86 Please listen, Lord, and answer my prayer! I am poor and helpless. 2 Protect me and save me because you are my God. I am your faithful servant, and I trust you. 3 Be kind to me! I pray to you all day. 4 Make my heart glad! I serve you, and my prayer is sincere. 5 You willingly forgive, and your love is always there for those who pray to you. 6 Please listen, Lord! Answer my prayer for help. 7 When I am in trouble, I pray, knowing you will listen.
8 No other gods are like you; only you work miracles. 9 You created each nation, and they will all bow down to worship and honor you. 10 You perform great wonders because you alone are God.
11 Teach me to follow you, and I will obey your truth. Always keep me faithful. 12 With all my heart I thank you. I praise you, Lord God. 13 Your love for me is so great that you protected me from death and the grave.
14 Proud and violent enemies, who don’t care about you, have ganged up to attack and kill me. 15 But you, the Lord God, are kind and merciful. You don’t easily get angry, and your love can always be trusted. 16 I serve you, Lord, and I am the child of one of your servants. Look on me with kindness. Make me strong and save me. 17 Show that you approve of me! Then my hateful enemies will feel like fools, because you have helped and comforted me.
(A psalm and a song by the people of Korah.)
The Glory of Mount Zion
87 Zion was built by the Lord on the holy mountain, 2 and he loves that city more than any other place in all of Israel. 3 Zion, you are the city of God, and wonderful things are told about you.
4 Egypt,[a] Babylonia, Philistia, Phoenicia,[b] and Ethiopia[c] are some of those nations that know you, and their people all say, “I was born in Zion.”
5 God Most High will strengthen the city of Zion. Then everyone will say, “We were born here too.” 6 The Lord will make a list of his people, and all who were born here will be included.
7 All who sing or dance will say, “I too am from Zion.”
(A song and a psalm by the people of Korah for the music leader. To the tune “Mahalath Leannoth.”[d] 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.[e]
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.
(A special psalm by Ethan the Ezrahite.)
The Lord’s Agreement with David
89 Our Lord, I will sing of your love forever. Everyone yet to be born will hear me praise your faithfulness. 2 I will tell them, “God’s love can always be trusted, and his faithfulness lasts as long as the heavens.”
3 You said, “David, my servant, is my chosen one, and this is the agreement I made with him: 4 David, one of your descendants will always be king.”
5 Our Lord, let the heavens now praise your miracles, and let all of your angels praise your faithfulness.
6 None who live in the heavens can compare with you. 7 You are the most fearsome of all who live in heaven; all the others fear and greatly honor you. 8 You are Lord God All-Powerful! No one is as loving and faithful as you are. 9 You rule the roaring sea and calm its waves. 10 You crushed the monster Rahab,[f] and with your powerful arm you scattered your enemies. 11 The heavens and the earth belong to you. And so does the world with all its people because you created them 12 and everything else.[g]
Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon gladly praise you. 13 You are strong and mighty! 14 Your kingdom is ruled by justice and fairness with love and faithfulness leading the way.
15 Our Lord, you bless those who join in the festival and walk in the brightness of your presence. 16 We are happy all day because of you, and your saving power brings honor to us. 17 Your own glorious power makes us strong, and because of your kindness, our strength increases. 18 Our Lord and our King, the Holy One of Israel, you are truly our shield.
19 In a vision, you once said to your faithful followers: “I have helped a mighty hero. I chose him from my people and made him famous. 20 David, my servant, is the one I chose to be king, 21 and I will always be there to help and strengthen him.
22 “No enemy will outsmart David, and he won’t be defeated by any hateful people. 23 I will strike down and crush his troublesome enemies. 24 He will always be able to depend on my love, and I will make him strong with my own power. 25 I will let him rule the lands across the rivers and seas. 26 He will say to me, ‘You are my Father and my God, as well as the mighty rock[h] where I am safe.'
27 “I have chosen David as my first-born son, and he will be the ruler of all kings on earth. 28 My love for him will last, and my agreement with him will never be broken.
29 “One of David’s descendants will always be king, and his family will rule until the sky disappears. 30 Suppose some of his children should reject my Law and refuse my instructions. 31 Or suppose they should disobey all of my teachings. 32 Then I will correct and punish them because of their sins. 33 But I will always love David and faithfully keep all of my promises to him.
34 “I won’t break my agreement or go back on my word. 35 I have sworn once and for all by my own holy name, and I won’t lie to David. 36 His family will always rule. I will let his kingdom last as long as the sun 37 and moon appear in the sky.”
38 You are now angry, God, and you have turned your back on your chosen king. 39 You broke off your agreement with your servant, the king, and you completely destroyed his kingdom. 40 The walls of his city have been broken through, and every fortress now lies in ruin. 41 All who pass by take what they want, and nations everywhere joke about the king.
42 You made his enemies powerful and let them celebrate. 43 But you forced him to retreat because you did not fight on his side. 44 You took his crown[i] and threw his throne in the dirt. 45 You made an old man of him and put him to shame.
46 How much longer, Lord? Will you hide forever? How long will your anger keep burning like fire? 47 Remember, life is short![j] Why did you empty our lives of all meaning? 48 No one can escape the power of death and the grave.
49 Our Lord, where is the love you have always shown and that you promised so faithfully to David? 50 Remember your servant, Lord! People make jokes about me, and I suffer many insults. 51 I am your chosen one, but your enemies chase and make fun of me.
52 Our Lord, we praise you forever. Amen and amen.
87.4Egypt: The Hebrew text has “Rahab,” the name of a monster that stands for Egypt (see Isaiah 30.7).
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.
89.10Rahab: Many people in the ancient world thought that the world was controlled by this sea monster that the Lord destroyed at the time of creation (see Isaiah 51.9).
89.12and everything else: The Hebrew text has “Zaphon and Yamin,” which may either be the names of mountains or refer to the directions “north and south,” with the meaning “everything from north to south.”
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