Hear my prayer, O God; hide not yourself from my petition.
Give heed to me and answer me; I am restless in my complaining.
I am alarmed at the voice of the enemy and at the clamour of the wicked;
For they would bring down evil upon me and are set against me in fury.
My heart is disquieted within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and a horrible dread has overwhelmed me.
And I said:
‘O that I had wings like a dove, for then would I fly away and be at rest.
‘Then would I flee far away and make my lodging in the wilderness.
‘I would make haste to escape from the stormy wind and tempest.’
Confuse their tongues, O Lord, and divide them, for I have seen violence and strife in the city.
Day and night they go about on her walls; mischief and trouble are in her midst.
Wickedness walks in her streets; oppression and guile never leave her squares.
For it was not an open enemy that reviled me, for then I could have borne it;
Nor was it my adversary that puffed himself up against me, for then I would have hid myself from him.
But it was even you, one like myself, my companion and my own familiar friend.
We took sweet counsel together and walked with the multitude in the house of God.
Let death come suddenly upon them;
let them go down alive to the Pit;
for wickedness inhabits their dwellings, their very hearts.
As for me, I will call upon God and the Lord will deliver me.
In the evening and morning and at noonday I will pray and make my supplication,
and he shall hear my voice.
He shall redeem my soul in peace from the battle waged against me, •
for many have come upon me.
God, who is enthroned of old, will hear and bring them down;
they will not repent, for they have no fear of God.
My companion stretched out his hands against his friend and has broken his covenant;
His speech was softer than butter, though war was in his heart;
his words were smoother than oil, yet are they naked swords.
Cast your burden upon the Lord and he will sustain you,
and will not let the righteous fall for ever.
But those that are bloodthirsty and deceitful, O God,
you will bring down to the pit of destruction.
They shall not live out half their days, but my trust shall be in you, O Lord.
‘I have made a covenant with my eyes;
how then could I look upon a virgin?
What would be my portion from God above,
and my heritage from the Almighty on high?
Does not calamity befall the unrighteous,
and disaster the workers of iniquity?
Does he not see my ways,
and number all my steps?
‘If I have walked with falsehood, and my foot has hurried to deceit—
let me be weighed in a just balance, and let God know my integrity!—
if my step has turned aside from the way,
and my heart has followed my eyes,
and if any spot has clung to my hands;
then let me sow, and another eat;
and let what grows for me be rooted out.
‘If my heart has been enticed by a woman,
and I have lain in wait at my neighbour’s door;
then let my wife grind for another,
and let other men kneel over her.
For that would be a heinous crime;
that would be a criminal offence;
for that would be a fire consuming down to Abaddon,
and it would burn to the root all my harvest.
‘If I have rejected the cause of my male or female slaves,
when they brought a complaint against me;
what then shall I do when God rises up?
When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him?
Did not he who made me in the womb make them?
And did not one fashion us in the womb?
‘If I have withheld anything that the poor desired,
or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,
or have eaten my morsel alone,
and the orphan has not eaten from it—
for from my youth I reared the orphan like a father,
and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow—
if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing,
or a poor person without covering,
whose loins have not blessed me,
and who was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep;
if I have raised my hand against the orphan,
because I saw I had supporters at the gate;
then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder,
and let my arm be broken from its socket.
For I was in terror of calamity from God,
and I could not have faced his majesty.
‘If I have made gold my trust, or called fine gold my confidence;
if I have rejoiced because my wealth was great, or because my hand had acquired much;
if I have looked at the sun when it shone, or the moon moving in splendour,
and my heart has been secretly enticed, and my mouth has kissed my hand;
this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges, for I should have been false to God above.
‘If I have rejoiced at the ruin of those who hated me, or exulted when evil overtook them—
I have not let my mouth sin by asking for their lives with a curse—
if those of my tent ever said,
“O that we might be sated with his flesh!” - the stranger has not lodged in the street;
I have opened my doors to the traveller - if I have concealed my transgressions as others do,
by hiding my iniquity in my bosom, because I stood in great fear of the multitude,
and the contempt of families terrified me, so that I kept silence,
and did not go out of doors - O that I had one to hear me!
(Here is my signature! Let the Almighty answer me!)
O that I had the indictment written by my adversary!
Surely I would carry it on my shoulder;
I would bind it on me like a crown;
I would give him an account of all my steps;
like a prince I would approach him.
‘If my land has cried out against me, and its furrows have wept together;
if I have eaten its yield without payment, and caused the death of its owners;
let thorns grow instead of wheat, and foul weeds instead of barley.’
Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet’; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; let us live honourably as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
you have broken the tyranny of sin
and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts
whereby we call you Father:
give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service,
that we and all creation may be brought
to the glorious liberty of the children of God;
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.