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Psalm 37-39New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Psalm 37

Exhortation to Patience and Trust

Of David.

Do not fret because of the wicked;
    do not be envious of wrongdoers,
for they will soon fade like the grass,
    and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.
He will make your vindication shine like the light,
    and the justice of your cause like the noonday.

Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
    do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
    over those who carry out evil devices.

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
    Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For the wicked shall be cut off,
    but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

10 Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more;
    though you look diligently for their place, they will not be there.
11 But the meek shall inherit the land,
    and delight themselves in abundant prosperity.

12 The wicked plot against the righteous,
    and gnash their teeth at them;
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
    for he sees that their day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
    to bring down the poor and needy,
    to kill those who walk uprightly;
15 their sword shall enter their own heart,
    and their bows shall be broken.

16 Better is a little that the righteous person has
    than the abundance of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
    but the Lord upholds the righteous.

18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
    and their heritage will abide forever;
19 they are not put to shame in evil times,
    in the days of famine they have abundance.

20 But the wicked perish,
    and the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures;
    they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

21 The wicked borrow, and do not pay back,
    but the righteous are generous and keep giving;
22 for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land,
    but those cursed by him shall be cut off.

23 Our steps[a] are made firm by the Lord,
    when he delights in our[b] way;
24 though we stumble,[c] we[d] shall not fall headlong,
    for the Lord holds us[e] by the hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old,
    yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
    or their children begging bread.
26 They are ever giving liberally and lending,
    and their children become a blessing.

27 Depart from evil, and do good;
    so you shall abide forever.
28 For the Lord loves justice;
    he will not forsake his faithful ones.

The righteous shall be kept safe forever,
    but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land,
    and live in it forever.

30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,
    and their tongues speak justice.
31 The law of their God is in their hearts;
    their steps do not slip.

32 The wicked watch for the righteous,
    and seek to kill them.
33 The Lord will not abandon them to their power,
    or let them be condemned when they are brought to trial.

34 Wait for the Lord, and keep to his way,
    and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
    you will look on the destruction of the wicked.

35 I have seen the wicked oppressing,
    and towering like a cedar of Lebanon.[f]
36 Again I[g] passed by, and they were no more;
    though I sought them, they could not be found.

37 Mark the blameless, and behold the upright,
    for there is posterity for the peaceable.
38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
    the posterity of the wicked shall be cut off.

39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
    he is their refuge in the time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and rescues them;
    he rescues them from the wicked, and saves them,
    because they take refuge in him.

Psalm 38

A Penitent Sufferer’s Plea for Healing

A Psalm of David, for the memorial offering.

O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger,
    or discipline me in your wrath.
For your arrows have sunk into me,
    and your hand has come down on me.

There is no soundness in my flesh
    because of your indignation;
there is no health in my bones
    because of my sin.
For my iniquities have gone over my head;
    they weigh like a burden too heavy for me.

My wounds grow foul and fester
    because of my foolishness;
I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
    all day long I go around mourning.
For my loins are filled with burning,
    and there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am utterly spent and crushed;
    I groan because of the tumult of my heart.

O Lord, all my longing is known to you;
    my sighing is not hidden from you.
10 My heart throbs, my strength fails me;
    as for the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.
11 My friends and companions stand aloof from my affliction,
    and my neighbors stand far off.

12 Those who seek my life lay their snares;
    those who seek to hurt me speak of ruin,
    and meditate treachery all day long.

13 But I am like the deaf, I do not hear;
    like the mute, who cannot speak.
14 Truly, I am like one who does not hear,
    and in whose mouth is no retort.

15 But it is for you, O Lord, that I wait;
    it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
16 For I pray, “Only do not let them rejoice over me,
    those who boast against me when my foot slips.”

17 For I am ready to fall,
    and my pain is ever with me.
18 I confess my iniquity;
    I am sorry for my sin.
19 Those who are my foes without cause[h] are mighty,
    and many are those who hate me wrongfully.
20 Those who render me evil for good
    are my adversaries because I follow after good.

21 Do not forsake me, O Lord;
    O my God, do not be far from me;
22 make haste to help me,
    O Lord, my salvation.

Psalm 39

Prayer for Wisdom and Forgiveness

To the leader: to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.

I said, “I will guard my ways
    that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will keep a muzzle on my mouth
    as long as the wicked are in my presence.”
I was silent and still;
    I held my peace to no avail;
my distress grew worse,
    my heart became hot within me.
While I mused, the fire burned;
    then I spoke with my tongue:

Lord, let me know my end,
    and what is the measure of my days;
    let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a few handbreadths,
    and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight.
Surely everyone stands as a mere breath.Selah
    Surely everyone goes about like a shadow.
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
    they heap up, and do not know who will gather.

“And now, O Lord, what do I wait for?
    My hope is in you.
Deliver me from all my transgressions.
    Do not make me the scorn of the fool.
I am silent; I do not open my mouth,
    for it is you who have done it.
10 Remove your stroke from me;
    I am worn down by the blows[i] of your hand.

11 “You chastise mortals
    in punishment for sin,
consuming like a moth what is dear to them;
    surely everyone is a mere breath.Selah

12 “Hear my prayer, O Lord,
    and give ear to my cry;
    do not hold your peace at my tears.
For I am your passing guest,
    an alien, like all my forebears.
13 Turn your gaze away from me, that I may smile again,
    before I depart and am no more.”

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 37:23 Heb A man’s steps
  2. Psalm 37:23 Heb his
  3. Psalm 37:24 Heb he stumbles
  4. Psalm 37:24 Heb he
  5. Psalm 37:24 Heb him
  6. Psalm 37:35 Gk: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  7. Psalm 37:36 Gk Syr Jerome: Heb he
  8. Psalm 38:19 Q Ms: MT my living foes
  9. Psalm 39:10 Heb hostility
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Acts 26New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Paul Defends Himself before Agrippa

26 Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and began to defend himself:

“I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, because you are especially familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews; therefore I beg of you to listen to me patiently.

“All the Jews know my way of life from my youth, a life spent from the beginning among my own people and in Jerusalem. They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that I have belonged to the strictest sect of our religion and lived as a Pharisee. And now I stand here on trial on account of my hope in the promise made by God to our ancestors, a promise that our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship day and night. It is for this hope, your Excellency,[a] that I am accused by Jews! Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?

“Indeed, I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things against the name of Jesus of Nazareth.[b] 10 And that is what I did in Jerusalem; with authority received from the chief priests, I not only locked up many of the saints in prison, but I also cast my vote against them when they were being condemned to death. 11 By punishing them often in all the synagogues I tried to force them to blaspheme; and since I was so furiously enraged at them, I pursued them even to foreign cities.

Paul Tells of His Conversion

12 “With this in mind, I was traveling to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, 13 when at midday along the road, your Excellency,[c] I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and my companions. 14 When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew[d] language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It hurts you to kick against the goads.’ 15 I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The Lord answered, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But get up and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and testify to the things in which you have seen me[e] and to those in which I will appear to you. 17 I will rescue you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

Paul Tells of His Preaching

19 “After that, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout the countryside of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God and do deeds consistent with repentance. 21 For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 To this day I have had help from God, and so I stand here, testifying to both small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would take place: 23 that the Messiah[f] must suffer, and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”

Paul Appeals to Agrippa to Believe

24 While he was making this defense, Festus exclaimed, “You are out of your mind, Paul! Too much learning is driving you insane!” 25 But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking the sober truth. 26 Indeed the king knows about these things, and to him I speak freely; for I am certain that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” 28 Agrippa said to Paul, “Are you so quickly persuading me to become a Christian?”[g] 29 Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that not only you but also all who are listening to me today might become such as I am—except for these chains.”

30 Then the king got up, and with him the governor and Bernice and those who had been seated with them; 31 and as they were leaving, they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.” 32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to the emperor.”

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 26:7 Gk O king
  2. Acts 26:9 Gk the Nazorean
  3. Acts 26:13 Gk O king
  4. Acts 26:14 That is, Aramaic
  5. Acts 26:16 Other ancient authorities read the things that you have seen
  6. Acts 26:23 Or the Christ
  7. Acts 26:28 Or Quickly you will persuade me to play the Christian
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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