Psalm 31; Psalm 32; Acts 23:16-35

1 I come to you, Lord, for protection; never let me be defeated. You are a righteous God; save me, I pray! 2 Hear me! Save me now! Be my refuge to protect me; my defense to save me. 3 You are my refuge and defense; guide me and lead me as you have promised. 4 Keep me safe from the trap that has been set for me; shelter me from danger. 5 I place myself in your care. You will save me, Lord; you are a faithful God. 6 You hate those who worship false gods, but I trust in you. 7 I will be glad and rejoice because of your constant love. You see my suffering; you know my trouble. 8 You have not let my enemies capture me; you have given me freedom to go where I wish. 9 Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in trouble; my eyes are tired from so much crying; I am completely worn out. 10 I am exhausted by sorrow, and weeping has shortened my life. I am weak from all my troubles; even my bones are wasting away. 11 All my enemies, and especially my neighbors, treat me with contempt. Those who know me are afraid of me; when they see me in the street, they run away. 12 Everyone has forgotten me, as though I were dead; I am like something thrown away. 13 I hear many enemies whispering; terror is all around me. They are making plans against me, plotting to kill me. 14 But my trust is in you, O Lord; you are my God. 15 I am always in your care; save me from my enemies, from those who persecute me. 16 Look on your servant with kindness; save me in your constant love. 17 I call to you, Lord; don't let me be disgraced. May the wicked be disgraced; may they go silently down to the world of the dead. 18 Silence those liars - all the proud and arrogant who speak with contempt about the righteous. 19 How wonderful are the good things you keep for those who honor you! Everyone knows how good you are, how securely you protect those who trust you. 20 You hide them in the safety of your presence from the plots of others; in a safe shelter you hide them from the insults of their enemies. 21 Praise the Lord! How wonderfully he showed his love for me when I was surrounded and attacked! 22 I was afraid and thought that he had driven me out of his presence. But he heard my cry, when I called to him for help. 23 Love the Lord, all his faithful people. The Lord protects the faithful, but punishes the proud as they deserve. 24 Be strong, be courageous, all you that hope in the Lord.
1 Happy are those whose sins are forgiven, whose wrongs are pardoned. 2 Happy is the one whom the Lord does not accuse of doing wrong and who is free from all deceit. 3 When I did not confess my sins, I was worn out from crying all day long. 4 Day and night you punished me, Lord; my strength was completely drained, as moisture is dried up by the summer heat. 5 Then I confessed my sins to you; I did not conceal my wrongdoings. I decided to confess them to you, and you forgave all my sins. 6 So all your loyal people should pray to you in times of need; when a great flood of trouble comes rushing in, it will not reach them. 7 You are my hiding place; you will save me from trouble. I sing aloud of your salvation, because you protect me. 8 The Lord says, "I will teach you the way you should go; I will instruct you and advise you. 9 Don't be stupid like a horse or a mule, which must be controlled with a bit and bridle to make it submit." 10 The wicked will have to suffer, but those who trust in the Lord are protected by his constant love. 11 You that are righteous, be glad and rejoice because of what the Lord has done. You that obey him, shout for joy!
16 But the son of Paul's sister heard about the plot; so he went to the fort and told Paul. 17 Then Paul called one of the officers and said to him, "Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him." 18 The officer took him, led him to the commander, and said, "The prisoner Paul called me and asked me to bring this young man to you, because he has something to say to you." 19 The commander took him by the hand, led him off by himself, and asked him, "What do you have to tell me? 20 He said, "The Jewish authorities have agreed to ask you tomorrow to take Paul down to the Council, pretending that the Council wants to get more accurate information about him. 21 But don't listen to them, because there are more than forty men who will be hiding and waiting for him. They have taken a vow not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are now ready to do it and are waiting for your decision. 22 The commander said, "Don't tell anyone that you have reported this to me." And he sent the young man away. 23 Then the commander called two of his officers and said, "Get two hundred soldiers ready to go to Caesarea, together with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen, and be ready to leave by nine o'clock tonight. 24 Provide some horses for Paul to ride and get him safely through to Governor Felix." 25 Then the commander wrote a letter that went like this: 26 "Claudius Lysias to His Excellency, Governor Felix: Greetings. 27 The Jews seized this man and were about to kill him. I learned that he is a Roman citizen, so I went with my soldiers and rescued him. 28 I wanted to know what they were accusing him of, so I took him down to their Council. 29 I found out that he had not done a thing for which he deserved to die or be put in prison; the accusation against him had to do with questions about their own law. 30 And when I was informed that there was a plot against him, at once I decided to send him to you. I have told his accusers to make their charges against him before you." 31 The soldiers carried out their orders. They got Paul and took him that night as far as Antipatris. 32 The next day the foot soldiers returned to the fort and left the horsemen to go on with him. 33 They took him to Caesarea, delivered the letter to the governor, and turned Paul over to him. 34 The governor read the letter and asked Paul what province he was from. When he found out that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, "I will hear you when your accusers arrive." Then he gave orders for Paul to be kept under guard in the governor's headquarters.
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