Psalm 17; Psalm 35; Psalm 54; Psalm 63

1 Listen while I build my case, God, the most honest prayer you'll ever hear. 2 Show the world I'm innocent - in your heart you know I am. 3 Go ahead, examine me from inside out, surprise me in the middle of the night - You'll find I'm just what I say I am. My words don't run loose. 4 I'm not trying to get my way in the world's way. I'm trying to get your way, your Word's way. 5 I'm staying on your trail; I'm putting one foot In front of the other. I'm not giving up. 6 I call to you, God, because I'm sure of an answer. So - answer! bend your ear! listen sharp! 7 Paint grace-graffiti on the fences; take in your frightened children who Are running from the neighborhood bullies straight to you. 8 Keep your eye on me; hide me under your cool wing feathers 9 From the wicked who are out to get me, from mortal enemies closing in. 10 Their hearts are hard as nails, their mouths blast hot air. 11 They are after me, nipping my heels, determined to bring me down, 12 Lions ready to rip me apart, young lions poised to pounce. 13 Up, God: beard them! break them! By your sword, free me from their clutches; 14 Barehanded, God, break these mortals, these flat-earth people who can't think beyond today. I'd like to see their bellies swollen with famine food, The weeds they've sown harvested and baked into famine bread, With second helpings for their children and crusts for their babies to chew on. 15 And me? I plan on looking you full in the face. When I get up, I'll see your full stature and live heaven on earth.
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.
1 God, for your sake, help me! Use your influence to clear me. 2 Listen, God - I'm desperate. Don't be too busy to hear me. 3 Outlaws are out to get me, hit men are trying to kill me. Nothing will stop them; God means nothing to them. 4 Oh, look! God's right here helping! God's on my side, 5 Evil is looping back on my enemies. Don't let up! Finish them off! 6 I'm ready now to worship, so ready. I thank you, God - you're so good. 7 You got me out of every scrape, and I saw my enemies get it.
1 God - you're my God! I can't get enough of you! I've worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts. 2 So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory. 3 In your generous love I am really living at last! My lips brim praises like fountains. 4 I bless you every time I take a breath; My arms wave like banners of praise to you. 5 I eat my fill of prime rib and gravy; I smack my lips. It's time to shout praises! 6 If I'm sleepless at midnight, I spend the hours in grateful reflection. 7 Because you've always stood up for me, I'm free to run and play. 8 I hold on to you for dear life, and you hold me steady as a post. 9 Those who are out to get me are marked for doom, marked for death, bound for hell. 10 They'll die violent deaths; jackals will tear them limb from limb. 11 But the king is glad in God; his true friends spread the joy, While small-minded gossips are gagged for good.
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