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(A special psalm by Asaph.)

A Prayer for the Nation in Times of Trouble

74 Our God, why have you
    completely rejected us?
    Why are you so angry
    with the ones you care for?
Remember the people
    you rescued long ago,
    the tribe you chose
    to be your very own.

Think of Mount Zion,
    your home;
walk over to the temple
left in ruins forever
    by those who hate us.

Your enemies roared like lions
    in your holy temple,
    and they have placed
    their banners there.
It looks like a forest
    chopped to pieces.[a]
They used axes and hatchets
    to smash the carvings.
    They burned down your temple
    and badly disgraced it.
They said to themselves,
    “We’ll crush them!”
Then they burned every one
of your meeting places
    all over the country.
There are no more miracles
    and no more prophets.
    Who knows how long
    it will be like this?

10 Our God, how much longer
    will our enemies sneer?
    Won’t they ever stop
    insulting you?
11 Why don’t you punish them?
    Why are you holding back?

12 Our God and King,
you have ruled
    since ancient times;
    you have won victories
    everywhere on this earth.
13 By your power you made a path
    through the sea,
    and you smashed the heads
    of sea monsters.
14 You crushed the heads
    of the monster Leviathan,[b]
    then fed him to wild creatures
    in the desert.
15 You opened the ground
for streams and springs
    and dried up mighty rivers.
16 You rule the day and the night,
    and you put the moon
    and the sun in place.
17 You made summer and winter
    and gave them to the earth.[c]

18 Remember your enemies, Lord!
    They foolishly sneer
    and won’t respect you.
19 You treat us like pet doves,
    but they mistreat us.
Don’t keep forgetting us
    and letting us be fed
    to those wild animals.
20 Remember the agreement
    you made with us.
Violent enemies are hiding
    in every dark corner
    of the earth.
21 Don’t disappoint those in need
    or make them turn from you,
    but help the poor and homeless
    to shout your praises.
22 Do something, God!
    Defend yourself.
Remember how those fools
    sneer at you all day long.
23     Don’t forget the loud shouts
    of your enemies.

Footnotes

  1. 74.5 pieces: One meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 5.
  2. 74.14 Leviathan: God’s victory over this monster sometimes stands for his power over all creation and sometimes for his defeat of Egypt.
  3. 74.17 gave. . . earth: Or “made boundaries for the earth.”

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