(For the music leader by David, the Lord’s servant.)
Human Sin and God’s Goodness
36 Sinners don’t respect God; sin is all they think about. 2 They like themselves too much to hate their own sins or even to see them. 3 They tell deceitful lies, and they don’t have the sense to live right. 4 Those people stay awake, thinking up mischief, and they follow the wrong road, refusing to turn from sin.
5 Your love is faithful, Lord, and even the clouds in the sky can depend on you. 6 Your decisions are always fair. They are firm like mountains, deep like the sea, and all people and animals are under your care.
7 Your love is a treasure, and everyone finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. 8 You give your guests a feast in your house, and you serve a tasty drink that flows like a river. 9 The life-giving fountain belongs to you, and your light gives light to each of us.
10 Our Lord, keep showing love to everyone who knows you, and use your power to save all whose thoughts please you. 11 Don’t let those proud and merciless people kick me around or chase me away.
12 Look at those wicked people! They are knocked down, never to get up again.
Trust the Lord
37 Don’t be annoyed by anyone who does wrong, and don’t envy them. 2 They will soon disappear like grass without rain.
3 Trust the Lord and live right! The land will be yours, and you will be safe. 4 Do what the Lord wants, and he will give you your heart’s desire.
5 Let the Lord lead you and trust him to help. 6 Then it will be as clear as the noonday sun that you were right.
7 Be patient and trust the Lord. Don’t let it bother you when all goes well for those who do sinful things. 8 Don’t be angry or furious. Anger can lead to sin. 9 All sinners will disappear, but if you trust the Lord, the land will be yours.
10 Sinners will soon disappear, never to be found, 11 but the poor will take the land and enjoy a big harvest.
12 Merciless people make plots against good people and snarl like animals, 13 but the Lord laughs and knows their time is coming soon. 14 The wicked kill with swords and shoot arrows to murder the poor and the needy and all who do right. 15 But they will be killed by their own swords, and their arrows will be broken.
16 It is better to live right and be poor than to be sinful and rich. 17 The wicked will lose all of their power, but the Lord gives strength to everyone who is good.
18 Those who obey the Lord are daily in his care, and what he has given them will be theirs forever. 19 They won’t be in trouble when times are bad, and they will have plenty when food is scarce.
20 Wicked people are enemies of the Lord and will vanish like smoke from a field on fire.
21 An evil person borrows and never pays back; a good person is generous and never stops giving. 22 Everyone the Lord blesses will receive the land; everyone the Lord curses will be destroyed.
23 If you do what the Lord wants, he will make certain each step you take is sure. 24 The Lord will hold your hand, and if you stumble, you still won’t fall.
25 As long as I can remember, good people have never been left helpless, and their children have never gone begging for food. 26 They gladly give and lend, and their children turn out good.
27 If you stop sinning and start doing right, you will keep living and be secure forever. 28 The Lord loves justice, and he won’t ever desert his faithful people. He always protects them, but destroys the children of the wicked. 29 God’s people will own the land and live here forever.
30 Words of wisdom come when good people speak for justice. 31 They remember God’s teachings, and they never take a wrong step.
32 The wicked try to trap and kill good people, 33 but the Lord is on their side, and he will defend them when they are on trial.
34 Trust the Lord and follow him. He will give you the land, and you will see the wicked destroyed.
35 I have seen brutal people abuse others and grow strong like trees in rich soil.[a] 36 Suddenly they disappeared! I looked, but they were gone and no longer there.
37 Think of the bright future waiting for all the families of honest and innocent and peace-loving people. 38 But not a trace will be left of the wicked or their families.
39 The Lord protects his people, and they can come to him in times of trouble. 40 The Lord helps them and saves them from the wicked because they run to him.
(A psalm by David to be used when an offering is made.)
A Prayer in Times of Trouble
38 When you are angry, Lord, please don’t punish me or even correct me. 2 You shot me with your arrows, and you struck me with your hand.
3 My body hurts all over because of your anger. Even my bones are in pain, and my sins 4 are so heavy that I am crushed.
5 Because of my foolishness, I am covered with sores that stink and spread. 6 My body is twisted and bent, and I groan all day long. 7 Fever has my back in flames, and I hurt all over. 8 I am worn out and weak, moaning and in distress.
9 You, Lord, know every one of my deepest desires, and my noisy groans are no secret to you. 10 My heart is beating fast. I feel weak all over, and my eyes are red.
11 Because of my sickness, no friends or neighbors will come near me. 12 All who want me dead set traps to catch me, and those who want to harm and destroy me plan and plot all day.
13 I am not able to hear or speak a word; 14 I am completely deaf and can’t make a sound.
15 I trust you, Lord God, and you will do something. 16 I said, “Don’t let them laugh or brag because I slip.”
17 I am about to collapse from constant pain. 18 I told you my sins, and I am sorry for them. 19 Many deadly and powerful enemies hate me, 20 and they repay evil for good because I try to do right.
21 You are the Lord God! Stay nearby and don’t desert me. 22 You are the one who saves me. Please hurry and help.
(A psalm by David for Jeduthun, the music leader.)
A Prayer for Forgiveness
39 I told myself, “I’ll be careful not to sin by what I say, and I’ll muzzle my mouth when evil people are near.” 2 I kept completely silent, but it did no good,[b] and I hurt even worse.
3 I felt a fire burning inside, and the more I thought, the more it burned, until at last I said: 4 “Please, Lord, show me my future. Will I soon be gone? 5 You made my life short, so brief that the time means nothing to you.
“Human life is but a breath, 6 and it disappears like a shadow. Our struggles are senseless; we store up more and more, without ever knowing who will get it all.
7 “What am I waiting for? I depend on you, Lord! 8 Save me from my sins. Don’t let fools sneer at me. 9 You treated me like this, and I kept silent, not saying a word.
10 “Won’t you stop punishing me? You have worn me down. 11 You punish us severely because of our sins. Like a moth, you destroy what we treasure most. We are as frail as a breath.
12 “Listen, Lord, to my prayer! My eyes are flooded with tears, as I pray to you. I am merely a stranger visiting in your home as my ancestors did. 13 Stop being angry with me and let me smile again before I am dead and gone.”
37.35like. . . soil: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
39.2but. . . good: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
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