Happy the one whose transgression is forgiven, and whose sin is covered.
Happy the one to whom the Lord imputes no guilt, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
For I held my tongue; my bones wasted away through my groaning all the day long. Your hand was heavy upon me day and night; my moisture was dried up like the drought in summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and my iniquity I did not hide. I said,
‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Therefore let all the faithful make their prayers to you in time of trouble; in the great water flood, it shall not reach them. You are a place for me to hide in; you preserve me from trouble;you surround me with songs of deliverance.
‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way that you should go;
I will guide you with my eye.
Be not like horse and mule which have no understanding;
whose mouths must be held with bit and bridle,or else they will not stay near you.’
Great tribulations remain for the wicked, but mercy embraces those who trust in the Lord. Be glad, you righteous, and rejoice in the Lord; shout for joy, all who are true of heart.
Sin whispers to the wicked, in the depths of their heart; there is no fear of God before their eyes. They flatter themselves in their own eyes that their abominable sin will not be found out. The words of their mouth are unrighteous and full of deceit; they have ceased to act wisely and to do good. They think out mischief upon their beds and have set themselves in no good way; nor do they abhor that which is evil.
Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens and your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness stands like the strong mountains,
your justice like the great deep; you, Lord, shall save both man and beast.
How precious is your loving mercy, O God!
All mortal flesh shall take refuge under the shadow of your wings.
They shall be satisfied with the abundance of your house;
they shall drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the well of life and in your light shall we see light.
O continue your loving-kindness to those who know you and your righteousness to those who are true of heart. Let not the foot of pride come against me, nor the hand of the ungodly thrust me away. There are they fallen, all who work wickedness. They are cast down and shall not be able to stand.
‘A mortal, born of woman, few of days and full of trouble,
comes up like a flower and withers, flees like a shadow and does not last.
Do you fix your eyes on such a one?
Do you bring me into judgement with you?
Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?
No one can.
Since their days are determined, and the number of their months is known to you,
and you have appointed the bounds that they cannot pass, look away from them, and desist,
that they may enjoy, like labourers, their days.
For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again,
and that its shoots will not cease.
Though its root grows old in the earth, and its stump dies in the ground,
yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth branches like a young plant.
But mortals die, and are laid low; humans expire, and where are they?
As waters fail from a lake, and a river wastes away and dries up,
so mortals lie down and do not rise again; until the heavens are no more,
they will not awake or be roused out of their sleep.
O that you would hide me in Sheol,
that you would conceal me until your wrath is past,
that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me!
If mortals die, will they live again?
All the days of my service I would wait until my release should come.
You would call, and I would answer you; you would long for the work of your hands.
For then you would not number my steps, you would not keep watch over my sin;
my transgression would be sealed up in a bag, and you would cover over my iniquity.
But the mountain falls and crumbles away, and the rock is removed from its place;
the waters wear away the stones; the torrents wash away the soil of the earth;
so you destroy the hope of mortals.
You prevail for ever against them, and they pass away;
you change their countenance, and send them away.
Their children come to honour, and they do not know it;
They are brought low, and it goes unnoticed.
They feel only the pain of their own bodies, and mourn only for themselves.’
What then should we say? That the law is sin? By no means!
Yet, if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin.
I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’
But sin, seizing an opportunity in the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness.
Apart from the law sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died, and the very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity in the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good.
Did what is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, working death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.
For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin.
God of truth, help us to keep your law of love and to walk in ways of wisdom, that we may find true life in Jesus Christ your Son. Amen.