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(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.
They like themselves too much
to hate their own sins
    or even to see them.
They tell deceitful lies,
    and they don’t have the sense
    to live right.
Those people stay awake,
    thinking up mischief,
and they follow the wrong road,
    refusing to turn from sin.

Your love is faithful, Lord,
    and even the clouds in the sky
    can depend on you.
Your decisions are always fair.
They are firm like mountains,
    deep like the sea,
    and all people and animals
    are under your care.

Your love is a treasure,
and everyone finds shelter
    in the shadow of your wings.
You give your guests a feast
    in your house,
    and you serve a tasty drink
    that flows like a river.
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.

(By David.)

Trust the Lord

37 Don’t be annoyed by anyone
who does wrong,
    and don’t envy them.
They will soon disappear
    like grass without rain.

Trust the Lord and live right!
    The land will be yours,
    and you will be safe.
Do what the Lord wants,
    and he will give you
    your heart’s desire.

Let the Lord lead you
    and trust him to help.
Then it will be as clear
as the noonday sun
    that you were right.

Be patient and trust the Lord.
    Don’t let it bother you
when all goes well for those
    who do sinful things.
Don’t be angry or furious.
    Anger can lead to sin.
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.
You shot me with your arrows,
    and you struck me
    with your hand.

My body hurts all over
    because of your anger.
Even my bones are in pain,
    and my sins are so heavy
    that I am crushed.

Because of my foolishness,
I am covered with sores
    that stink and spread.
My body is twisted and bent,
    and I groan all day long.
Fever has my back in flames,
    and I hurt all over.
    I am worn out and weak,
    moaning and in distress.

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.”
I kept completely silent,
but it did no good,[b]
    and I hurt even worse.

I felt a fire burning inside,
    and the more I thought,
    the more it burned,
    until at last I said:
“Please, Lord,
show me my future.
    Will I soon be gone?
You made my life short,
so brief that the time
    means nothing to you.

“Human life is but a breath,
    and it disappears
    like a shadow.
Our struggles are senseless;
we store up more and more,
    without ever knowing
    who will get it all.

“What am I waiting for?
    I depend on you, Lord!
    Save me from my sins.
    Don’t let fools sneer at me.
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.”

Footnotes

  1. 37.35 like. . . soil: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 39.2 but. . . good: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.