1 O LORD, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide when I am in trouble? 2 The wicked arrogantly hunt down the poor. Let them be caught in the evil they plan for others. 3 For they brag about their evil desires; they praise the greedy and curse the LORD . 4 The wicked are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead. 5 Yet they succeed in everything they do. They do not see your punishment awaiting them. They sneer at all their enemies. 6 They think, “Nothing bad will ever happen to us! We will be free of trouble forever!” 7 Their mouths are full of cursing, lies, and threats. Trouble and evil are on the tips of their tongues. 8 They lurk in ambush in the villages, waiting to murder innocent people. They are always searching for helpless victims. 9 Like lions crouched in hiding, they wait to pounce on the helpless. Like hunters they capture the helpless and drag them away in nets. 10 Their helpless victims are crushed; they fall beneath the strength of the wicked. 11 The wicked think, “God isn’t watching us! He has closed his eyes and won’t even see what we do!” 12 Arise, O LORD ! Punish the wicked, O God! Do not ignore the helpless! 13 Why do the wicked get away with despising God? They think, “God will never call us to account.” 14 But you see the trouble and grief they cause. You take note of it and punish them. The helpless put their trust in you. You defend the orphans. 15 Break the arms of these wicked, evil people! Go after them until the last one is destroyed. 16 The LORD is king forever and ever! The godless nations will vanish from the land. 17 LORD, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them. 18 You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so mere people can no longer terrify them.
1 I trust in the LORD for protection. So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety! 2 The wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right. 3 The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?” 4 But the LORD is in his holy Temple; the LORD still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth. 5 The LORD examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates those who love violence. 6 He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked, punishing them with scorching winds. 7 For the righteous LORD loves justice. The virtuous will see his face.
1 Help, O LORD, for the godly are fast disappearing! The faithful have vanished from the earth! 2 Neighbors lie to each other, speaking with flattering lips and deceitful hearts. 3 May the LORD cut off their flattering lips and silence their boastful tongues. 4 They say, “We will lie to our hearts’ content. Our lips are our own—who can stop us?” 5 The LORD replies, “I have seen violence done to the helpless, and I have heard the groans of the poor. Now I will rise up to rescue them, as they have longed for me to do.” 6 The LORD ’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over. 7 Therefore, LORD, we know you will protect the oppressed, preserving them forever from this lying generation, 8 even though the wicked strut about, and evil is praised throughout the land.
1 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions until he reached Ephesus, on the coast, where he found several believers. 2 “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” he asked them. “No,” they replied, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 “Then what baptism did you experience?” he asked. And they replied, “The baptism of John.” 4 Paul said, “John’s baptism called for repentance from sin. But John himself told the people to believe in the one who would come later, meaning Jesus.” 5 As soon as they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all. 8 Then Paul went to the synagogue and preached boldly for the next three months, arguing persuasively about the Kingdom of God. 9 But some became stubborn, rejecting his message and publicly speaking against the Way. So Paul left the synagogue and took the believers with him. Then he held daily discussions at the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for the next two years, so that people throughout the province of Asia—both Jews and Greeks—heard the word of the Lord. 11 God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles. 12 When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and evil spirits were expelled. 13 A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. 15 But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” 16 Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered. 17 The story of what happened spread quickly all through Ephesus, to Jews and Greeks alike. A solemn fear descended on the city, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored. 18 Many who became believers confessed their sinful practices. 19 A number of them who had been practicing sorcery brought their incantation books and burned them at a public bonfire. The value of the books was several million dollars. 20 So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect.