Psalm 36-39 New Revised Standard Version

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The Steadfast Love of God

36 1  Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in their hearts; there is no fear of God before their eyes. 2  For they flatter themselves in their own eyes that their iniquity cannot be found out and hated. 3  The words of their mouths are mischief and deceit; they have ceased to act wisely and do good. 4  They plot mischief while on their beds; they are set on a way that is not good; they do not reject evil.

5  Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. 6  Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O Lord. 7  How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings. 8  They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. 9  For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. 10  O continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your salvation to the upright of heart! 11  Do not let the foot of the arrogant tread on me, or the hand of the wicked drive me away. 12  There the evildoers lie prostrate; they are thrust down, unable to rise.

The Insecurity of the Wicked

37 1  Do not fret because of the wicked; do not be envious of wrongdoers, 2  for they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb. 3  Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. 4  Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. 6  He will make your vindication shine like the light, and the justice of your cause like the noonday.

7  Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way, over those who carry out evil devices. 8  Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath. Do not fret-it leads only to evil. 9  For the wicked shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. 10  Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look diligently for their place, they will not be there. 11  But the meek shall inherit the land, and delight themselves in abundant prosperity. 12  The wicked plot against the righteous, and gnash their teeth at them; 13  but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that their day is coming. 14  The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to kill those who walk uprightly; 15  their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. 16  Better is a little that the righteous person has than the abundance of many wicked. 17  For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. 18  The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will abide forever; 19  they are not put to shame in evil times, in the days of famine they have abundance. 20  But the wicked perish, and the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish-like smoke they vanish away.

21  The wicked borrow, and do not pay back, but the righteous are generous and keep giving; 22  for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off. 23  Our steps are made firm by the Lord, when he delights in our way; 24  though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong, for the Lord holds us by the hand. 25  I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. 26  They are ever giving liberally and lending, and their children become a blessing. 27  Depart from evil, and do good; so you shall abide forever. 28  For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his faithful ones. The righteous shall be kept safe forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off. 29  The righteous shall inherit the land, and live in it forever. 30  The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak justice. 31  The law of their God is in their hearts; their steps do not slip. 32  The wicked watch for the righteous, and seek to kill them. 33  The Lord will not abandon them to their power, or let them be condemned when they are brought to trial.

34  Wait for the Lord, and keep to his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on the destruction of the wicked. 35  I have seen the wicked oppressing, and towering like a cedar of Lebanon. 36  Again I passed by, and they were no more; though I sought them, they could not be found. 37  Mark the blameless, and behold the upright, for there is posterity for the peaceable. 38  But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the posterity of the wicked shall be cut off. 39  The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their refuge in the time of trouble. 40  The Lord helps them and rescues them; he rescues them from the wicked, and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

The Prayer of a Suffering Penitent

38 1  O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger, or discipline me in your wrath. 2  For your arrows have sunk into me, and your hand has come down on me. 3  There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. 4  For my iniquities have gone over my head; they weigh like a burden too heavy for me. 5  My wounds grow foul and fester because of my foolishness; 6  I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all day long I go around mourning. 7  For my loins are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh. 8  I am utterly spent and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart. 9  O Lord, all my longing is known to you; my sighing is not hidden from you. 10  My heart throbs, my strength fails me; as for the light of my eyes-it also has gone from me. 11  My friends and companions stand aloof from my affliction, and my neighbors stand far off.

12  Those who seek my life lay their snares; those who seek to hurt me speak of ruin, and meditate treachery all day long. 13  But I am like the deaf, I do not hear; like the mute, who cannot speak. 14  Truly, I am like one who does not hear, and in whose mouth is no retort. 15  But it is for you, O Lord, that I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer. 16  For I pray, "Only do not let them rejoice over me, those who boast against me when my foot slips." 17  For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever with me. 18  I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin. 19  Those who are my foes without cause are mighty, and many are those who hate me wrongfully. 20  Those who render me evil for good are my adversaries because I follow after good. 21  Do not forsake me, O Lord; O my God, do not be far from me; 22  make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation.

Hope in the LORD

39 1  I said, "I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue; I will keep a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence." 2  I was silent and still; I held my peace to no avail; my distress grew worse, 3  my heart became hot within me. While I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: 4  "Lord, let me know my end, and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. 5  You have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight. Surely everyone stands as a mere breath. Selah 6  Surely everyone goes about like a shadow. Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; they heap up, and do not know who will gather.

7  "And now, O Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you. 8  Deliver me from all my transgressions. Do not make me the scorn of the fool. 9  I am silent; I do not open my mouth, for it is you who have done it. 10  Remove your stroke from me; I am worn down by the blows of your hand. 11  "You chastise mortals in punishment for sin, consuming like a moth what is dear to them; surely everyone is a mere breath. Selah 12  "Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; do not hold your peace at my tears. For I am your passing guest, an alien, like all my forebears. 13  Turn your gaze away from me, that I may smile again, before I depart and am no more."

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