end I’m ready for sound sleep,
For you, God, have put my life back together.
5 1-3 Listen, God! Please, pay attention!
Can you make sense of these ramblings,
my groans and cries?
King-God, I need your help.
you’ll hear me at it again.
I lay out the pieces of my life
on your altar
and watch for fire to descend.
4-6 You don’t socialize with Wicked,
or invite Evil over as your houseguest.
Hot-Air-Boaster collapses in front of you;
you shake your head over Mischief-Maker.
God destroys Lie-Speaker;
Blood-Thirsty and Truth-Bender disgust you.
7-8 And here I am, your invited guest—
I enter your house; here I am,
prostrate in your inner sanctum,
Waiting for directions
to get me safely through enemy lines.
9-10 Every word they speak is a land mine;
their lungs breathe out poison gas.
Their throats are gaping graves,
their tongues slick as mudslides.
Pile on the guilt, God!
Let their so-called wisdom wreck them.
Kick them out! They’ve had their chance.
11-12 But you’ll welcome us with open arms
when we run for cover to you.
Let the party last all night!
Stand guard over our celebration.
You are famous, God, for welcoming God-seekers,
for decking us out in delight.
6 1-2 Please, God, no more yelling,
no more trips to the woodshed.
Treat me nice for a change;
I’m so starved for affection.
2-3 Can’t you see I’m black-and-blue,
beaten up badly in bones and soul?
God, how long will it take
for you to let up?
4-5 Break in, God, and break up this fight;
if you love me at all, get me out of here.
I’m no good to you dead, am I?
I can’t sing in your choir if I’m buried in some tomb!
6-7 I’m tired of all this—so tired. My bed
has been floating forty days and nights
On the flood of my tears.
My mattress is soaked, soggy with tears.
The sockets of my eyes are black holes;
nearly blind, I squint and grope.
8-9 Get out of here, you Devil’s crew:
at last God has heard my sobs.
My requests have all been granted,
my prayers are answered.
10 Cowards, my enemies disappear.
Disgraced, they turn tail and run.
7 1-2 God! God! I am running to you for dear life;
the chase is wild.
If they catch me, I’m finished:
ripped to shreds by foes fierce as lions,
dragged into the forest and left
unlooked for, unremembered.
3-5 God, if I’ve done what they say—
betrayed my friends,
ripped off my enemies—
If my hands are really that dirty,
let them get me, walk all over me,
leave me flat on my face in the dirt.
6-8 Stand up, God; pit your holy fury
against my furious enemies.
Wake up, God. My accusers have packed
the courtroom; it’s judgment time.
Take your place on the bench, reach for your gavel,
throw out the false charges against me.
I’m ready, confident in your verdict:
9-11 Close the book on Evil, God,
but publish your mandate for us.
You get us ready for life:
you probe for our soft spots,
you knock off our rough edges.
And I’m feeling so fit, so safe:
made right, kept right.
God in solemn honor does things right,
but his nerves are sandpapered raw.
11-13 Nobody gets by with anything.
God is already in action—
Sword honed on his whetstone,
bow strung, arrow on the string,
Lethal weapons in hand,
each arrow a flaming missile.
14 Look at that guy!
He had sex with sin,
he’s pregnant with evil.
Oh, look! He’s having
the baby—a Lie-Baby!
15-16 See that man shoveling day after day,
digging, then concealing, his man-trap
down that lonely stretch of road?
Go back and look again—you’ll see him in it headfirst,
legs waving in the breeze.
That’s what happens:
17 I’m thanking God, who makes things right.
I’m singing the fame of heaven-high God.
8 God, brilliant Lord,
yours is a household name.
2 Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;
toddlers shout the songs
That drown out enemy talk,
and silence atheist babble.
3-4 I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewelry,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?
5-8 Yet we’ve so narrowly missed being gods,
bright with Eden’s dawn light.
You put us in charge of your handcrafted world,
repeated to us your Genesis-charge,
Made us stewards of sheep and cattle,
even animals out in the wild,
Birds flying and fish swimming,
whales singing in the ocean deeps.
9 God, brilliant Lord,
your name echoes around the world.