81 Be happy and shout to God who makes us strong! Shout praises to the God of Jacob. 2 Sing as you play tambourines and the lovely sounding stringed instruments. 3 Sound the trumpets and start the New Moon Festival.[b] We must also celebrate when the moon is full. 4 This is the law in Israel, and it was given to us by the God of Jacob. 5 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: 6 “I lifted the burden from your shoulder and took the heavy basket from your hands. 7 When you were in trouble, I rescued you, and from the thunderclouds, I answered your prayers. Later I tested you at Meribah Spring.[c]
8 “Listen, my people, while I, the Lord, correct you! Israel, if you would only pay attention to me! 9 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[d] until you were full.”
81.3New 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.
81.7Meribah 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”).
81.16the best honey: The Hebrew text has “honey from rocks,” referring to honey taken from beehives in holes or cracks in large rocks.
(A song and a psalm by the people of Korah for the music leader. To the tune “Mahalath Leannoth.”[a] A special psalm by Heman the Ezrahite.)
A Prayer When You Can’t Find the Way
88 You keep me safe, Lord God. So when I pray at night, 2 please listen carefully to each of my concerns.
3 I am deeply troubled and close to death; 4 I am as good as dead and completely helpless. 5 I am no better off than those in the grave, those you have forgotten and no longer help.
6 You have put me in the deepest and darkest grave; 7 your anger rolls over me like ocean waves. 8 You have made my friends turn in horror from me. I am a prisoner who cannot escape, 9 and I am almost blind because of my sorrow.
Each day I lift my hands in prayer to you, Lord. 10 Do you work miracles for the dead? Do they stand up and praise you? 11 Are your love and loyalty announced in the world of the dead? 12 Do they know of your miracles or your saving power in the dark world below where all is forgotten?
13 Each morning I pray to you, Lord. 14 Why do you reject me? Why do you turn from me? 15 Ever since I was a child, I have been sick and close to death. You have terrified me and made me helpless.[b]
16 Your anger is like a flood! And I am shattered by your furious attacks 17 that strike each day and from every side. 18 My friends and neighbors have turned against me because of you, and now darkness is my only companion.
Psalm 88To. . . Leannoth: Or “For the flutes,” one possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
88.15and made me helpless: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
92 It is wonderful to be grateful and to sing your praises, Lord Most High! 2 It is wonderful each morning to tell about your love and at night to announce how faithful you are. 3 I enjoy praising your name to the music of harps, 4 because everything you do makes me happy, and I sing joyful songs.
5 You do great things, Lord. Your thoughts are too deep 6 for an ignorant fool to know or understand. 7 Though the wicked sprout and spread like grass, they will be pulled up by their roots. 8 But you will rule over all of us forever, 9 and your hateful enemies will be scattered and then destroyed.
10 You have given me the strength of a wild ox, and you have chosen me to be your very own. 11 My eyes have seen, and my ears have heard the doom and destruction of my terrible enemies.
12 Good people will prosper like palm trees, and they will grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. 13 They will take root in your house, Lord God, and they will do well. 14 They will be like trees that stay healthy and fruitful, even when they are old. 15 And they will say about you, “The Lord always does right! God is our mighty rock.”[a]
The Lord Is King
93 Our Lord, you are King! Majesty and power are your royal robes. You put the world in place, and it will never be moved. 2 You have always ruled, and you are eternal.
3 The ocean is roaring, Lord! The sea is pounding hard. 4 Its mighty waves are majestic, but you are more majestic, and you rule over all. 5 Your decisions are firm, and your temple will always be beautiful and holy.
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