18 “I love You [fervently and devotedly], O Lord, my strength.”
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and the One who rescues me;
My God, my rock and strength in whom I trust and take refuge;
My shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower—my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
And I am saved from my enemies.
The cords of death surrounded me,
And the streams of ungodliness and torrents of destruction terrified me.
The cords of Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead) surrounded me;
The snares of death confronted me.
In my distress [when I seemed surrounded] I called upon the Lord
And cried to my God for help;
He heard my voice from His temple,
And my cry for help came before Him, into His very ears.
Then the earth shook and quaked,
The foundations of the mountains trembled;
They were shaken because He was indignant and angry.
Smoke went up from His nostrils,
And fire from His mouth devoured;
Coals were kindled by it.
He bowed the heavens also and came down;
And thick darkness was under His feet.
And He rode upon a cherub (storm) and flew;
And He sped on the wings of the wind.
He made darkness His hiding place (covering); His pavilion (canopy) around Him,
The darkness of the waters, the thick clouds of the skies.
Out of the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
And the Most High uttered His voice,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
He sent out His arrows and scattered them;
And He sent an abundance of lightning flashes and confused and routed them [in defeat].
Then the stream beds of the waters appeared,
And the foundations of the world were laid bare
At Your rebuke, O Lord,
At the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.
He reached from on high, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
He rescued me from my strong enemy,
And from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
But the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a broad place;
He rescued me because He was pleased with me and delighted in me.
The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness (moral character, spiritual integrity);
According to the cleanness of my hands He has rewarded me.
For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
And have not wickedly departed from my God.
For all His ordinances were before me,
And I did not put away His statutes from me.
I was [a]blameless before Him,
And I kept myself free from my sin.
Therefore the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness (moral character, spiritual integrity),
According to the cleanness of my hands in His sight.
With the kind (merciful, faithful, loyal) You show Yourself kind,
With the blameless You show Yourself blameless,
With the pure You show Yourself pure,
And with the crooked You show Yourself astute.
For You save an afflicted and humble people,
But bring down those [arrogant fools] with haughty eyes.
For You cause my lamp to be lighted and to shine;
The Lord my God illumines my darkness.
For by You I can crush a troop,
And by my God I can leap over a wall.
As for God, His way is [b]blameless.
The word of the Lord is tested [it is perfect, it is faultless];
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
For who is God, but the Lord?
Or who is a rock, except our God,
The God who encircles me with strength
And makes my way blameless?
He makes my feet like [c]hinds’ feet [able to stand firmly and tread safely on paths of testing and trouble];
He sets me [securely] upon my high places.
He trains my hands for war,
So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You have also given me the shield of Your salvation,
And Your right hand upholds and sustains me;
Your gentleness [Your gracious response when I pray] makes me great.
You enlarge the path beneath me and make my steps secure,
So that my feet will not slip.
I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
And I did not turn back until they were consumed.
I shattered them so that they were not able to rise;
They fell [wounded] under my feet.
For You have encircled me with strength for the battle;
You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.
You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me [in defeat],
And I silenced and destroyed those who hated me.
They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—
Even to the Lord [they cried], but He did not answer them.
Then I beat them fine as the dust before the wind;
I emptied them out as the dirt of the streets.
You have rescued me from the contentions of the people;
You have placed me as the head of the nations;
A people whom I have not known serve me.
As soon as they hear me, they respond and obey me;
Foreigners feign obedience to me.
Foreigners lose heart,
And come trembling out of their strongholds.
The Lord lives, blessed be my rock;
And may the God of my salvation be exalted,
The God who avenges me,
And subdues peoples (nations) under me.
He rescues me from my enemies;
Yes, You lift me up above those who rise up against me;
You deliver me from the man of violence.
Therefore will I give thanks and praise You, O Lord, among the nations,
And sing praises to Your name.
He gives great triumphs to His king,
And shows steadfast love and mercy to His anointed,
To David and his descendants forever.
19 The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And the expanse [of heaven] is declaring the work of His hands.
Day after day pours forth speech,
And night after night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there [spoken] words [from the stars];
Their voice is not heard.
Yet their voice [in quiet evidence] has gone out through all the earth,
Their words to the end of the world.
In them and in the heavens He has made a tent for the sun,
Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber;
It rejoices as a strong man to run his course.
The sun’s rising is from one end of the heavens,
And its circuit to the other end of them;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect (flawless), restoring and refreshing the soul;
The statutes of the Lord are reliable and trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true, they are righteous altogether.
They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them Your servant is warned [reminded, illuminated, and instructed];
In keeping them there is great reward.
Who can understand his errors or omissions? Acquit me of hidden (unconscious, unintended) faults.
Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous (deliberate, willful) sins;
Let them not rule and have control over me.
Then I will be blameless (complete),
And I shall be acquitted of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable and pleasing in Your sight,
O Lord, my [firm, immovable] rock and my Redeemer.
17 However, from Miletus he sent word to Ephesus and summoned the elders of the church [to meet him there]. 18 And when they arrived he said to them:
“You know well how I [lived when I] was with you, from the first day that I set foot in Asia [until now], 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and trials which came on me because of the plots of the Jews [against me]; 20 [you know] how I did not shrink back in fear from telling you anything that was for your benefit, or from teaching you in public meetings, and from house to house, 21 solemnly [and wholeheartedly] testifying to both Jews and Greeks, urging them to turn in repentance to God and [to have] faith in our Lord Jesus Christ [for salvation]. 22 And now, compelled by the Spirit and obligated by my convictions, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit solemnly [and emphatically] affirms to me in city after city that imprisonment and suffering await me. 24 But I do not consider my life as something of value or dear to me, so that I may [with joy] finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify faithfully of the good news of God’s [precious, undeserved] grace [which makes us free of the guilt of sin and grants us eternal life].
25 “And now, listen carefully: I know that none of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, [a]will see me again. 26 For that reason I testify to you on this [our parting] day that I am innocent of the blood of all people. 27 For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose and plan of God. 28 Take care and be on guard for yourselves and for the whole flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as overseers, to shepherd (tend, feed, guide) the church of God which He bought with His own blood. 29 I know that after I am gone, [false teachers like] ferocious wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 even from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse and distorted things, to draw away the disciples after themselves [as their followers]. 31 Therefore be continually alert, remembering that for three years, night or day, I did not stop admonishing and advising each one [of you] with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God [placing you in His protective, loving care] and [I commend you] to the word of His grace [the counsel and promises of His unmerited favor]. His grace is able to build you up and to give you the [rightful] inheritance among all those who are sanctified [that is, among those who are set apart for God’s purpose—all believers]. 33 I had no desire for anyone’s silver or gold or [expensive] clothes. 34 You know personally that these hands ministered to my own needs [working in manual labor] and to [those of] the people who were with me. 35 In everything I showed you [by example] that by working hard in this way you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed [and brings greater joy] to give than to receive.’”
36 When he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 And [b]they began to weep openly and threw their arms around Paul’s neck, and repeatedly kissed him, 38 grieving and distressed especially over the word which he had spoken, that they would not see him again. And they accompanied him to the ship.