The Blessedness of Forgiveness
32 1 Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be - you get a fresh start, your slate's wiped clean. 2 Count yourself lucky - God holds nothing against you and you're holding nothing back from him. 3 When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder, my words became daylong groans. 4 The pressure never let up; all the juices of my life dried up. 5 Then I let it all out; I said, "I'll make a clean breast of my failures to God." Suddenly the pressure was gone - my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared. 6 These things add up. Every one of us needs to pray; when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts we'll be on high ground, untouched.
7 God's my island hideaway, keeps danger far from the shore, throws garlands of hosannas around my neck. 8 Let me give you some good advice; I'm looking you in the eye and giving it to you straight: 9 "Don't be ornery like a horse or mule that needs bit and bridle to stay on track." 10 God-defiers are always in trouble; God-affirmers find themselves loved every time they turn around. 11 Celebrate God. Sing together - everyone! All you honest hearts, raise the roof!
Praise to the Creator and Preserver
33 1 Good people, cheer God! Right-living people sound best when praising. 2 Use guitars to reinforce your Hallelujahs! Play his praise on a grand piano! 3 Invent your own new song to him; give him a trumpet fanfare. 4 For God's Word is solid to the core; everything he makes is sound inside and out. 5 He loves it when everything fits, when his world is in plumb-line true. Earth is drenched in God's affectionate satisfaction. 6 The skies were made by God's command; he breathed the word and the stars popped out. 7 He scooped Sea into his jug, put Ocean in his keg. 8 Earth-creatures, bow before God; world-dwellers - down on your knees! 9 Here's why: he spoke and there it was, in place the moment he said so. 10 God takes the wind out of Babel pretense, he shoots down the world's power-schemes. 11 God's plan for the world stands up, all his designs are made to last.
12 Blessed is the country with God for God; blessed are the people he's put in his will. 13 From high in the skies God looks around, he sees all Adam's brood. 14 From where he sits he overlooks all us earth-dwellers. 15 He has shaped each person in turn; now he watches everything we do. 16 No king succeeds with a big army alone, no warrior wins by brute strength. 17 Horsepower is not the answer; no one gets by on muscle alone. 18 Watch this: God's eye is on those who respect him, the ones who are looking for his love. 19 He's ready to come to their rescue in bad times; in lean times he keeps body and soul together. 20 We're depending on God; he's everything we need. 21 What's more, our hearts brim with joy since we've taken for our own his holy name. 22 Love us, God, with all you've got - that's what we're depending on.
Praise for Deliverance from Troubles
34 1 I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise. 2 I live and breathe God; if things aren't going well, hear this and be happy: 3 Join me in spreading the news; together let's get the word out. 4 God met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears. 5 Look at him; give him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from him. 6 When I was desperate, I called out, and God got me out of a tight spot. 7 God's angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray. 8 Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see - how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him. 9 Worship God if you want the best; worship opens doors to all his goodness. 10 Young lions on the prowl get hungry, but God-seekers are full of God.
11 Come, children, listen closely; I'll give you a lesson in God worship. 12 Who out there has a lust for life? Can't wait each day to come upon beauty? 13 Guard your tongue from profanity, and no more lying through your teeth. 14 Turn your back on sin; do something good. Embrace peace - don't let it get away! 15 God keeps an eye on his friends, his ears pick up every moan and groan. 16 God won't put up with rebels; he'll cull them from the pack. 17 Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you. 18 If your heart is broken, you'll find God right there; if you're kicked in the gut, he'll help you catch your breath. 19 Disciples so often get into trouble; still, God is there every time. 20 He's your bodyguard, shielding every bone; not even a finger gets broken. 21 The wicked commit slow suicide; they waste their lives hating the good. 22 God pays for each slave's freedom; no one who runs to him loses out.
A Prayer for Rescue from Enemies
35 1 Harass these hecklers, God, punch these bullies in the nose. 2 Grab a weapon, anything at hand; stand up for me! 3 Get ready to throw the spear, aim the javelin, at the people who are out to get me. Reassure me; let me hear you say, "I'll save you." 4 When those thugs try to knife me in the back, make them look foolish. Frustrate all those who are plotting my downfall. 5 Make them like cinders in a high wind, with God's angel working the bellows. 6 Make their road lightless and mud-slick, with God's angel on their tails. 7 Out of sheer cussedness they set a trap to catch me; for no good reason they dug a ditch to stop me. 8 Surprise them with your ambush - catch them in the very trap they set, the disaster they planned for me. 9 But let me run loose and free, celebrating God's great work, 10 Every bone in my body laughing, singing, "God, there's no one like you. You put the down-and-out on their feet and protect the unprotected from bullies!"
11 Hostile accusers appear out of nowhere, they stand up and badger me. 12 They pay me back misery for mercy, leaving my soul empty. 13 When they were sick, I dressed in black; instead of eating, I prayed. 14 My prayers were like lead in my gut, like I'd lost my best friend, my brother. I paced, distraught as a motherless child, hunched and heavyhearted. 15 But when I was down they threw a party! All the nameless riffraff of the town came chanting insults about me. 16 Like barbarians desecrating a shrine, they destroyed my reputation.
17 God, how long are you going to stand there doing nothing? Save me from their brutalities; everything I've got is being thrown to the lions. 18 I will give you full credit when everyone gathers for worship; When the people turn out in force I will say my Hallelujahs. 19 Don't let these liars, my enemies, have a party at my expense, Those who hate me for no reason, winking and rolling their eyes. 20 No good is going to come from that crowd; They spend all their time cooking up gossip against those who mind their own business. 21 They open their mouths in ugly grins, Mocking, "Ha-ha, ha-ha, thought you'd get away with it? We've caught you hands down!" 22 Don't you see what they're doing, God? You're not going to let them Get by with it, are you? Not going to walk off without doing something, are you? 23 Please get up - wake up! Tend to my case. My God, my Lord - my life is on the line. 24 Do what you think is right, God, my God, but don't make me pay for their good time. 25 Don't let them say to themselves, "Ha-ha, we got what we wanted." Don't let them say, "We've chewed him up and spit him out." 26 Let those who are being hilarious at my expense Be made to look ridiculous. Make them wear donkey's ears; Pin them with the donkey's tail, who made themselves so high and mighty! 27 But those who want the best for me, Let them have the last word - a glad shout! - and say, over and over and over, "God is great - everything works together for good for his servant." 28 I'll tell the world how great and good you are, I'll shout Hallelujah all day, every day.