Psalm 37; Psalm 38; Psalm 39; Acts 26 (Holman Christian Standard)

Instruction in Wisdom

Davidic.

1 Do not be agitated by evildoers; do not envy those who do wrong. 2 For they wither quickly like grass and wilt like tender green plants. 3 Trust in the Lord and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely. 4 Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart's desires. 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act, 6 making your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like the noonday. 7 Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him; do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way, by the man who carries out evil plans. 8 Refrain from anger and give up [your] rage; do not be agitated-it can only bring harm. 9 For evildoers will be destroyed, but those who put their hope in the Lord will inherit the land. 10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for him, he will not be there. 11 But the humble will inherit the land and will enjoy abundant prosperity. 12 The wicked schemes against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him. 13 The Lord laughs at him because He sees that his day is coming. 14 The wicked have drawn the sword and strung the bow to bring down the afflicted and needy and to slaughter those whose way is upright. 15 Their swords will enter their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. 16 Better the little that the righteous man has than the abundance of many wicked people. 17 For the arms of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord supports the righteous. 18 The Lord watches over the blameless all their days, and their inheritance will last forever. 19 They will not be disgraced in times of adversity; they will be satisfied in days of hunger. 20 But the wicked will perish; the Lord's enemies, like the glory of the pastures, will fade away- they will fade away like smoke. 21 The wicked borrows and does not repay, but the righteous is gracious and giving. 22 Those who are blessed by Him will inherit the land, but those cursed by Him will be destroyed. 23 A man's steps are established by the Lord, and He takes pleasure in his way. 24 Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, because the Lord holds his hand. 25 I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous abandoned or his children begging bread. 26 He is always generous, always lending, and his children are a blessing. 27 Turn away from evil and do what is good, and dwell there forever. 28 For the Lord loves justice and will not abandon His faithful ones. They are kept safe forever, but the children of the wicked will be destroyed. 29 The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it permanently. 30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom; his tongue speaks what is just. 31 The instruction of his God is in his heart; his steps do not falter. 32 The wicked lies in wait for the righteous and seeks to kill him; 33 the Lord will not leave him in his hand or allow him to be condemned when he is judged. 34 Wait for the Lord and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land. You will watch when the wicked are destroyed. 35 I have seen a wicked, violent man well-rooted like a flourishing native tree. 36 Then I passed by and noticed he was gone; I searched for him, but he could not be found. 37 Watch the blameless and observe the upright, for the man of peace will have a future. 38 But transgressors will all be eliminated; the future of the wicked will be destroyed. 39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord, their refuge in a time of distress. 40 The Lord helps and delivers them; He will deliver them from the wicked and will save them because they take refuge in Him.

Prayer of a Suffering Sinner

A Davidic psalm for remembrance.

1 Lord, do not punish me in Your anger or discipline me in Your wrath. 2 For Your arrows have sunk into me, and Your hand has pressed down on me. 3 There is no soundness in my body because of Your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. 4 For my sins have flooded over my head; they are a burden too heavy for me to bear. 5 My wounds are foul and festering because of my foolishness. 6 I am bent over and brought low; all day long I go around in mourning. 7 For my loins are full of burning pain, and there is no health in my body. 8 I am faint and severely crushed; I groan because of the anguish of my heart. 9 Lord, my every desire is known to You; my sighing is not hidden from You. 10 My heart races, my strength leaves me, and even the light of my eyes has faded. 11 My loved ones and friends stand back from my affliction, and my relatives stand at a distance. 12 Those who seek my life set traps, and those who want to harm me threaten to destroy me; they plot treachery all day long. 13 I am like a deaf person; I do not hear. I am like a speechless person who does not open his mouth. 14 I am like a man who does not hear and has no arguments in his mouth. 15 I put my hope in You, Lord; You will answer, Lord my God. 16 For I said, "Don't let them rejoice over me- those who are arrogant toward me when I stumble." 17 For I am about to fall, and my pain is constantly with me. 18 So I confess my guilt; I am anxious because of my sin. 19 But my enemies are vigorous and powerful; many hate me for no reason. 20 Those who repay evil for good attack me for pursuing good. 21 Lord, do not abandon me; my God, do not be far from me. 22 Hurry to help me, Lord, my Savior.

The Fleeting Nature of Life

For the choir director, for Jeduthun. A Davidic psalm.

1 I said, "I will guard my ways so that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth with a muzzle as long as the wicked are in my presence." 2 I was speechless and quiet; I kept silent, even from [speaking] good, and my pain intensified. 3 My heart grew hot within me; as I mused, a fire burned. I spoke with my tongue: 4 "Lord, reveal to me the end of my life and the number of my days. Let me know how transitory I am. 5 You, indeed, have made my days short in length, and my life span as nothing in Your sight. Yes, every mortal man is only a vapor. Selah 6 Certainly, man walks about like a mere shadow. Indeed, they frantically rush around in vain, gathering possessions without knowing who will get them. 7 "Now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. 8 Deliver me from all my transgressions; do not make me the taunt of fools. 9 I am speechless; I do not open my mouth because of what You have done. 10 Remove Your torment from me; I fade away because of the force of Your hand. 11 You discipline a man with punishment for sin, consuming like a moth what is precious to him; every man is a mere vapor. Selah 12 "Hear my prayer, Lord, and listen to my cry for help; do not be silent at my tears. For I am a foreigner residing with You, a sojourner like all my fathers. 13 Turn Your angry gaze from me so that I may be cheered up before I die and am gone."

Paul's Defense before Agrippa

1 Agrippa said to Paul, "It is permitted for you to speak for yourself." Then Paul stretched out his hand and began his defense: 2 "I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that today I am going to make a defense before you about everything I am accused of by the Jews, 3 especially since you are an expert in all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently. 4 "All the Jews know my way of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem. 5 They had previously known me for quite some time, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I lived as a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand on trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers, 7 [the promise] our 12 tribes hope to attain as they earnestly serve Him night and day. Because of this hope I am being accused by the Jews, O king! 8 Why is it considered incredible by any of you that God raises the dead? 9 In fact, I myself supposed it was necessary to do many things in opposition to the name of Jesus the Nazarene. 10 This I actually did in Jerusalem, and I locked up many of the saints in prison, since I had received authority for that from the chief priests. When they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 In all the synagogues I often tried to make them blaspheme by punishing them. Being greatly enraged at them, I even pursued them to foreign cities.

Paul's Account of His Conversion and Commission

12 "Under these circumstances I was traveling to Damascus with authority and a commission from the chief priests. 13 At midday, while on the road, O king, I saw a light from heaven brighter than the sun, shining around me and those traveling with me. 14 When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' 15 "But I said, 'Who are You, Lord?' "And the Lord replied: 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 16 But get up and stand on your feet. For I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and a witness of things you have seen, and of things in which I will appear to you. 17 I will rescue you from the people and from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, 18 to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.' 19 "Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. 20 Instead, I preached to those in Damascus first, and to those in Jerusalem and in all the region of Judea, and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works worthy of repentance. 21 For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple complex and were trying to kill me. 22 Since I have obtained help that comes from God, to this day I stand and testify to both small and great, saying nothing else than what the prophets and Moses said would take place- 23 that the Messiah must suffer, and that as the first to rise from the dead, He would proclaim light to our people and to the Gentiles."

Not Quite Persuaded

24 As he was making his defense this way, Festus exclaimed in a loud voice, "You're out of your mind, Paul! Too much study is driving you mad!" 25 But Paul replied, "I'm not out of my mind, most excellent Festus. On the contrary, I'm speaking words of truth and good judgment. 26 For the king knows about these matters. It is to him I am actually speaking boldly. For I'm not convinced that any of these things escapes his notice, since this was not done in a corner! 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you believe." 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "Are you going to persuade me to become a Christian so easily?" 29 "I wish before God," replied Paul, "that whether easily or with difficulty, not only you but all who listen to me today might become as I am-except for these chains." 30 So the king, the governor, Bernice, and those sitting with them got up, 31 and when they had left they talked with each other and said, "This man is doing nothing that deserves death or chains." 32 Then Agrippa said to Festus, "This man could have been released if he had not appealed to Caesar."
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