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Psalm 35 (The Message)

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1 Harass these hecklers, God, punch these bullies in the nose. 2 Grab a weapon, anything at hand; stand up for me! 3 Get ready to throw the spear, aim the javelin, at the people who are out to get me. Reassure me; let me hear you say, "I'll save you." 4 When those thugs try to knife me in the back, make them look foolish. Frustrate all those who are plotting my downfall. 5 Make them like cinders in a high wind, with God's angel working the bellows. 6 Make their road lightless and mud-slick, with God's angel on their tails. 7 Out of sheer cussedness they set a trap to catch me; for no good reason they dug a ditch to stop me. 8 Surprise them with your ambush - catch them in the very trap they set, the disaster they planned for me. 9 But let me run loose and free, celebrating God's great work, 10 Every bone in my body laughing, singing, "God, there's no one like you. You put the down-and-out on their feet and protect the unprotected from bullies!" 11 Hostile accusers appear out of nowhere, they stand up and badger me. 12 They pay me back misery for mercy, leaving my soul empty. 13 When they were sick, I dressed in black; instead of eating, I prayed. 14 My prayers were like lead in my gut, like I'd lost my best friend, my brother. I paced, distraught as a motherless child, hunched and heavyhearted. 15 But when I was down they threw a party! All the nameless riffraff of the town came chanting insults about me. 16 Like barbarians desecrating a shrine, they destroyed my reputation. 17 God, how long are you going to stand there doing nothing? Save me from their brutalities; everything I've got is being thrown to the lions. 18 I will give you full credit when everyone gathers for worship; When the people turn out in force I will say my Hallelujahs. 19 Don't let these liars, my enemies, have a party at my expense, Those who hate me for no reason, winking and rolling their eyes. 20 No good is going to come from that crowd; They spend all their time cooking up gossip against those who mind their own business. 21 They open their mouths in ugly grins, Mocking, "Ha-ha, ha-ha, thought you'd get away with it? We've caught you hands down!" 22 Don't you see what they're doing, God? You're not going to let them Get by with it, are you? Not going to walk off without doing something, are you? 23 Please get up - wake up! Tend to my case. My God, my Lord - my life is on the line. 24 Do what you think is right, God, my God, but don't make me pay for their good time. 25 Don't let them say to themselves, "Ha-ha, we got what we wanted." Don't let them say, "We've chewed him up and spit him out." 26 Let those who are being hilarious at my expense Be made to look ridiculous. Make them wear donkey's ears; Pin them with the donkey's tail, who made themselves so high and mighty! 27 But those who want the best for me, Let them have the last word - a glad shout! - and say, over and over and over, "God is great - everything works together for good for his servant." 28 I'll tell the world how great and good you are, I'll shout Hallelujah all day, every day.
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