Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and his anointed, saying,
‘Let us burst their bonds asunder, and cast their cords from us.’
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord has them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying,
‘I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.’
I will tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to me, ‘You are my son; today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron,
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear, with trembling kiss his feet,
or he will be angry, and you will perish in the way;
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Happy are all who take refuge in him.
O Lord, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me; many are saying to me,
‘There is no help for you in God.’
But you, O Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, and the one who lifts up my head.
I cry aloud to the Loed, and he answers me from his holy hill.
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, for the Lord sustains me.
I am not afraid of tens of thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.
Rise up, O Lord!
Deliver me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked.
Deliverance belongs to the Lord; may your blessing be on your people!
‘Do not human beings have a hard service on earth,
and are not their days like the days of a labourer?
Like a slave who longs for the shadow,
and like labourers who look for their wages,
so I am allotted months of emptiness,
and nights of misery are apportioned to me.
When I lie down I say, “When shall I rise?”
But the night is long, and I am full of tossing until dawn.
My flesh is clothed with worms and dirt;
my skin hardens, then breaks out again.
My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and come to their end without hope.
‘Remember that my life is a breath; my eye will never again see good.
The eye that beholds me will see me no more;
As the cloud fades and vanishes, so those who go down to Sheol do not come up;
they return no more to their houses, nor do their places know them any more.
‘Therefore I will not restrain my mouth;
I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
Am I the Sea, or the Dragon, that you set a guard over me?
When I say, “My bed will comfort me, my couch will ease my complaint”,
then you scare me with dreams and terrify me with visions,
so that I would choose strangling and death rather than this body.
I loathe my life; I would not live for ever.
Let me alone, for my days are a breath.
What are human beings, that you make so much of them,
that you set your mind on them,
visit them every morning, test them every moment?
Will you not look away from me for a while,
let me alone until I swallow my spittle?
If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of humanity?
Why have you made me your target?
Why have I become a burden to you?
Why do you not pardon my transgression and take away my iniquity?
For now I shall lie in the earth; you will seek me, but I shall not be.’
What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh?
For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.’
Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due. But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness.
So also David speaks of the blessedness of those to whom God reckons righteousness irrespective of works:
‘Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the one against whom the Lord will not reckon sin.’
Is this blessedness, then, pronounced only on the circumcised, or also on the uncircumcised?
We say, ‘Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.’
How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.
He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the ancestor of all who believe without being circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them, and likewise the ancestor of the circumcised who are not only circumcised but who also follow the example of the faith that our ancestor Abraham had before he was circumcised.
Almighty and everlasting God,
you have given us your servants grace,
by the confession of a true faith,
to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity
and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the Unity:
keep us steadfast in this faith,
that we may evermore be defended from all adversities;
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.