Psalm 79: Help us

Psalm 79: Help us

O God, your country has been invaded by the ungodly,

They have defiled your holy places, ravaged your sanctuary.

Your followers have been cut down, their bones pecked clean by birds of the air

The flesh of your faithful servants taken by wild beasts.

Innocent blood has been spilt and runs like water in the streets

There is now no one left to even bury their bodies.

We are mocked by our neighbours at our weakness.

O God, will your anger with us last forever?

Could you not turn your wrath upon the godless nations rather than us?

On those that do not call upon your name, those that refuse to pray?

They are the destroyers of your people.

Do not hold us to account for the transgressions of our ancestors,

Show your compassion to us, show mercy in our time of extreme need.

Help us, O God of our salvation, remember your promises and save us.

The heathens dare to boast that we have no God to protect us,

Put right this slander and avenge the deaths of your faithful servants.

Hear the groans of your suffering people and strike vengeance on your enemies,

Then shall your people, the flock of your pasture, give thanks forever and ever

Your praises will be sung from generation to generation.

From ‘Resounding the Psalms’ by David Potter

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Psalm 78: Promises

Psalm 78: Promises

Listen to what I have to teach you, the story I have to tell,

The history of former generations, the lives of our ancestors.

When you have this knowledge you will be able to tell your children

About the glorious and mighty deeds of our God.

For He gave us His laws and commanded that they be taught to each new generation

And so his laws are passed down through the years.

In this way we have God’s word handed on to us,

Our inheritance is his love and mercy and the hope He has set before us,

Not like some of our ancestors who stubbornly rebelled against God.

Some people forgot all that God had done for them and refused to follow His ways.

God who divided the waters and led their forefathers to safety by day and by night,

He split the rocks in the wilderness to give them fresh water in a parched land.

Yet they kept up their rebellion, continuing to sin against God,

They were not content and wanted more in their greed.

God heard their grumbling and was angry and yet He still rained down manna.

He sent them the very bread of heaven for food,

Directed the winds and caused great numbers of birds to fall for them to eat.

He gave them all they wanted and the people ate their fill,

But the anger of the Lord then rose against them,

He sought His vengeance and brought death to the strongest of them.

Even this was not enough to bring the people back into obedience,

So He cut their lives short and gave them years of terror.

Then they spoke their repentance and flattered him,

They remembered that God was their rock and salvation,

But their hearts were not in their supplications,

They did not keep their promises.

Again and again He forgave them and showed his compassion.

He remembered they are only mortal, gone in a moment like a breath of wind.

But still their rebellion continued, bleak years that grieved God’s heart,

They turned away from God and denied His saving grace.

They forgot his power and all He had done to rescue them in the past.

The plagues and disasters He had meted on their enemies,

The pestilence and disease, the death and destruction sent on their people and lands.

He gave free course to His anger and did not spare the Egyptians.

Then God helped His people to escape and led them like a shepherd to the Promised Land

Through the wilderness, He kept them safe,

Held back the sea for them to pass,

Before it closed in upon their pursuers.

He kept his promises and brought them to his land of blessings,

He drove out those who occupied the land

And settled the tribes of Israel in their apportioned homes.

And still they rebelled, regardless of God’s graciousness to them,

They back from the Promised Land and turned away from God’s will.

It was then that God finally turned away from them

He surrendered his glory into the hands of the enemy.

He stood back whilst His people were attacked and murdered,

Young men burnt alive and young women killed,

The priests slaughtered and their widows dead before they could grieve.

Then the Lord awoke from His anger and drove back His enemies.

Then God made his decision about who should lead his people,

He chose the tribe of Judah and built His temple on Mount Zion.

God chose David to be the shepherd of His people

To guide them and tend for them with an upright heart.

From ‘Resounding the Psalms’ by David Potter

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Psalm 77: With outstretched arms

Psalm 77: With outstretched arms

I cry out to the Lord again and again,

I lift up my hands in my desperate pleading

There can be no relief for me until the Lord acts.

Through the dark, depressing night I pray to God,

My comfort is in thinking about the days of the past,

The many miracles and kindnesses he did for me,

With outstretched arms he welcomed me to his home.

I meditate and search my spirit for what has changed.

Has the Lord now rejected me? Have I lost his love?

Is the distance between us now so great that I am forgotten?

O God, your ways are holy and true, awesome in your power.

The Red Sea trembled at your approach,

The skies heaved with thunder and rain,

The lighting cracked and lit up the world,

The earth shook to its very core.

You have redeemed the sons of Jacob and of Joseph by your might,

You lead your people to safety, like a shepherd leads his flock.

From ‘Resounding the Psalms’ by David Potter

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Psalm 76: Greatness beyond our imagination

Psalm 76: Greatness beyond our imagination

God, you are known and respected by your people for what you have done,

Your greatness is beyond our imagination, more majestic than the mountains,

Awesome and mighty, you conquer our enemies with ease.

No one can stand before an angry God.

Your fearful justice makes the earth tremble.

You decide between good and evil

And vent your wrath on sinners.

People of God, make your peace with the Lord,

Worship at his feet and seek his forgiveness,

For his arm is mighty and his vengeance terrible.

From ‘Resounding the Psalms’ by David Potter

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Psalm 75: Warned

Psalm 75: Warned

We give thanks to you, O God,

Your mighty miracles show how much you care.

God says, the time will come when I will judge the earth,

I will punish the wicked.

The insolent and the arrogant have been warned,

For God will bring justice,

His judgement will be poured out over sinners

And every drop must be accepted,

The cup of righteousness shall be drained to the dregs.

I will sing praises to the God of our ancestors,

The strength of the wicked will be soaked away

But the strength of the righteous shall overflow.

From ‘Resounding the Psalms’ by David Potter

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Psalm 74: All nature obeys

Psalm 74: All nature obeys

O God, why have you forsaken us, why are you so angry with your flock?

Remember, you once lead us out of slavery and made us your people.

We return to a sanctuary that has been desecrated by our enemies,

Everything lies in ruins, everything we once held dear and venerated.

Their policy was to destroy and obliterate any trace of God and his people,

How long, O God, will you allow our enemies to dishonour your name.

An arrogant nation has blasphemed your name, why do you hold back?

God, you are my King and the leader of your people from ages past.

You divided the Red Sea by your strength to give them a path to freedom,

You wrestled with demons and evil spirits to bring peace to the wilderness,

You commanded springs of water to gush forth in the dry desert to slack their thirst.

The day and the night belong to you, the starlight and the sun,

All nature obeys your wishes, the summer and the winter as well.

O Lord, save me, protect the dove from the hawk, the weak from the wild beast.

Remember your promise to us; we need your light to shine in this dark land again,

Your down-trodden people have been insulted for long enough,

We need your urgent help to rebut the shame we suffer from these cursed enemies.

From ‘Resounding the Psalms’ by David Potter

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Psalm 73: Those who would lead me astray

Psalm 73: Those who would lead me astray

How good is God to the pure in heart, the upright and the faithful.

But as for me, I was almost lost, teetering on the edge of oblivion!

I envied the prosperity of those who would lead me astray,

Their smooth talk and easy boasting caught my attention.

Their self confidence and self regard shone out like a bright jewel.

With taunting and slanderous words against God and his works,

They lead their admirers on and parade their wickedness.

People are dazzled by their decadence and comfortable living.

This is what the wicked are like and they go on increasing their wealth.

Does this mean I have been wrong to keep to the straight way,

Wasted my time trying to stay pure and innocent?

I have been wracked by temptations whilst keeping to such a regime

But if I had uttered my distress I would have betrayed the trust of God.

I did not fully appreciate all this until I entered the house of the Lord.

There, in safety and serenity, I began to understand the fate of the wicked.

They are balancing on the edge of a precipice and God will cast them down to ruin,

Putting an end to all their pretence and the spectacle of their arrogance.

When I realised this, I saw clearly the folly of my former ways,

But despite my past, despite all my transgressions, God still loves me,

He guides me and supports me with his wisdom and good counsel

I may have times of doubt and weakness but God will be my strength and my redeemer,

It is wonderful to be close to God, he is my refuge,

I will not cease to tell of his marvellous deeds.

From ‘Resounding the Psalms’ by David Potter

Available from Amazon

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