Thanksgiving for God's Justice
9 1 I'm thanking you, God, from a full heart, I'm writing the book on your wonders. 2 I'm whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy; I'm singing your song, High God. 3 The day my enemies turned tail and ran, they stumbled on you and fell on their faces. 4 You took over and set everything right; when I needed you, you were there, taking charge. 5 You blow the whistle on godless nations; you throw dirty players out of the game, wipe their names right off the roster. 6 Enemies disappear from the sidelines, their reputation trashed, their names erased from the halls of fame. 7 God holds the high center, he sees and sets the world's mess right. 8 He decides what is right for us earthlings, gives people their just deserts. 9 God's a safe-house for the battered, a sanctuary during bad times. 10 The moment you arrive, you relax; you're never sorry you knocked.
11 Sing your songs to Zion-dwelling God, tell his stories to everyone you meet: 12 How he tracks down killers yet keeps his eye on us, registers every whimper and moan. 13 Be kind to me, God; I've been kicked around long enough. Once you've pulled me back from the gates of death, 14 I'll write the book on Hallelujahs; on the corner of Main and First I'll hold a street meeting; I'll be the song leader; we'll fill the air with salvation songs. 15 They're trapped, those godless countries, in the very snares they set, Their feet all tangled in the net they spread. 16 They have no excuse; the way God works is well-known. The cunning machinery made by the wicked has maimed their own hands. 17 The wicked bought a one-way ticket to hell. 18 No longer will the poor be nameless - no more humiliation for the humble. 19 Up, God! Aren't you fed up with their empty strutting? Expose these grand pretensions! 20 Shake them up, God! Show them how silly they look.
A Prayer for the Overthrow of the Wicked
10 1 God, are you avoiding me? Where are you when I need you? 2 Full of hot air, the wicked are hot on the trail of the poor. Trip them up, tangle them up in their fine-tuned plots. 3 The wicked are windbags, the swindlers have foul breath. 4 The wicked snub God, their noses stuck high in the air. Their graffiti are scrawled on the walls: "Catch us if you can!" "God is dead." 5 They care nothing for what you think; if you get in their way, they blow you off. 6 They live (they think) a charmed life: "We can't go wrong. This is our lucky year!" 7 They carry a mouthful of hexes, their tongues spit venom like adders. 8 They hide behind ordinary people, then pounce on their victims. 9 They mark the luckless, then wait like a hunter in a blind; When the poor wretch wanders too close, they stab him in the back. 10 The hapless fool is kicked to the ground, the unlucky victim is brutally axed. 11 He thinks God has dumped him, he's sure that God is indifferent to his plight.
12 Time to get up, God - get moving. The luckless think they're Godforsaken. 13 They wonder why the wicked scorn God and get away with it, Why the wicked are so cocksure they'll never come up for audit. 14 But you know all about it - the contempt, the abuse. I dare to believe that the luckless will get lucky someday in you. You won't let them down: orphans won't be orphans forever. 15 Break the wicked right arms, break all the evil left arms. Search and destroy every sign of crime. 16 God's grace and order wins; godlessness loses. 17 The victim's faint pulse picks up; the hearts of the hopeless pump red blood as you put your ear to their lips. 18 Orphans get parents, the homeless get homes. The reign of terror is over, the rule of the gang lords is ended.
The Refuge of the Upright
11 1 I've already run for dear life straight to the arms of God. So why would I run away now when you say, 2 the evil bows are bent, the wicked arrows Aimed to shoot under cover of darkness at every heart open to God. 3 The bottom's dropped out of the country; good people don't have a chance"?
4 But God hasn't moved to the mountains; his holy address hasn't changed. He's in charge, as always, his eyes taking everything in, his eyelids Unblinking, examining Adam's unruly brood inside and out, not missing a thing. 5 He tests the good and the bad alike; if anyone cheats, God's outraged. 6 Fail the test and you're out, out in a hail of firestones, Drinking from a canteen filled with hot desert wind. 7 God's business is putting things right; he loves getting the lines straight, Setting us straight. Once we're standing tall, we can look him straight in the eye.
A Prayer for Help against the Wicked
12 1 Quick, God, I need your helping hand! The last decent person just went down, All the friends I depended on gone. 2 Everyone talks in lie language; Lies slide off their oily lips. They doubletalk with forked tongues. 3 Slice their lips off their faces! Pull The braggart tongues from their mouths! 4 I'm tired of hearing, "We can talk anyone into anything! Our lips manage the world." 5 Into the hovels of the poor, Into the dark streets where the homeless groan, God speaks: "I've had enough; I'm on my way To heal the ache in the heart of the wretched." 6 God's words are pure words, Pure silver words refined seven times In the fires of his word-kiln, Pure on earth as well as in heaven. 7 God, keep us safe from their lies, From the wicked who stalk us with lies, 8 From the wicked who collect honors For their wonderful lies.
A Prayer for Help in Trouble
13 1 Long enough, God - you've ignored me long enough. I've looked at the back of your head 2 Long enough I've carried this ton of trouble, lived with a stomach full of pain. Long enough my arrogant enemies have looked down their noses at me. 3 Take a good look at me, God, my God; I want to look life in the eye, 4 So no enemy can get the best of me or laugh when I fall on my face. 5 I've thrown myself headlong into your arms - I'm celebrating your rescue. 6 I'm singing at the top of my lungs, I'm so full of answered prayers.
The Folly and Wickedness of Men
14 1 Bilious and bloated, they gas, "God is gone." Their words are poison gas, fouling the air; they poison Rivers and skies; thistles are their cash crop. 2 God sticks his head out of heaven. He looks around. He's looking for someone not stupid - one man, even, God-expectant, just one God-ready woman. 3 He comes up empty. A string of zeros. Useless, unshepherded Sheep, taking turns pretending to be Shepherd. The ninety and nine follow their fellow.
4 Don't they know anything, all these impostors? Don't they know they can't get away with this - Treating people like a fast-food meal over which they're too busy to pray? 5 Night is coming for them, and nightmares, for God takes the side of victims. 6 Do you think you can mess with the dreams of the poor? You can't, for God makes their dreams come true. 7 Is there anyone around to save Israel? Yes. God is around; God turns life around. Turned-around Jacob skips rope, turned-around Israel sings laughter.
The Inhabitants of God's Holy Hill
15 1 God, who gets invited to dinner at your place? How do we get on your guest list? 2 "Walk straight, act right, tell the truth. 3 "Don't hurt your friend, don't blame your neighbor; 4 despise the despicable. "Keep your word even when it costs you, 5 make an honest living, never take a bribe. "You'll never get blacklisted if you live like this."
A Goodly Heritage
16 1 Keep me safe, O God, I've run for dear life to you. 2 I say to God, "Be my Lord!" Without you, nothing makes sense. 3 And these God-chosen lives all around - what splendid friends they make! 4 Don't just go shopping for a god. Gods are not for sale. I swear I'll never treat god-names like brand-names. 5 My choice is you, God, first and only. And now I find I'm your choice! 6 You set me up with a house and yard. And then you made me your heir! 7 The wise counsel God gives when I'm awake is confirmed by my sleeping heart.
8 Day and night I'll stick with God; I've got a good thing going and I'm not letting go. 9 I'm happy from the inside out, and from the outside in, I'm firmly formed. 10 You canceled my ticket to hell - that's not my destination! 11 Now you've got my feet on the life path, all radiant from the shining of your face. Ever since you took my hand, I'm on the right way.