Have mercy on me, O God, in your great goodness; according to the abundance of your compassion blot out my offences. Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my faults and my sin is ever before me. Against you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, So that you are justified in your sentence and righteous in your judgement. I have been wicked even from my birth, a sinner when my mother conceived me.
Behold, you desire truth deep within me and shall make me understand wisdom in the depths of my heart. Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear of joy and gladness, that the bones you have broken may rejoice. Turn your face from my sins and blot out all my misdeeds.
Make me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence and take not your holy spirit from me. Give me again the joy of your salvation and sustain me with your gracious spirit; Then shall I teach your ways to the wicked and sinners shall return to you. Deliver me from my guilt, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips and my mouth shall proclaim your praise. For you desire no sacrifice, else I would give it; you take no delight in burnt offerings. The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
O be favourable and gracious to Zion; build up the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will accept sacrifices offered in righteousness, the burnt offerings and oblations; then shall they offer up bulls on your altar.
Save me, O God, by your name and vindicate me by your power. Hear my prayer, O God; give heed to the words of my mouth. For strangers have risen up against me, and the ruthless seek after my life; they have not set God before them. Behold, God is my helper; it is the Lord who upholds my life.
May evil rebound on those who lie in wait for me; destroy them in your faithfulness. An offering of a free heart will I give you and praise your name, O Lord, for it is gracious. For he has delivered me out of all my trouble, and my eye has seen the downfall of my enemies.
Why are times not kept by the Almighty, and why do those who know him never see his days?
The wicked remove landmarks; they seize flocks and pasture them.
They drive away the donkey of the orphan; they take the widow’s ox for a pledge.
They thrust the needy off the road; the poor of the earth all hide themselves.
Like wild asses in the desert they go out to their toil,
scavenging in the waste-land food for their young.
They reap in a field not their own and they glean in the vineyard of the wicked.
They lie all night naked, without clothing, and have no covering in the cold.
They are wet with the rain of the mountains, and cling to the rock for want of shelter.
There are those who snatch the orphan child from the breast, and take as a pledge the infant of the poor.
They go about naked, without clothing; though hungry, they carry the sheaves;
between their terraces they press out oil; they tread the wine presses, but suffer thirst.
From the city the dying groan, and the throat of the wounded cries for help;
yet God pays no attention to their prayer.
There are those who rebel against the light, who are not acquainted with its ways, and do not stay in its paths.
The murderer rises at dusk to kill the poor and needy, and in the night is like a thief.
The eye of the adulterer also waits for the twilight, saying, “No eye will see me”; and he disguises his face.
In the dark they dig through houses; by day they shut themselves up; they do not know the light.
For deep darkness is morning to all of them; for they are friends with the terrors of deep darkness.
Swift are they on the face of the waters;
their portion in the land is cursed; no treader turns towards their vineyards.
Drought and heat snatch away the snow-waters; so does Sheol those who have sinned.
The womb forgets them; the worm finds them sweet;
they are no longer remembered; so wickedness is broken like a tree.
They harm the childless woman, and do no good to the widow.
Yet God prolongs the life of the mighty by his power; they rise up when they despair of life.
He gives them security, and they are supported; his eyes are upon their ways.
They are exalted a little while, and then are gone;
they wither and fade like the mallow;
they are cut off like the heads of grain.
If it is not so, who will prove me a liar, and show that there is nothing in what I say?’
I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? ‘Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars; I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.’ But what is the divine reply to him? ‘I have kept for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’ So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written,
‘God gave them a sluggish spirit, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.’
And David says,
‘Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling-block and a retribution for them;
let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and keep their backs for ever bent.’
So I ask, have they stumbled so as to fall? By no means! But through their stumbling salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their stumbling means riches for the world, and if their defeat means riches for Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!
Faithful Creator, whose mercy never fails: deepen our faithfulness to you and to your living Word,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.