A Cry in Distress
102 1 God, listen! Listen to my prayer, listen to the pain in my cries. 2 Don't turn your back on me just when I need you so desperately. Pay attention! This is a cry for help! And hurry - this can't wait! 3 I'm wasting away to nothing, I'm burning up with fever. 4 I'm a ghost of my former self, half-consumed already by terminal illness. 5 My jaws ache from gritting my teeth; I'm nothing but skin and bones. 6 I'm like a buzzard in the desert, a crow perched on the rubble. 7 Insomniac, I twitter away, mournful as a sparrow in the gutter. 8 All day long my enemies taunt me, while others just curse. 9 They bring in meals - casseroles of ashes! I draw drink from a barrel of my tears. 10 And all because of your furious anger; you swept me up and threw me out. 11 There's nothing left of me - a withered weed, swept clean from the path.
12 Yet you, God, are sovereign still, always and ever sovereign. 13 You'll get up from your throne and help Zion - it's time for compassionate help. 14 Oh, how your servants love this city's rubble and weep with compassion over its dust! 15 The godless nations will sit up and take notice - see your glory, worship your name - 16 When God rebuilds Zion, when he shows up in all his glory, 17 When he attends to the prayer of the wretched. He won't dismiss their prayer. 18 Write this down for the next generation so people not yet born will praise God: 19 "God looked out from his high holy place; from heaven he surveyed the earth. 20 He listened to the groans of the doomed, he opened the doors of their death cells." 21 Write it so the story can be told in Zion, so God's praise will be sung in Jerusalem's streets 22 And wherever people gather together along with their rulers to worship him.
23 God sovereignly brought me to my knees, he cut me down in my prime. 24 "Oh, don't," I prayed, "please don't let me die. You have more years than you know what to do with! 25 You laid earth's foundations a long time ago, and handcrafted the very heavens; 26 You'll still be around when they're long gone, threadbare and discarded like an old suit of clothes. You'll throw them away like a worn-out coat, 27 but year after year you're as good as new. 28 Your servants' children will have a good place to live and their children will be at home with you."
Praise for the LORD's Benefits
103 1 O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I'll bless his holy name! 2 O my soul, bless God, don't forget a single blessing! 3 He forgives your sins - every one. He heals your diseases - every one. 4 He redeems you from hell - saves your life! He crowns you with love and mercy - a paradise crown. 5 He wraps you in goodness - beauty eternal. He renews your youth - you're always young in his presence.
6 God makes everything come out right; he puts victims back on their feet. 7 He showed Moses how he went about his work, opened up his plans to all Israel. 8 God is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, he's rich in love. 9 He doesn't endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever. 10 He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. 11 As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is his love to those who fear him. 12 And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins. 13 As parents feel for their children, God feels for those who fear him. 14 He knows us inside and out, keeps in mind that we're made of mud. 15 Men and women don't live very long; like wildflowers they spring up and blossom, 16 But a storm snuffs them out just as quickly, leaving nothing to show they were here. 17 God's love, though, is ever and always, eternally present to all who fear him, Making everything right for them and their children 18 as they follow his Covenant ways and remember to do whatever he said.
19 God has set his throne in heaven; he rules over us all. He's the King! 20 So bless God, you angels, ready and able to fly at his bidding, quick to hear and do what he says. 21 Bless God, all you armies of angels, alert to respond to whatever he wills. 22 Bless God, all creatures, wherever you are - everything and everyone made by God. And you, O my soul, bless God!
The LORD's Care for His Creation
104 1 O my soul, bless God! God, my God, how great you are! beautifully, gloriously robed, 2 Dressed up in sunshine, and all heaven stretched out for your tent. 3 You built your palace on the ocean deeps, made a chariot out of clouds and took off on wind-wings. 4 You commandeered winds as messengers, appointed fire and flame as ambassadors. 5 You set earth on a firm foundation so that nothing can shake it, ever. 6 You blanketed earth with ocean, covered the mountains with deep waters; 7 Then you roared and the water ran away - your thunder crash put it to flight. 8 Mountains pushed up, valleys spread out in the places you assigned them. 9 You set boundaries between earth and sea; never again will earth be flooded.
10 You started the springs and rivers, sent them flowing among the hills. 11 All the wild animals now drink their fill, wild donkeys quench their thirst. 12 Along the riverbanks the birds build nests, ravens make their voices heard. 13 You water the mountains from your heavenly cisterns; earth is supplied with plenty of water. 14 You make grass grow for the livestock, hay for the animals that plow the ground. Oh yes, God brings grain from the land, 15 wine to make people happy, Their faces glowing with health, a people well-fed and hearty. 16 God's trees are well-watered - the Lebanon cedars he planted. 17 Birds build their nests in those trees; look - the stork at home in the treetop. 18 Mountain goats climb about the cliffs; badgers burrow among the rocks.
19 The moon keeps track of the seasons, the sun is in charge of each day. 20 When it's dark and night takes over, all the forest creatures come out. 21 The young lions roar for their prey, clamoring to God for their supper. 22 When the sun comes up, they vanish, lazily stretched out in their dens. 23 Meanwhile, men and women go out to work, busy at their jobs until evening. 24 What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations. 25 Oh, look - the deep, wide sea, brimming with fish past counting, sardines and sharks and salmon. 26 Ships plow those waters, and Leviathan, your pet dragon, romps in them. 27 All the creatures look expectantly to you to give them their meals on time. 28 You come, and they gather around; you open your hand and they eat from it. 29 If you turned your back, they'd die in a minute - Take back your Spirit and they die, revert to original mud; 30 Send out your Spirit and they spring to life - the whole countryside in bloom and blossom.
31 The glory of God - let it last forever! Let God enjoy his creation! 32 He takes one look at earth and triggers an earthquake, points a finger at the mountains, and volcanoes erupt. 33 Oh, let me sing to God all my life long, sing hymns to my God as long as I live! 34 Oh, let my song please him; I'm so pleased to be singing to God. 35 But clear the ground of sinners - no more godless men and women! O my soul, bless God!