Praise for Deliverance
40 1 I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally he listened. 2 He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud. He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn't slip. 3 He taught me how to sing the latest God-song, a praise-song to our God. More and more people are seeing this: they enter the mystery, abandoning themselves to God. 4 Blessed are you who give yourselves over to God, turn your backs on the world's "sure thing," ignore what the world worships; 5 The world's a huge stockpile of God-wonders and God-thoughts. Nothing and no one comes close to you! I start talking about you, telling what I know, and quickly run out of words. Neither numbers nor words account for you.
6 Doing something for you, bringing something to you - that's not what you're after. Being religious, acting pious - that's not what you're asking for. You've opened my ears so I can listen. 7 So I answered, "I'm coming. I read in your letter what you wrote about me, 8 And I'm coming to the party you're throwing for me." That's when God's Word entered my life, became part of my very being. 9 I've preached you to the whole congregation, I've kept back nothing, God - you know that. 10 I didn't keep the news of your ways a secret, didn't keep it to myself. I told it all, how dependable you are, how thorough. I didn't hold back pieces of love and truth For myself alone. I told it all, let the congregation know the whole story.
11 Now God, don't hold out on me, don't hold back your passion. Your love and truth are all that keeps me together. 12 When troubles ganged up on me, a mob of sins past counting, I was so swamped by guilt I couldn't see my way clear. More guilt in my heart than hair on my head, so heavy the guilt that my heart gave out. 13 Soften up, God, and intervene; hurry and get me some help, 14 So those who are trying to kidnap my soul will be embarrassed and lose face, So anyone who gets a kick out of making me miserable will be heckled and disgraced, 15 So those who pray for my ruin will be booed and jeered without mercy. 16 But all who are hunting for you - oh, let them sing and be happy. Let those who know what you're all about tell the world you're great and not quitting. 17 And me? I'm a mess. I'm nothing and have nothing: make something of me. You can do it; you've got what it takes - but God, don't put it off.
A Prayer for Healing
41 1 Dignify those who are down on their luck; you'll feel good - that's what God does. 2 God looks after us all, makes us robust with life - Lucky to be in the land, we're free from enemy worries. 3 Whenever we're sick and in bed, God becomes our nurse, nurses us back to health. 4 I said, "God, be gracious! Put me together again - my sins have torn me to pieces."
5 My enemies are wishing the worst for me; they make bets on what day I will die. 6 If someone comes to see me, he mouths empty platitudes, All the while gathering gossip about me to entertain the street-corner crowd. 7 These "friends" who hate me whisper slanders all over town. They form committees to plan misery for me. 8 The rumor goes out, "He's got some dirty, deadly disease. The doctors have given up on him." 9 Even my best friend, the one I always told everything - he ate meals at my house all the time! - has bitten my hand. 10 God, give grace, get me up on my feet. I'll show them a thing or two. 11 Meanwhile, I'm sure you're on my side - no victory shouts yet from the enemy camp! 12 You know me inside and out, you hold me together, you never fail to stand me tall in your presence so I can look you in the eye. 13 Blessed is God, Israel's God, always, always, always. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Thirsting for God
42 1 A white-tailed deer drinks from the creek; I want to drink God, deep draughts of God. 2 I'm thirsty for God-alive. I wonder, "Will I ever make it - arrive and drink in God's presence?" 3 I'm on a diet of tears - tears for breakfast, tears for supper. All day long people knock at my door, Pestering, "Where is this God of yours?" 4 These are the things I go over and over, emptying out the pockets of my life. I was always at the head of the worshiping crowd, right out in front, Leading them all, eager to arrive and worship, Shouting praises, singing thanksgiving - celebrating, all of us, God's feast! 5 Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God - soon I'll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He's my God.
6 When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you, From Jordan depths to Hermon heights, including Mount Mizar. 7 Chaos calls to chaos, to the tune of whitewater rapids. Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers crash and crush me. 8 Then God promises to love me all day, sing songs all through the night! My life is God's prayer. 9 Sometimes I ask God, my rock-solid God, "Why did you let me down? Why am I walking around in tears, harassed by enemies?" 10 They're out for the kill, these tormentors with their obscenities, Taunting day after day, "Where is this God of yours?" 11 Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God - soon I'll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He's my God.
A Prayer for Vindication and Deliverance
43 1 Clear my name, God; stick up for me against these loveless, immoral people. Get me out of here, away from these lying degenerates. 2 I counted on you, God. Why did you walk out on me? Why am I pacing the floor, wringing my hands over these outrageous people? 3 Give me your lantern and compass, give me a map, So I can find my way to the sacred mountain, to the place of your presence, 4 To enter the place of worship, meet my exuberant God, Sing my thanks with a harp, magnificent God, my God. 5 Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God - soon I'll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He's my God.
Former Deliverances and Present Troubles
44 1 We've been hearing about this, God, all our lives. Our fathers told us the stories their fathers told them, 2 How single-handedly you weeded out the godless from the fields and planted us, How you sent those people packing but gave us a fresh start. 3 We didn't fight for this land; we didn't work for it - it was a gift! You gave it, smiling as you gave it, delighting as you gave it. 4 You're my King, O God - command victories for Jacob! 5 With your help we'll wipe out our enemies, in your name we'll stomp them to dust. 6 I don't trust in weapons; my sword won't save me - 7 But it's you, you who saved us from the enemy; you made those who hate us lose face. 8 All day we parade God's praise - we thank you by name over and over.
9 But now you've walked off and left us, you've disgraced us and won't fight for us. 10 You made us turn tail and run; those who hate us have cleaned us out. 11 You delivered us as sheep to the butcher, you scattered us to the four winds. 12 You sold your people at a discount - you made nothing on the sale. 13 You made people on the street, urchins, poke fun and call us names. 14 You made us a joke among the godless, a cheap joke among the rabble. 15 Every day I'm up against it, my nose rubbed in my shame - 16 Gossip and ridicule fill the air, people out to get me crowd the street.
17 All this came down on us, and we've done nothing to deserve it. 18 our hearts were never false, our feet never left your path. 19 Do we deserve torture in a den of jackals? or lockup in a black hole? 20 If we had forgotten to pray to our God or made fools of ourselves with store-bought gods, 21 Wouldn't God have figured this out? We can't hide things from him. 22 No, you decided to make us martyrs, lambs assigned for sacrifice each day. 23 Get up, God! Are you going to sleep all day? Wake up! Don't you care what happens to us? 24 Why do you bury your face in the pillow? Why pretend things are just fine with us? 25 And here we are - flat on our faces in the dirt, held down with a boot on our necks. 26 Get up and come to our rescue. If you love us so much, Help us!
A Song for the King's Marriage
45 1 My heart bursts its banks, spilling beauty and goodness. I pour it out in a poem to the king, shaping the river into words: 2 "You're the handsomest of men; every word from your lips is sheer grace, and God has blessed you, blessed you so much. 3 Strap your sword to your side, warrior! Accept praise! Accept due honor! Ride majestically! Ride triumphantly! 4 Ride on the side of truth! Ride for the righteous meek! "Your instructions are glow-in-the-dark; 5 you shoot sharp arrows Into enemy hearts; the king's foes lie down in the dust, beaten.
6 "Your throne is God's throne, ever and always; The scepter of your royal rule measures right living. 7 You love the right and hate the wrong. And that is why God, your very own God, poured fragrant oil on your head, Marking you out as king from among your dear companions. 8 "Your ozone-drenched garments are fragrant with mountain breeze. Chamber music - from the throne room - makes you want to dance. 9 Kings' daughters are maids in your court, the Bride glittering with golden jewelry.
10 "Now listen, daughter, don't miss a word: forget your country, put your home behind you. 11 Be here - the king is wild for you. Since he's your lord, adore him. 12 Wedding gifts pour in from Tyre; rich guests shower you with presents." 13 (Her wedding dress is dazzling, lined with gold by the weavers; 14 All her dresses and robes are woven with gold. She is led to the king, followed by her virgin companions. 15 A procession of joy and laughter! a grand entrance to the king's palace!) 16 "Set your mind now on sons - don't dote on father and grandfather. You'll set your sons up as princes all over the earth. 17 I'll make you famous for generations; you'll be the talk of the town for a long, long time."