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.
87.4Egypt: The Hebrew text has “Rahab,” the name of a monster that stands for Egypt (see Isaiah 30.7).
13 Obey the rulers who have authority over you. Only God can give authority to anyone, and he puts these rulers in their places of power. 2 People who oppose the authorities are opposing what God has done, and they will be punished. 3 Rulers are a threat to evil people, not to good people. There is no need to be afraid of the authorities. Just do right, and they will praise you for it. 4 After all, they are God’s servants, and it is their duty to help you.
If you do something wrong, you ought to be afraid, because these rulers have the right to punish you. They are God’s servants who punish criminals to show how angry God is. 5 But you should obey the rulers because you know it is the right thing to do, and not just because of God’s anger.
6 You must also pay your taxes. The authorities are God’s servants, and it is their duty to take care of these matters. 7 Pay all that you owe, whether it is taxes and fees or respect and honor.
8 Let love be your only debt! If you love others, you have done all that the Law demands. 9 In the Law there are many commands, such as, “Be faithful in marriage. Do not murder. Do not steal. Do not want what belongs to others.” But all of these are summed up in the command that says, “Love others as much as you love yourself.” 10 No one who loves others will harm them. So love is all that the Law demands.
The Day When Christ Returns
11 You know what sort of times we live in, and so you should live properly. It is time to wake up. You know that the day when we will be saved is nearer now than when we first put our faith in the Lord. 12 Night is almost over, and day will soon appear. We must stop behaving as people do in the dark and be ready to live in the light. 13 So behave properly, as people do in the day. Don’t go to wild parties or get drunk or be vulgar or indecent. Don’t quarrel or be jealous. 14 Let the Lord Jesus Christ be as near to you as the clothes you wear. Then you won’t try to satisfy your selfish desires.
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