The LORD reigns, robed in majesty,
majestic with authority;
the world stands firm, unshakeably,
securely and unmoveably.
Your throne, before antiquity;
you are from all eternity.
The floods rise up, LORD, steadily;
the rivers rise up vocally;
the sea waves rise up violently.
Above the sea's cacophony
or billows surging noisily,
the LORD rules all majestically.
Your precepts, LORD, are trustworthy;
your house, adorned with sanctity
forever and eternally.
It is good to give thanks to the LORD with our praise,
singing songs to your name, O Most High;
to proclaim your great love with the sun's morning rays,
and your faithfulness when evening's nigh,
to the music of strings and the beautiful chord
of a harp or a lyre that's played.
For you thrill me with joy for your marvels, O LORD,
with the wonders that your hands have made.
LORD, your works are tremendous, your thoughts are profound!
But the foolish cannot comprehend:
though the wicked sprout up like the grass from the ground,
they'll be ruined and doomed in the end.
But, Jehovah, forever exalted on high.
For behold, LORD, your enemy, see —
for behold will your enemies perish and die,
and the wicked will scatter and flee.
You've exalted my horn like the horn the ox grows;
I'm anointed with oil from your cup.
My eyes looked and have seen the defeat of my foes,
and my ears hear the wicked rise up.
But the righteous will flourish like palm trees with dates;
as the Lebanon cedars grow broad.
They are planted within the LORD's house and its gates,
and they thrive in the courts of our God.
Though they're older, their fruit will continue to bear,
green and fresh, they are healthy and sound.
They declare and make known, The LORD's righteous and fair,
as our rock, there is no evil found.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High,
will abide in the shade of Almighty, Shaddai.
I will say of the LORD, He's my fortress retreat,
he's my safe place, my God, whom I trust in complete.
He'll deliver you from fowlers' nets that ensnare,
from the plagues and diseases that spread everywhere.
You'll be covered by feathers and safe in his wing,
as he faithfully shields you from what life may bring.
You will not fear the terrors that haunt you at night,
nor the arrows that fly through the air when its light,
nor the pestilence stalking by light of the moon,
nor the plague of destruction that lays waste at noon.
Though a thousand beside you may suddenly fall,
even ten thousand more — it won't harm you at all.
You will see with your eyes as it all is displayed,
you'll observe how the wicked are finally repaid.
Because you, LORD, alone are my refuge I need,
you've established the Most High your dwelling indeed,
harm will not overtake you when evil is meant;
neither plague nor disaster will come near your tent.
He's appointed his angels to watch over you,
to protect you and guard you in all that you do.
They've been charged to uphold you with their hands alone,
so that you will not even trip over a stone.
You will conquer the lions and cobras you meet;
you will trample fierce lions and snakes with your feet.
God says, Those who have loved me, I'll rescue the same;
I will set them on high because they've known my name.
When they call upon me, I will answer their prayer;
I will rescue and be with them in their despair.
They'll be satisfied with the long lives that they live,
and I'll cause them to see my salvation I give.
You've been refuge for us, and a dwelling;
throughout all generations, our home.
Before mountains were formed, or the earth had been born,
from beginning to end, God, alone.
You return man to dust just by saying,
O descendants of Adam, return!
For you, one thousand years — like a day disappears,
like a watch in the night that adjourns.
You sweep people away like mere visions.
They're like grass sprouting up each new day:
morning blooms grass anew, freshly covered with dew,
but by evening has withered away.
You consume us with your rage and anger,
and your wrath makes us tremble with fright.
All the sins that we do have been placed before you,
and our secrets are shown in your light.
For our days have declined in your fury,
and we finish our years like a sigh.
We live threescore and ten — even fourscore, some men —
before giving up our strength to die.
Yet our years are but labor and sorrow,
till we fly and our glory is through.
Can the power be known of your anger you've shown?
Your wrath matches the fear you are due.
Teach us just how our days should be numbered,
give us wisdom our hearts would embrace.
O LORD, come back again! Will your wrath never end?
Show your servants compassion and grace.
Satisfy us at dawn with your mercy;
may we sing all our days and be glad.
Give us joyful, good days with your suffering ways,
give us good years that equal the bad.
Let your wonders appear to your servants;
show your glory to their sons and clans.
Let your beauty shine down, let our works be renowned —
yes, establish the works of our hands.
Psalm 89 is the 3rd longest Psalm, so I had the blues to start it and put it off for a couple of weeks. But once I started writing, I was surprised how quickly it went. Since it is the last Psalm of Book 3, note the benediction at the end.
I will sing of the LORD's great devotion forever;
and your faithfulness to generations, declare.
For your unfailing love will be built up forever;
you'll establish in heaven your faithfulness there.
You said, I've made a covenant with one I've chosen;
I have sworn unto David my servant, alone:
I'll establish your seed and descendants forever,
and for all generations, I'll build up your throne.
Let the heavens give glory, O LORD, to your wonders;
with angelic hosts praising your faithfulness, too.
Who compares with Jehovah throughout all the heavens?
And what heavenly being, O LORD, is like you?
In the council of saints God is feared by the holy,
far more awesome than any surrounding your throne.
Blessed, LORD God of Hosts, is there any more mighty?
For your faithfulness garbs and surrounds you alone.
You rule seas that are raging, tame storm-driven oceans;
when the waves start to rise you bring squalls to a close.
You have humbled and slain the great sea monster, Rahab;
with your powerful arm you have scattered your foes.
All the heavens are yours and the earth is yours also;
you have founded the world and the fullness it springs.
You've created the north and the south you have fashioned;
between Tabor and Hermon, what joy your name brings!
Your strong arm is endowed with such power unending;
your strong hand — your right hand is exalted and raised.
And your justice and judgement are your throne's foundations;
and your mercy and truth go before all your ways.
Oh how blest are those hearing the call for your worship,
and who walk in the light of your glorious face.
They rejoice all day long in your name and your goodness;
they're exulted themselves on account of your grace.
Because you are the glory of our strength and power;
by your favor is our horn exalted above.
For the LORD is our shield and our constant protection,
and our king is the Holy One, Israel's love.
Once you spoke in a vision to your faithful people.
You said, I have bestowed on a warrior my help;
I have raised up a young man from out of my people,
I've exalted and chosen their hero myself.
I have found and identified my servant, David,
and with my sacred oil I've anointed his heart;
with my hand I'll sustain him and see him established,
and to him, my arm's strength will I surely impart.
And his enemies will not deceive nor defeat him;
nor the sons of the wicked afflict him with might.
I will beat down and crush every foe seen before him,
and defeat those who hate him and put them to flight.
My devotion and love will be faithfully with him,
and his horn through my name and my power will grow.
I will set and extend his rule over the oceans,
and his powerful right hand on rivers that flow.
He will call out to me and say, You are my Father;
you're my God, and my Rock of salvation alone.
And I also have chosen to make him my firstborn,
and the highest of kings that the earth's ever known.
I will love and preserve him forever and ever;
and my covenant with him will stand fast and sure.
I'll establish his seed and his offspring forever,
and his throne for as long as the heavens endure.
If his children would ever forsake my instructions,
or they chose not to walk in the judgements I've made;
if my laws were profaned and my statutes were broken,
and commandments I'd given would not be obeyed;
then with rod would I punish their sin and transgression;
and with stripes on their backs would their guilt be repaid.
But I'll never withdraw from him my lovingkindness,
nor my promise I've vowed will be ever betrayed.
For my covenant with you will never be broken;
I'll not alter a thing that I've uttered to you.
I've sworn once and for all by my name which is holy;
I will not lie to David, but always be true.
His descendants will always continue forever,
and his throne, like the sun in the heavens on high.
And his kingdom will last as the moon shines eternal,
like a witness of faith in the heavenly sky.
Now he's outcast, rejected, because you have spurned him,
you're enraged with the one you anointed and found.
Now your covenant has been renounced with your servant,
and his crown has been sullied and thrown to the ground.
You have broken through all of his walls of protection;
you have brought down his strongholds to ruin and waste.
All who pass by have robbed him and left him despoiled;
he is scorned by his neighbors and wholly disgraced.
You've exalted his enemies' right hand with power;
you've enabled his foes to rejoice evermore.
You have blunted the edge of his sword so its useless,
and refused to sustain him and aid him in war.
You have ended his splendor and taken his glory;
you have cast down his throne to the ground with his fame.
You have shortened the days of his youth and his vigor;
you have made him disgraced and have clothed him in shame.
O Jehovah, how long, LORD, will you remain hidden?
And, how long will your anger continue to flame?
Oh, remember how fleeting and short is my lifespan!
Have you made man and all of his children in vain?
For what man can cheat death and keep living forever?
Who can save his own soul from the hand of the grave?
Where, O LORD, is your loving, unfailing devotion,
and that promise to David, your servant, you gave?
LORD, remember the jeers and reproach of your servants;
how I bore all the insults the nations would make.
How your enemies slandered the one you have chosen,
and mocked every footstep your anointed one takes.
May we bless LORD Jehovah again and again!
And forever praise YAHWEH! Amen, and Amen!
O my LORD, God of my sure salvation,
I have cried out to you night and day.
Laid before you is my supplication;
give an ear to my crying, I pray.
My soul's burdened with troubles, non-ending;
I fear death and the grave's very near.
To the Pit, with the rest, I'm descending;
like a strong man whose strength disappears.
I've been left with the dead and the rotten,
like the slain in their graves neath the sand.
You remember me not — I'm forgotten,
and cut off from the care of your hand.
To the lowest pit's depth, you have thrown me
in the deepest and darkest of graves.
And your anger weighs heavy upon me;
overwhelmed by the force of your waves.
By my closest friends I've been forsaken;
you have made me repulsive and vile.
I feel trapped with no way of escape, then;
I am blinded by tears all the while.
Every day, LORD, I call you so often;
and I reach out to you with arms raised.
Are your wonders for those in their coffin?
Will the dead arise shouting your praise?
Can the grave give your love declaration?
Or the netherworld speak to your grace?
Will the dark share in your celebration,
in a land where all thought is erased?
But I cry for your help and protection;
in the morning, you're met with my plea.
O LORD, why must I face your rejection?
And why keep your face hidden from me?
I've been near death since I could be carried;
now your terrors, I cannot avoid.
Your fierce anger has drowned me — I'm buried;
by your terrors, completely destroyed.
They surround me like waters that hover;
they encircle me round without end.
You have taken from me friend and lover;
now the darkness is my closest friend.
This poem was written twenty years ago.
It was something I never intended to write and I resisted mightily as I saw more and more tributes and poems contributed online. But some of these lines kept running thru my head and I eventually jotted them down, and it didn't take long for the whole thing to spill out.
Part of Me
Perhaps our paths once crossed each other's
On some nameless avenue;
Perhaps we could have been like brothers
Best of friends — both me and you.
But now you’re gone — it wasn’t fair
It could have happened anywhere
But I was here and you were there
And now we’ll never know.
Part of me was lost forever
When your world came crashing down.
Simple things I used to treasure
Lay in rubble on the ground.
In a stroke of untold violence
Terror rained on liberty;
Now I’ve found within the silence —
Lost with you was part of me.
Perhaps I never would have met you
Had we lived a thousand years;
But from this day I’ll not forget you
Nor this vision blurred by tears.
If we knew then what we know now
If we could turn back time somehow
If you could hear these words we vow:
You’ll live within our hearts.
The price of freedom just got higher
Paid by heroes by the score;
But dreams will not be quenched by fire —
Hope shall rise from ash once more.
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!
Psalm 20 and 21 go together. Psalm 20 is an intercessory prayer for the king's safety before battle, and Psalm 21 is the prayer of thanksgiving for the king's safe return after the battle has been won.
I'd read about this a couple of months ago before beginning this series and was going to do something once these two psalms were reached. Then I promptly forgot about it. What that something would be — I have no idea.
The only thing I could have done was to write each of them in the same style as the other. As it turns out, one has lines of 12 syllables and the other has 11 syllables. Otherwise, my interpretation of them both is remarkably similar.
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
O LORD, in your strength the king's glad and inspired,
and in your salvation he's greatly rejoiced.
You've given whatever his heart has desired,
withheld no request that his lips ever voiced.
You welcomed him back — with good things he's been blest;
you placed on his head a crown wrought of pure gold.
He asked you for life, and you heard his request —
forever and ever his years are untold.
His glory is great through your vict'ries allowed;
such splendor and majesty you have bestowed!
With blessings forever has he been endowed;
your presence has filled him with joy overflowed.
Because the king trusts in the Almighty LORD,
the LORD's loving-kindness will keep him secure.
Your hand will lay hold of your enemy hoard;
your right hand will seize those who hate you for sure.
As if by a furnace, upon your return,
they'll all be destroyed in the blaze of your ire.
They'll all be engulfed in the LORD's wrath and burn,
consumed and devoured by his endless fire.
You'll make sure their children are gone from this world;
the lines from their children's descendants will fail.
Intending you harm with the plots they have hurled,
that cannot nor will not remotely prevail.
Therefore, you will cause them to turn and take flight
once they finally notice your bow has been raised.
Rise up, LORD Jehovah, because of your might;
we'll sing of your power and give you our praise.
O LORD, in Your strength the king will be glad, And in Your salvation how greatly he will rejoice!
(20:1 - NASB)
You have given him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips.
(21:2 - ESV)
You welcomed him back with success and prosperity. You placed a crown of finest gold on his head.
(21:3 - NLT)
He asked you for life, and you gave it to him— length of days, for ever and ever.
(21:4 - NIV)
His glory is great through your salvation; splendor and majesty you bestow on him.
(21:5 - ESV)
You have endowed him with eternal blessings and given him the joy of your presence.
(21:6 - NLT)
The king trusts in the LORD Almighty; and because of the LORD’s constant love he will always be secure.
(21:7 - GNT)
Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies; your right hand will seize your foes.
(21:8 - NIV)
When you appear for battle, you will burn them up as in a blazing furnace.
The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath, and his fire will consume them.
(21:9 - NIV)
You will wipe their children from the face of the earth; they will never have descendants.
(21:10 - NLT)
Although they plot against you, their evil schemes will never succeed.
(21:11 - NLT)
For they will turn and run when they see your arrows aimed at them.
(21:12 - NLT)
Rise up, LORD, because you are strong; we will sing and praise your power.
(21:13 - ISV)
NASB: New American Standard Bible • ESV: English Standard Version • NLT: New Living Translation • NIV: New International Version • Good News Translation • ISV: International Standard Version