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Psalm 140-142

Prayer for Protection against the Wicked.

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

140 Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men;
Protect me from violent men.

They devise evil things in their hearts;
They continually [gather together and] stir up wars.

They sharpen their tongues like a serpent’s;
Poison of a viper is under their lips. Selah.


Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
Protect me from violent men
Who intend to trip up my steps.

The proud have hidden a trap for me, and cords;
They have spread a net by the wayside;
They have set traps for me. Selah.


I said to the Lord, “You are my God;
Listen to the voice of my supplications, O Lord.

“O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation,
You have covered my head in the day of battle.

“Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked;
Do not further their evil device, that they not be exalted. Selah.


“Those who surround me raise their heads;
May the mischief of their own lips come upon them.
10 
“Let burning coals fall upon them;
Let them be thrown into the fire,
Into deep [water] pits from which they cannot rise.
11 
“Do not let a slanderer be established in the earth;
Let evil quickly hunt the violent man [to overthrow him and stop his evil acts].”

12 
I know [with confidence] that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted,
And [will secure] justice for the poor.
13 
Surely the righteous will give thanks to Your name;
The upright will dwell in Your presence.

An Evening Prayer for Sanctification and Protection.

A Psalm of David.

141 Lord, I call upon You; hurry to me.
Listen to my voice when I call to You.

Let my prayer be counted as incense before You;
The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips [to keep me from speaking thoughtlessly].

Do not incline my heart to [consent to or tolerate] any evil thing,
Or to practice deeds of wickedness
With men who plan and do evil;
And let me not eat of their delicacies (be tempted by their gain).


Let the righteous [thoughtfully] strike (correct) me—it is a kindness [done to encourage my spiritual maturity].
It is [the choicest anointing] oil on the head;
Let my head not refuse [to accept and acknowledge and learn from] it;
For still my prayer is against their wicked deeds.

Their [wicked, godless] judges are thrown down the sides of the rocky cliff,
And they [who followed them] will hear my words, for they are pleasant (just).

As when the one plows and breaks open the ground [and the soil scatters behind him],
Our bones have been scattered at the mouth of Sheol [by the injustices of the wicked].


For my eyes are toward You, O God, the Lord;
In You I take refuge; do not pour out my life nor leave me defenseless.

Keep me from the jaws of the trap which they have set for me,
And from the snares of those who do evil.
10 
Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
While I pass by and safely escape [from danger].

Prayer for Help in Trouble.

A skillful song, or a didactic or reflective poem, of David; when he was in the cave. A Prayer.

142 I cry aloud with my voice to the Lord;
I make supplication with my voice to the Lord.

I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare my trouble before Him.

When my spirit was overwhelmed and weak within me [wrapped in darkness],
You knew my path.
In the way where I walk
They have hidden a trap for me.

Look to the right [the point of attack] and see;
For there is no one who has regard for me [to act in my favor].
Escape has failed me and I have nowhere to run;
No one cares about my life.


I cried out to You, O Lord;
I said, “You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living.

“Give attention to my cry,
For I am brought very low;
Rescue me from my persecutors,
For they are stronger than I.

“Bring my soul out of prison (adversity),
So that I may give thanks and praise Your name;
The righteous will surround me [in triumph],
For You will look after me.”

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1 Corinthians 14:1-20

Prophecy a Superior Gift

14 Pursue [this] love [with eagerness, make it your goal], yet earnestly desire and cultivate the spiritual gifts [to be used by believers for the benefit of the church], but especially that you may [a]prophesy [to foretell the future, to speak a new message from God to the people]. For one who speaks in an unknown tongue does not speak to people but to God; for no one understands him or catches his meaning, but by the Spirit he speaks mysteries [secret truths, hidden things]. But [on the other hand] the one who prophesies speaks to people for edification [to promote their spiritual growth] and [speaks words of] encouragement [to uphold and advise them concerning the matters of God] and [speaks words of] consolation [to compassionately comfort them]. One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church [promotes growth in spiritual wisdom, devotion, holiness, and joy]. Now I wish that all of you spoke in unknown tongues, but even more [I wish] that you would prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater [and more useful] than the one who speaks in tongues, unless he translates or explains [what he says], so that the church may [b]be edified [instructed, improved, strengthened].

Now, believers, if I come to you speaking in unknown tongues, how will I benefit you unless I also speak to you [clearly] either by revelation [revealing God’s mystery], or by knowledge [teaching about God], or by prophecy [foretelling the future, speaking a new message from God to the people], or by instruction [teaching precepts that develop spiritual maturity]? Yet even lifeless things, whether flute or harp, when producing a sound, if they do not produce distinct [musical] tones, how will anyone [listening] know what is piped or played? And if the [war] bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle? So it is with you, if you speak words [in an unknown tongue] that are not intelligible and clear, how will anyone understand what you are saying? You will be talking into the air [wasting your breath]! 10 There are, I suppose, a great many kinds of languages in the world [unknown to us], and none is lacking in meaning. 11 But if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will [appear to] be a [c]foreigner to the one who is speaking [since he knows exactly what he is saying], and the one who is speaking will [appear to] be a foreigner to me. 12 So it is with you, since you are so very eager to have spiritual gifts and manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in ways that will build up the church [spiritually].

13 Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may [be gifted to] translate or explain [what he says]. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unproductive [because it does not understand what my spirit is praying]. 15 Then what am I to do? I will pray with the [d]spirit [by the Holy Spirit that is within me] and I will pray with the mind [using words I understand]; I will sing with the spirit [by the Holy Spirit that is within me] and I will sing with the mind [using words I understand]. 16 Otherwise if you bless [and give thanks to God] in the spirit only, how will any outsider or someone who is not gifted [in spiritual matters] say the “Amen” [of agreement] to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? 17 You are giving thanks well enough [in a way that God is glorified], but the other person [who does not understand you] is not edified [and spiritually strengthened since he cannot join in your thanksgiving]. 18 I thank God that I speak in [unknown] tongues more than all of you; 19 nevertheless, in public worship I would rather say five understandable words in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue [which others cannot understand].

Instruction for the Church

20 Brothers and sisters, do not be children [immature, childlike] in your thinking; be infants in [matters of] evil [completely innocent and inexperienced], but in your minds be mature [adults].

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Corinthians 14:1 In both the Old and the New Testaments, prophets are divinely inspired to foretell the future in the process of delivering God’s word to the people. Paul is saying to the Corinthians that all gifts are worthy and necessary (cf 12:11, 18, 29, 30), but that they should give the gift of prophecy the highest priority (cf Deut 18).
  2. 1 Corinthians 14:5 Lit receive edification.
  3. 1 Corinthians 14:11 Lit barbarian, i.e. one who did not speak Greek; especially a person from an uncivilized region whose speech could not be readily translated.
  4. 1 Corinthians 14:15 May refer to Paul’s spirit, the Holy Spirit, or the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
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