Psalm 71 was a poem that took about a week for me to write. The first half of that week was spent just going over the first few verses over and over, trying to find my rhythm. I didn't type anything on the computer until I had the first eight lines set in my mind.
Once those couple of verses were recorded, the rest of the poem came together rather quickly.
By David, a Psalm sung by the sons of Jonadab,
and the first that were taken captive.
In you, LORD, I seek your protection and refuge;
let shame never fall upon me.
Deliver me justly and let me be rescued;
oh, hear me and set my soul free.
The rock of my refuge, where I can hide always;
my rock, you can save on command.
Deliver me out of the wicked's hand, Yahweh,
the evil, cruel grip of their hand.
For you've been my hope, Sovereign LORD, like no other;
my confidence since I was young.
You've carried me since I was born of my mother;
forever is praise on my tongue.
To many I've been a sad tale that amazes;
but you are my refuge that's strong.
And that's why my mouth is so filled with your praises;
your glory's declared all day long.
Don't cast me aside since I'm older and broken;
don't leave me when I have grown weak.
My foes plot against me and now they have spoken;
my soul is the thing that they seek.
They say, God's forsaken him, be more persistent,
pursue him for he's on his own.
O God, in your mercy, do not be so distant;
come quickly, for I am alone.
Of my enemies, bring disgrace with destruction;
those wishing me harm, bring them shame.
But I will still hope and await your instruction,
continually praising your name.
My mouth will declare of your deeds of salvation,
the sum of which cannot be known.
I'll go in your strength, LORD, and my proclamation
will mention your justice alone.
Since youth, God, you've taught me from earliest stages,
now I tell the world of your ways.
Now, graying and older, at life's final pages,
abandon me not in these days,
till I can declare to the next generation
your power to those yet to come.
Your righteousness reaches the last constellation;
who does, God, the things that you've done?
Misfortunes and troubles, you've put them before me,
and many were bitter and sore;
from deep in the earth you will one day restore me,
and honor my greatness once more.
I'll praise you on harp played with music, rejoicing,
because of your vows are they sung;
my God, with the lyre are the praises I'm voicing,
for you, as they leap from my tongue.
With joy my lips sing for your grace has redeemed me,
my tongue tells your deeds all day long;
you shame those intending to harm and demean me,
disgraced those who'd do me so wrong.
My last post was last October, for Psalm 21. I had been writing furiously, and the posting part of the process was slowing me down. By mid-November, I stopped writing altogether, in the middle of writing Psalm 35. I wrote poems for Christmas and Easter, but for about five months I essentially didn't write a thing.
Sometime in mid-April, I started to finish Psalm 35, but spent several weeks at it. It just was just a hard one to get through. I finished Psalm 36 two days later, Psalm 37 three days after that, and, after taking a five-month hiatus from writing, I felt like I was back in the groove of writing once more.
Fast-forward to this poem, Psalm 68. After it was completed and I was comparing it with scripture, I discovered that I had inadvertently skipped verse 10. Thankfully, some lines were changed and it was quickly remedied and it probably sounded better than it did.
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. A song.
Now, rise up, God, arise! May his enemies scatter;
let those hating God flee from his presence in fear.
Just as smoke blows away, or as wax melts in fire,
before God, so the wicked will all disappear.
But the righteous — they’re glad, they’ll rejoice in God’s presence;
let them shout with a jubilant, loud, joyful voice.
Sing to God, and his name, he who rides through the desert;
for his name is the LORD — now, exult and rejoice!
To the fatherless, he is much more than a father,
to the widow: defender, protector and aid —
this is God, who is dwelling in his holy heaven.
For the lonely and homeless, a home will be made,
God will lead out the chained into prosperous freedom;
but the wicked will live in a sun-scorched, dry land.
God, when you led your people in mercy from Egypt,
when you marched with your own through a wasteland of sand,
the earth shook, heaven rained down God’s goodness and presence,
even Sinai felt God’s hand in Israel’s care.
You sent showers of blessings, O God, in abundance,
to refresh your exhausted inheritance there.
In your bounty, we dwelled; for the poor, you provided.
And an army of women proclaimed the LORD’s news:
Kings of armies and warriors have fled! — now the women
in their home can divide up the spoil as they choose.
Even you who are found to be sleeping in sheep pens
can be beautiful treasures and gems to behold;
like the wings of a dove that are covered in silver,
with its feathers and pinions as shimmering gold.
When the Almighty scattered the kings there in Canaan,
like the ground on Mount Zalmon was covered with snow.
For a mountain of God is the mountain of Bashan,
where it’s many-peaked summits are seen far below.
Rugged mountains, why gaze on with envy at Zion?
For this hill is the one where God chose for his reign.
God’s own chariots number in thousands of thousands;
on Mount Sinai, among them, the LORD will remain.
You ascended on high to your ultimate glory,
taking with you your numerous captives as well;
you received gifts from men — even those who were stubborn,
where the LORD God Almighty among them might dwell.
Bless the LORD who sustains us each day that we see;
even God, our salvation and helper is he.
For our God is a God who delivers salvation,
and the LORD, his escape from sure death will provide.
Surely God will crush heads of the ones who oppose him,
and the hairy-crowned scalps of those walking in pride.
Says the LORD, I will bring and return them from Bashan,
from the depths of the sea will my foes then be brought.
And your feet, in your enemies’ blood, will be wading;
even dogs with their tongues will have lapped up their lot.
I have seen, God, the crowds for your mighty processions
as they march to your temple, my God and my King.
With the singers in front and musicians who follow,
with the maidens who play tambourines in between.
Bless you God in the great congregation of people;
those descending from Israel’s fount, praise the LORD’s name.
Look, the small tribe of Benjamin, leading and ruling;
and then Judah, Naphtali, and Zebulun came.
For your God has commanded your strength that is mighty;
show your power, O God, just as you used to do.
Since your temple is inside Jerusalem’s city,
kings will bring in their tributes and presents for you.
Now rebuke all these beasts in the reeds where they’re dwelling,
and the bulls with the people — the calves, that they are!
Make them humble and crawl back with tributes of silver;
and then scatter the nations delighting in war.
Then the envoys and princes will come out from Egypt;
Cush will quickly reach out to God with her hands raised.
Sing to God, O you kingdoms. Sing, all round the world;
Play and sing to his name, for the LORD will be praised.
Sing to him who is riding across ancient heavens;
and behold how his thundering voice fills the sky.
Over Israel his power is great and majestic,
with his strength in the clouds of his heavens on high.
He is awesome and fearsome from his sanctuary —
he is God of all Israel, he’s to be awed!
For he gives us his power and strength to his people.
We will praise you forever! Oh, praise be to God!