SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
70:1 For the music director, by David; written to get God’s attention.
O God, please be willing to rescue me.
O Lord, hurry and help me.
2 May those who are trying to take my life
be embarrassed and ashamed.
May those who want to harm me
be turned back and ashamed.
3 May those who say, “Aha! Aha!”
be driven back and disgraced.
4 May all those who seek you be happy and rejoice in you.
May those who love to experience your deliverance say continually,
“May God be praised!”
5 I am oppressed and needy.
O God, hurry to me.
You are my helper and my deliverer.
O Lord, do not delay.
71:1 In you, O Lord, I have taken shelter.
Never let me be humiliated.
2 Vindicate me by rescuing me.
Listen to me. Deliver me.
3 Be my protector and refuge,
a stronghold where I can be safe.
For you are my high ridge and my stronghold.
4 My God, rescue me from the power of the wicked,
from the hand of the cruel oppressor.
5 For you are my hope;
O Sovereign Lord, I have trusted in you since I was young.
6 I have leaned on you since birth;
you pulled me from my mother’s womb.
I praise you continually.
7 Many are appalled when they see me,
but you are my secure shelter.
8 I praise you constantly
and speak of your splendor all day long.
9 Do not reject me in my old age.
When my strength fails, do not abandon me.
10 For my enemies talk about me;
those waiting for a chance to kill me plot my demise.
11 They say, “God has abandoned him.
Run and seize him, for there is no one who will rescue him.”
12 O God, do not remain far away from me.
My God, hurry and help me.
13 May my accusers be humiliated and defeated.
May those who want to harm me be covered with scorn and disgrace.
14 As for me, I will wait continually,
and will continue to praise you.
15 I will tell about your justice,
and all day long proclaim your salvation,
though I cannot fathom its full extent.
16 I will come and tell about the mighty acts of the Sovereign Lord.
I will proclaim your justice—yours alone.
17 O God, you have taught me since I was young,
and I am still declaring your amazing deeds.
18 Even when I am old and gray,
O God, do not abandon me,
until I tell the next generation about your strength
and those coming after me about your power.
19 Your justice, O God, extends to the skies above;
you have done great things.
O God, who can compare to you?
20 Though you have allowed me to experience much trouble and distress,
revive me once again.
Bring me up once again from the depths of the earth.
21 Raise me to a position of great honor.
Turn and comfort me.
22 I will express my thanks to you with a stringed instrument,
praising your faithfulness, O my God.
I will sing praises to you accompanied by a harp,
O Holy One of Israel.
23 My lips will shout for joy. Yes, I will sing your praises.
I will praise you when you rescue me.
24 All day long my tongue will also tell about your justice,
for those who want to harm me will be embarrassed and ashamed.
72:1 For Solomon.
O God, grant the king the ability to make just decisions.
Grant the king’s son the ability to make fair decisions.
2 Then he will judge your people fairly
and your oppressed ones equitably.
3 The mountains will bring news of peace to the people,
and the hills will announce justice.
4 He will defend the oppressed among the people;
he will deliver the children of the poor
and crush the oppressor.
5 People will fear you as long as the sun and moon remain in the sky,
for generation after generation.
6 He will descend like rain on the mown grass,
like showers that drench the earth.
7 During his days the godly will flourish;
peace will prevail as long as the moon remains in the sky.
8 May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth.
9 Before him the coastlands will bow down,
and his enemies will lick the dust.
10 The kings of Tarshish and the coastlands will offer gifts;
the kings of Sheba and Seba will bring tribute.
11 All kings will bow down to him;
all nations will serve him.
12 For he will rescue the needy when they cry out for help,
and the oppressed who have no defender.
13 He will take pity on the poor and needy;
the lives of the needy he will save.
14 From harm and violence he will defend them;
he will value their lives.
15 May he live! May they offer him gold from Sheba.
May they continually pray for him.
May they pronounce blessings on him all day long.
16 May there be an abundance of grain in the earth;
on the tops of the mountains may it sway.
May its fruit trees flourish like the forests of Lebanon.
May its crops be as abundant as the grass of the earth.
17 May his fame endure.
May his dynasty last as long as the sun remains in the sky.
May they use his name when they formulate their blessings.
May all nations consider him to be favored by God.
18 The Lord God, the God of Israel, deserves praise.
He alone accomplishes amazing things.
19 His glorious name deserves praise forevermore.
May his majestic splendor fill the whole earth.
We agree! We agree!
20 This collection of the prayers of David son of Jesse ends here.
73:1 A psalm by Asaph.
Certainly God is good to Israel,
and to those whose motives are pure.
2 But as for me, my feet almost slipped;
my feet almost slid out from under me.
3 For I envied those who are proud,
as I observed the prosperity of the wicked.
4 For they suffer no pain;
their bodies are strong and well fed.
5 They are immune to the trouble common to men;
they do not suffer as other men do.
6 Arrogance is their necklace,
and violence covers them like clothing.
7 Their prosperity causes them to do wrong;
their thoughts are sinful.
8 They mock and say evil things;
they proudly threaten violence.
9 They speak as if they rule in heaven,
and lay claim to the earth.
10 Therefore they have more than enough food to eat
and even suck up the water of the sea.
11 They say, “How does God know what we do?
Is the Most High aware of what goes on?”
12 Take a good look. This is what the wicked are like,
those who always have it so easy and get richer and richer.
13 I concluded, “Surely in vain I have kept my motives pure
and maintained a pure lifestyle.
14 I suffer all day long
and am punished every morning.”
15 If I had publicized these thoughts,
I would have betrayed your people.
16 When I tried to make sense of this,
it was troubling to me.
17 Then I entered the precincts of God’s temple
and understood the destiny of the wicked.
18 Surely you put them in slippery places;
you bring them down to ruin.
19 How desolate they become in a mere moment.
Terrifying judgments make their demise complete.
20 They are like a dream after one wakes up.
O Lord, when you awake you will despise them.
21 Yes, my spirit was bitter,
and my insides felt sharp pain.
22 I was ignorant and lacked insight;
I was as senseless as an animal before you.
23 But I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me by your wise advice,
and then you will lead me to a position of honor.
25 Whom do I have in heaven but you?
On earth there is no one I desire but you.
26 My flesh and my heart may grow weak,
but God always protects my heart and gives me stability.
27 Yes, look! Those far from you die;
you destroy everyone who is unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, God’s presence is all I need.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
as I declare all the things you have done.