On your feet now - applaud God!
Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence.
Know this: God is God, and God, God. He made us; we didn't make him. We're his people, his well-tended sheep.
Enter with the password: "Thank you!" Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him.
For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever.
My theme song is God's love and justice, and I'm singing it right to you, God.
I'm finding my way down the road of right living, but how long before you show up? I'm doing the very best I can, and I'm doing it at home, where it counts.
I refuse to take a second look at corrupting people and degrading things. I reject made-in-Canaan gods, stay clear of contamination.
The crooked in heart keep their distance; I refuse to shake hands with those who plan evil.
I put a gag on the gossip who bad-mouths his neighbor; I can't stand arrogance.
But I have my eye on salt-of-the-earth people - they're the ones I want working with me; Men and women on the straight and narrow - these are the ones I want at my side.
But no one who traffics in lies gets a job with me; I have no patience with liars. I've rounded up all the wicked like cattle and herded them right out of the country.
I purged God's city of all who make a business of evil. A prayer of one whose life is falling to pieces, and who lets God know just how bad it is.
God, listen! Listen to my prayer, listen to the pain in my cries.
Don't turn your back on me just when I need you so desperately. Pay attention! This is a cry for help! And hurry - this can't wait!
I'm wasting away to nothing, I'm burning up with fever.
I'm a ghost of my former self, half-consumed already by terminal illness.
My jaws ache from gritting my teeth; I'm nothing but skin and bones.
I'm like a buzzard in the desert, a crow perched on the rubble.
Insomniac, I twitter away, mournful as a sparrow in the gutter.
All day long my enemies taunt me, while others just curse.
They bring in meals - casseroles of ashes! I draw drink from a barrel of my tears.
And all because of your furious anger; you swept me up and threw me out.
There's nothing left of me - a withered weed, swept clean from the path.
Yet you, God, are sovereign still, always and ever sovereign.
You'll get up from your throne and help Zion - it's time for compassionate help.
Oh, how your servants love this city's rubble and weep with compassion over its dust!
The godless nations will sit up and take notice - see your glory, worship your name -
When God rebuilds Zion, when he shows up in all his glory,
When he attends to the prayer of the wretched. He won't dismiss their prayer.
Write this down for the next generation so people not yet born will praise God:
"God looked out from his high holy place; from heaven he surveyed the earth.
He listened to the groans of the doomed, he opened the doors of their death cells."
Write it so the story can be told in Zion, so God's praise will be sung in Jerusalem's streets
And wherever people gather together along with their rulers to worship him.
God sovereignly brought me to my knees, he cut me down in my prime.
"Oh, don't," I prayed, "please don't let me die. You have more years than you know what to do with!
You laid earth's foundations a long time ago, and handcrafted the very heavens;
You'll still be around when they're long gone, threadbare and discarded like an old suit of clothes. You'll throw them away like a worn-out coat,
but year after year you're as good as new.
Your servants' children will have a good place to live and their children will be at home with you."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)