Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to another. Before the mountains were brought forth, or the earth and the world were formed, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. You turn us back to dust and say: ‘Turn back, O children of earth.’ For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday, which passes like a watch in the night. You sweep them away like a dream; they fade away suddenly like the grass. In the morning it is green and flourishes; in the evening it is dried up and withered.
For we consume away in your displeasure; we are afraid at your wrathful indignation. You have set our misdeeds before you and our secret sins in the light of your countenance. When you are angry, all our days are gone; our years come to an end like a sigh. The days of our life are three score years and ten, or if our strength endures, even four score; yet the sum of them is but labour and sorrow, for they soon pass away and we are gone.
Who regards the power of your wrath and your indignation like those who fear you?
So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
Turn again, O Lord; how long will you delay?
Have compassion on your servants. Satisfy us with your loving-kindness in the morning; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Give us gladness for the days you have afflicted us, and for the years in which we have seen adversity. Show your servants your works, and let your glory be over their children.
May the gracious favour of the Lord our God be upon us; prosper our handiwork; O prosper the work of our hands.
It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to your name, O Most High; To tell of your love early in the morning and of your faithfulness in the night-time, Upon the ten-stringed instrument, upon the harp, and to the melody of the lyre. For you, Lord, have made me glad by your acts, and I sing aloud at the works of your hands.
O Lord, how glorious are your works!
Your thoughts are very deep. The senseless do not know, nor do fools understand, That though the wicked sprout like grass and all the workers of iniquity flourish, It is only to be destroyed for ever; but you, O Lord, shall be exalted for evermore. For lo, your enemies, O Lord, lo, your enemies shall perish, and all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered. But my horn you have exalted like the horns of wild oxen; I am anointed with fresh oil.
My eyes will look down on my foes; my ears shall hear the ruin of the evildoers who rise up against me.
The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, and shall spread abroad like a cedar of Lebanon. Such as are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be vigorous and in full leaf; That they may show that the Lord is true; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
2 Chronicles 20.1-23
After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, ‘A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; already they are at Hazazon-tamar’ (that is, En-gedi). Jehoshaphat was afraid; he set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the towns of Judah they came to seek the Lord.
Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and said, ‘O Lord, God of our ancestors, are you not God in heaven? Do you not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? In your hand are power and might, so that no one is able to withstand you. Did you not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it for ever to the descendants of your friend Abraham? They have lived in it, and in it have built you a sanctuary for your name, saying, “If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgement, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house, and before you, for your name is in this house, and cry to you in our distress, and you will hear and save.” See now, the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy— they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession that you have given us to inherit. O our God, will you not execute judgement upon them? For we are powerless against this great multitude that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.’
Meanwhile all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. Then the spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the middle of the assembly. He said, ‘Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you: “Do not fear or be dismayed at this great multitude; for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them; they will come up by the ascent of Ziz; you will find them at the end of the valley, before the wilderness of Jeruel. This battle is not for you to fight; take your position, stand still, and see the victory of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.” Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.’
Then Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshipping the Lord. And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.
They rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God and you will be established; believe his prophets.’ When he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy splendour, as they went before the army, saying,
‘Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures for ever.’
As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the Ammonites, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. For the Ammonites and Moab attacked the inhabitants of Mount Seir, destroying them utterly; and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.
When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid.
Almighty God, who by your Holy Spirit gave Henry Martyn a longing to tell the good news of Christ and skill to translate the Scriptures: by the same Spirit give us grace to offer you our gifts, wherever you may lead, at whatever the cost; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.