To you I lift up my eyes, to you that are enthroned in the heavens. As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, or the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until he have mercy upon us.
Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt. Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of the arrogant, and of the contempt of the proud.
If the Lord himself had not been on our side, now may Israel say; If the Lord had not been on our side, when enemies rose up against us; Then would they have swallowed us alive when their anger burned against us; Then would the waters have overwhelmed us and the torrent gone over our soul; over our soul would have swept the raging waters.
But blessed be the Lord who has not given us over to be a prey for their teeth. Our soul has escaped
as a bird from the snare of the fowler; the snare is broken and we are delivered. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who has made heaven and earth.
Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but stands fast for ever. As the hills stand about Jerusalem, so the Lord stands round about his people, from this time forth for evermore. The sceptre of wickedness shall not hold sway over the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous turn their hands to evil.
Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, and to those who are true of heart. Those who turn aside to crooked ways the Lord shall take away with the evildoers; but let there be peace upon Israel.
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, then were we like those who dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter and our tongue with songs of joy. Then said they among the nations
‘The Lord has done great things for them.’
The Lord has indeed done great things for us, and therefore we rejoiced.
Restore again our fortunes, O Lord, as the river beds of the desert. Those who sow in tears shall reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed, will come back with shouts of joy,
bearing their sheaves with them.
2 Samuel 18.1-18
Then David mustered the men who were with him, and set over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. And David divided the army into three groups: one-third under the command of Joab, one-third under the command of Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and one-third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the men, ‘I myself will also go out with you.’ But the men said, ‘You shall not go out. For if we flee, they will not care about us. If half of us die, they will not care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us; therefore it is better that you send us help from the city.’ The king said to them, ‘Whatever seems best to you I will do.’ So the king stood at the side of the gate, while all the army marched out by hundreds and by thousands. The king gave orders to Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, ‘Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.’ And all the people heard when the king gave orders to all the commanders concerning Absalom.
So the army went out into the field against Israel; and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim. The men of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David, and the slaughter there was great on that day, twenty thousand men. The battle spread over the face of all the country; and the forest claimed more victims that day than the sword.
Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. His head caught fast in the oak, and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. A man saw it, and told Joab, ‘I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.’ Joab said to the man who told him, ‘What, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? I would have been glad to give you ten pieces of silver and a belt.’ But the man said to Joab, ‘Even if I felt in my hand the weight of a thousand pieces of silver, I would not raise my hand against the king’s son; for in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, saying: For my sake protect the young man Absalom! On the other hand, if I had dealt treacherously against his life (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof.’ Joab said, ‘I will not waste time like this with you.’ He took three spears in his hand, and thrust them into the heart of Absalom, while he was still alive in the oak. And ten young men, Joab’s armour-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him, and killed him.
Then Joab sounded the trumpet, and the troops came back from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained the troops. They took Absalom, threw him into a great pit in the forest, and raised over him a very great heap of stones. Meanwhile all the Israelites fled to their homes. Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself a pillar that is in the King’s Valley, for he said, ‘I have no son to keep my name in remembrance’; he called the pillar by his own name. It is called Absalom’s Monument to this day.
Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’
While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, ‘Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’ So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.
Almighty God, you search us and know us:
may we rely on you in strength and rest on you in weakness,
now and in all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.