1 Wisdom brought success to the people of Israel through a holy prophet. 1
2 They traveled across a desert where no one lived and camped in places where no human being had ever been.
3 They stood up to their enemies and fought them off.
4 When your people grew thirsty, they called to you, Lord, and you gave them water flowing out of solid rock.
5 The disasters that punished the Egyptians saved your people when they were in trouble.
6 Because those enemies decreed that the babies of your people should be killed, you stirred up the sources of their everflowing river and made it foul with blood. In the desert you let your people go thirsty, to give them a taste of how you had punished their enemies. And then, when they least expected it, you gave them plenty of water.
9 When they were being tested, even though it was a merciful discipline, they learned how wicked people were tortured when you judged them in anger.
10 You tested your people, as parents test their children, to warn them. But you judged their enemies like a stern king and condemned them.
11 They suffered, whether they were near your people or far from them.
12 Their sorrow was doubled; they groaned as they looked back on what had happened.
13 When they learned that their punishment had been of benefit to your people, they realized that it was your work, Lord.
14 The Egyptians had refused to have anything to do with that man who, long before as a baby, had been thrown out and exposed; but as things worked out, they came to be amazed at him. The righteous never suffered a thirst like theirs.
15 Their wickedness misled them into silly ideas, so that they worshiped snakes and other disgusting animals, creatures without any powers of reason. Because of this, you punished them with millions of such animals, 2
16 and taught them that punishment for sin takes the same form as the sin itself.
17 Your almighty power, Lord, created the world out of material that had no form at all. You could easily have punished those people by sending an invasion of bears or savage lions.
18 You could have created new and terrible animals, that could breathe fire or roar and send out clouds of smoke, or shoot out fearful sparks from their eyes.
19 You could have made animals like these that would not have to attack those people to kill them, but could scare them to death just by looking at them.
20 But this was not necessary. You could have pursued them with your justice or struck them dead at the slightest hint of your power. But you have chosen to measure, count, and weigh everything you do.
21 You can show your great power any time you wish, and no one can stand up against it.
22 In your sight the whole world is a grain of sand, barely heavy enough to tip a pair of scales, a drop of dew on the ground in the morning.
23 You are powerful enough to do anything, but you are merciful to everyone; you overlook our sins and give us time to repent.
24 You love everything that exists; you do not despise anything that you have made. If you had not liked it, you would not have made it in the first place.
25 How could anything last, if you did not want it to? How could it endure, if you had not created it?
26 You have allowed it all to exist, O Lord, because it is yours, and you love every living thing.