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(A psalm by Asaph for the music leader. To the tune “Lilies of the Agreement.”)

Help Our Nation

80 Shepherd of Israel, you lead
    the descendants of Joseph,
and you sit on your throne
    above the winged creatures.[a]
Listen to our prayer
    and let your light shine
    for the tribes of Ephraim,
Benjamin, and Manasseh.
    Save us by your power.

Our God, make us strong again!
    Smile on us and save us.

Lord God All-Powerful,
    how much longer
    will the prayers of your people
    make you angry?
You gave us tears for food,
    and you made us drink them
    by the bowlful.
Because of you,
our enemies who live nearby
    laugh and joke about us.
But if you smile on us,
    we will be saved.

We were like a grapevine
    you brought out of Egypt.
    You chased other nations away
    and planted us here.
Then you cleared the ground,
    and we put our roots deep,
    spreading over the land.
10 Shade from this vine covered
    the mountains.
Its branches
climbed
the mighty cedars
11     and stretched to the sea;
    its new growth reached
    to the river.[b]

12 Our Lord, why have you
torn down the wall
    from around the vineyard?
You let everyone who walks by
    pick the grapes.
13     Now the vine is gobbled down
by pigs from the forest
    and other wild animals.

14 God All-Powerful,
    please do something!
Look down from heaven
and see what’s happening
    to this vine.
15 With your own hands
    you planted its roots,
and you raised it
    as your very own.

16 Enemies chopped the vine down
    and set it on fire.
    Now show your anger
    and destroy them.
17 But help the one who sits
    at your right side,[c]
    the one you raised
    to be your own.
18 Then we will never turn away.
    Put new life into us,
    and we will worship you.

19 Lord God All-Powerful,
make us strong again!
    Smile on us and save us.

(By Asaph for the music leader.[d])

God Makes Us Strong

81 Be happy and shout to God
    who makes us strong!
    Shout praises to the God
    of Jacob.
Sing as you play tambourines
    and the lovely sounding
    stringed instruments.
Sound the trumpets and start
    the New Moon Festival.[e]
    We must also celebrate
    when the moon is full.
This is the law in Israel,
    and it was given to us
    by the God of Jacob.
The descendants of Joseph
    were told to obey it,
    when God led them out
    from the land of Egypt.

In a language unknown to me,
    I heard someone say:
“I lifted the burden
    from your shoulder
    and took the heavy basket
    from your hands.
When you were in trouble,
    I rescued you,
    and from the thunderclouds,
    I answered your prayers.
    Later I tested you
    at Meribah Spring.[f]

“Listen, my people,
while I, the Lord,
    correct you!
    Israel, if you would only
    pay attention to me!
Don’t worship foreign gods
    or bow down to gods
    you know nothing about.
10 I am the Lord your God.
    I rescued you from Egypt.
    Just ask, and I will give you
    whatever you need.

11 “But, my people, Israel,
    you refused to listen,
    and you would have nothing
    to do with me!
12 So I let you be stubborn
    and keep on following
    your own advice.

13 “My people, Israel,
if only you would listen
    and do as I say!
14 I, the Lord, would quickly
defeat your enemies
    with my mighty power.
15 Everyone who hates me
    would come crawling,
    and that would be the end
    of them.
16 But I would feed you
    with the finest bread
    and with the best honey[g]
    until you were full.”

(A psalm by Asaph.)

Please Do Something, God!

82 When all of the other gods[h]
    have come together,
    the Lord God judges them
    and says:
“How long will you
keep judging unfairly
    and favoring evil people?
Be fair to the poor
    and to orphans.
    Defend the helpless
    and everyone in need.
Rescue the weak and homeless
    from the powerful hands
    of heartless people.

“None of you know
    or understand a thing.
You live in darkness,
    while the foundations
    of the earth tremble.[i]

“I, the Most High God, say
that all of you are gods[j]
    and also my own children.
But you will die,
just like everyone else,
    including powerful rulers.”

Do something, God!
Judge the nations of the earth;
    they belong to you.

(A song and a psalm by Asaph.)

God Rules All the Earth

83 Our God, don’t just sit there,
    silently doing nothing!
Your hateful enemies
are turning against you
    and rebelling.
They are sly, and they plot
    against those you treasure.
They say, “Let’s wipe out
    the nation of Israel
    and make sure that no one
    remembers its name!”

All of them fully agree
in their plans against you,
    and among them are
Edom and the Ishmaelites;
    Moab and the Hagrites;
    Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek;
    Philistia and Phoenicia.[k]
Even Assyria has joined forces
    with Moab and Ammon.[l]

Our Lord, punish all of them
    as you punished Midian.
Destroy them, as you destroyed
    Sisera and Jabin
    at Kishon Creek 10 near Endor,
    and let their bodies rot.
11 Treat their leaders as you did
    Oreb and Zeeb,
    Zebah and Zalmunna.
12 All of them said, “We’ll take
    God’s valuable land!”

13 Our God, scatter them around
    like dust in a whirlwind.
14 Just as flames destroy forests
    on the mountains,
15     pursue and terrify them
    with storms of your own.
16 Make them blush with shame,
    until they turn and worship
    you, our Lord.
17 Let them be forever ashamed
and confused.
    Let them die in disgrace.
18 Make them realize that you
are the Lord Most High,
    the only ruler of earth!

(For the music leader.[m] A psalm for the people of Korah.)

The Joy of Worship

84 Lord God All-Powerful,
    your temple is so lovely!
Deep in my heart I long
    for your temple,
    and with all that I am
    I sing joyful songs to you.

Lord God All-Powerful,
    my King and my God,
sparrows find a home
    near your altars;
    swallows build nests there
    to raise their young.

You bless everyone
who lives in your house,
    and they sing your praises.
You bless all who depend
    on you for their strength
    and all who deeply desire
    to visit your temple.
When they reach Dry Valley,[n]
    springs start flowing,
    and the autumn rain fills it
    with pools of water.[o]
Your people grow stronger,
    and you, the God of gods,
    will be seen in Zion.

Lord God All-Powerful,
the God of Jacob,
    please answer my prayer!
You are the shield
    that protects your people,
    and I am your chosen one.
    Won’t you smile on me?

10 One day in your temple
is better
    than a thousand
    anywhere else.
I would rather serve
    in your house,
    than live in the homes
    of the wicked.

11 Our Lord and our God,
you are like the sun
    and also like a shield.
You treat us with kindness
    and with honor,
    never denying any good thing
    to those who live right.

12 Lord God All-Powerful,
    you bless everyone
    who trusts you.

(A psalm by the people of Korah for the music leader.)

A Prayer for Peace

85 Our Lord, you have blessed
    your land
    and made all go well
    for Jacob’s descendants.
You have forgiven the sin
    and taken away the guilt
    of your people.
Your fierce anger is no longer
    aimed at us.

Our Lord and our God,
    you save us!
    Please bring us back home
    and don’t be angry.
Will you always be angry
    with us and our families?
Won’t you give us fresh life
    and let your people be glad
    because of you?
Show us your love
    and save us!

I will listen to you, Lord God,
    because you promise peace
to those
    who are faithful
    and no longer foolish.
You are ready to rescue
    everyone who worships you,
    so that you will live with us
    in all of your glory.

10 Love and loyalty
    will come together;
    goodness and peace
    will unite.
11 Loyalty will sprout
    from the ground;
    justice will look down
    from the sky above.

12 Our Lord, you will bless us;
    our land will produce
    wonderful crops.
13 Justice will march in front,
    making a path
    for you to follow.

Footnotes

  1. 80.1 winged creatures: Two winged creatures made of gold were on the top of the sacred chest and were symbols of the Lord’s throne on earth (see Exodus 25.18).
  2. 80.11 the sea. . . the river: The Mediterranean Sea and the Euphrates River were part of the ideal boundaries for Israel.
  3. 80.17 right side: See the note at 16.11.
  4. Psalm 81 leader: See the note at Psalm 8.
  5. 81.3 New Moon Festival: Celebrated on the first day of each new moon, which was the beginning of the month. But this may refer to either the New Year celebration or the Harvest Festival. “The moon is full” suggests a festival in the middle of the month.
  6. 81.7 Meribah Spring: When the people of Israel complained to Moses about the need for water, God commanded Moses to strike a rock with his walking stick, and water came out. The place was then named Massah (“test”) and Meribah (“complaining”).
  7. 81.16 the best honey: The Hebrew text has “honey from rocks,” referring to honey taken from beehives in holes or cracks in large rocks.
  8. 82.1 the other gods: This probably refers to the gods of the nations that God defeated, but it could refer to God’s servants (angels) in heaven or even to human rulers.
  9. 82.5 foundations. . . tremble: In ancient times it was believed that the earth was flat and supported by columns.
  10. 82.6 all of you are gods: See the note at 82.1.
  11. 83.7 Phoenicia: The Hebrew text has “Tyre,” the main city in Phoenicia.
  12. 83.8 Moab and Ammon: The Hebrew text has “the descendants of Lot,” whose older daughter was the mother of the Moabites and whose younger daughter was the mother of the Ammonites (see Genesis 19.30-38).
  13. Psalm 84 leader: See the note at Psalm 8.
  14. 84.6 Dry Valley: Or “Balsam Tree Valley.” The exact location is not known.
  15. 84.6 and. . . water: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

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