5 Psalms a Day: Psalm 16-20

photo credit:
A Bremner


Psalm 16

Song of Trust and Security in God

A Miktam of David.
Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord;
   I have no good apart from you.’


As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble,
   in whom is all my delight.


Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;
   their drink-offerings of blood I will not pour out
   or take their names upon my lips.


The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
   you hold my lot.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
   I have a goodly heritage.


I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
   in the night also my heart instructs me.
I keep the Lord always before me;
   because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.


Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
   my body also rests secure.
For you do not give me up to Sheol,
   or let your faithful one see the Pit.


You show me the path of life.
   In your presence there is fullness of joy;
   in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.

Psalm 17

Prayer for Deliverance from Persecutors

A Prayer of David.
Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry;
   give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit.
From you let my vindication come;
   let your eyes see the right.


If you try my heart, if you visit me by night,
   if you test me, you will find no wickedness in me;
   my mouth does not transgress.
As for what others do, by the word of your lips
   I have avoided the ways of the violent.
My steps have held fast to your paths;
   my feet have not slipped.


I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
   incline your ear to me, hear my words.
Wondrously show your steadfast love,
   O saviour of those who seek refuge
   from their adversaries at your right hand.


Guard me as the apple of the eye;
   hide me in the shadow of your wings,
from the wicked who despoil me,
   my deadly enemies who surround me.
They close their hearts to pity;
   with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
They track me down; now they surround me;
   they set their eyes to cast me to the ground.
They are like a lion eager to tear,
   like a young lion lurking in ambush.


Rise up, O Lord, confront them, overthrow them!
   By your sword deliver my life from the wicked,
from mortals—by your hand, O Lord—
   from mortals whose portion in life is in this world.
May their bellies be filled with what you have stored up for them;
   may their children have more than enough;
   may they leave something over to their little ones.


As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
   when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.

Psalm 18

Royal Thanksgiving for Victory

To the leader. A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord, who addressed the words of this song to the Lord on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said:
I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer,
   my God, my rock in whom I take refuge,
   my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
   so I shall be saved from my enemies.


The cords of death encompassed me;
   the torrents of perdition assailed me;
the cords of Sheol entangled me;
   the snares of death confronted me.


In my distress I called upon the Lord;
   to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
   and my cry to him reached his ears.


Then the earth reeled and rocked;
   the foundations also of the mountains trembled
   and quaked, because he was angry.
Smoke went up from his nostrils,
   and devouring fire from his mouth;
   glowing coals flamed forth from him.
He bowed the heavens, and came down;
   thick darkness was under his feet.
He rode on a cherub, and flew;
   he came swiftly upon the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his covering around him,
   his canopy thick clouds dark with water.
Out of the brightness before him
   there broke through his clouds
   hailstones and coals of fire.
The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
   and the Most High uttered his voice.
And he sent out his arrows, and scattered them;
   he flashed forth lightnings, and routed them.
Then the channels of the sea were seen,
   and the foundations of the world were laid bare
at your rebuke, O Lord,
   at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.


He reached down from on high, he took me;
   he drew me out of mighty waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
   and from those who hated me;
   for they were too mighty for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity;
   but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a broad place;
   he delivered me, because he delighted in me.


The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness;
   according to the cleanness of my hands he recompensed me.
For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
   and have not wickedly departed from my God.
For all his ordinances were before me,
   and his statutes I did not put away from me.
I was blameless before him,
   and I kept myself from guilt.
Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
   according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.


With the loyal you show yourself loyal;
   with the blameless you show yourself blameless;
with the pure you show yourself pure;
   and with the crooked you show yourself perverse.
For you deliver a humble people,
   but the haughty eyes you bring down.
It is you who light my lamp;
   the Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.
By you I can crush a troop,
   and by my God I can leap over a wall.
This God—his way is perfect;
   the promise of the Lord proves true;
   he is a shield for all who take refuge in him.


For who is God except the Lord?
   And who is a rock besides our God?—
the God who girded me with strength,
   and made my way safe.
He made my feet like the feet of a deer,
   and set me secure on the heights.
He trains my hands for war,
   so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You have given me the shield of your salvation,
   and your right hand has supported me;
   your help has made me great.
You gave me a wide place for my steps under me,
   and my feet did not slip.
I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
   and did not turn back until they were consumed.
I struck them down, so that they were not able to rise;
   they fell under my feet.
For you girded me with strength for the battle;
   you made my assailants sink under me.
You made my enemies turn their backs to me,
   and those who hated me I destroyed.
They cried for help, but there was no one to save them;
   they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them.
I beat them fine, like dust before the wind;
   I cast them out like the mire of the streets.


You delivered me from strife with the peoples;
   you made me head of the nations;
   people whom I had not known served me.
As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me;
   foreigners came cringing to me.
Foreigners lost heart,
   and came trembling out of their strongholds.


The Lord lives! Blessed be my rock,
   and exalted be the God of my salvation,
the God who gave me vengeance
   and subdued peoples under me;
who delivered me from my enemies;
   indeed, you exalted me above my adversaries;
   you delivered me from the violent.


For this I will extol you, O Lord, among the nations,
   and sing praises to your name.
Great triumphs he gives to his king,
   and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
   to David and his descendants for ever.

Psalm 19

God’s Glory in Creation and the Law

To the leader. A Psalm of David.
The heavens are telling the glory of God;
   and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech,
   and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
   their voice is not heard;
yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
   and their words to the end of the world.


In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
   and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
   and its circuit to the end of them;
   and nothing is hidden from its heat.


The law of the Lord is perfect,
   reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
   making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
   rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
   enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is pure,
   enduring for ever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true
   and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
   even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
   and drippings of the honeycomb.


Moreover by them is your servant warned;
   in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can detect their errors?
   Clear me from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from the insolent;
   do not let them have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
   and innocent of great transgression.


Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
   be acceptable to you,
   O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 20

Prayer for Victory

To the leader. A Psalm of David.
The Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
   The name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from the sanctuary,
   and give you support from Zion.
May he remember all your offerings,
   and regard with favour your burnt sacrifices.
          Selah


May he grant you your heart’s desire,
   and fulfil all your plans.
May we shout for joy over your victory,
   and in the name of our God set up our banners.
May the Lord fulfil all your petitions.


Now I know that the Lord will help his anointed;
   he will answer him from his holy heaven
   with mighty victories by his right hand.
Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,
   but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.
They will collapse and fall,
   but we shall rise and stand upright.


Give victory to the king, O Lord;
   answer us when we call.


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