5 Psalms a Day: Psalm 46-50

Photo credit: NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research LaboratoryFoll

Psalm 46

God’s Defence of His City and People

To the leader. Of the Korahites. According to Alamoth. A Song.
God is our refuge and strength,
   a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
   though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
   though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
          Selah


There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
   the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
   God will help it when the morning dawns.
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
   he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
   the God of Jacob is our refuge.
          Selah


Come, behold the works of the Lord;
   see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
   he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
   he burns the shields with fire.
‘Be still, and know that I am God!
   I am exalted among the nations,
   I am exalted in the earth.’
The Lord of hosts is with us;
   the God of Jacob is our refuge.
          Selah

Psalm 47

God’s Rule over the Nations

To the leader. Of the Korahites. A Psalm.
Clap your hands, all you peoples;
   shout to God with loud songs of joy.
For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome,
   a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us,
   and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us,
   the pride of Jacob whom he loves.
          Selah


God has gone up with a shout,
   the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
   sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the king of all the earth;
   sing praises with a psalm.


God is king over the nations;
   God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather
   as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
   he is highly exalted.

Psalm 48

The Glory and Strength of Zion

A Song. A Psalm of the Korahites.
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised
   in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation,
   is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north,
   the city of the great King.
Within its citadels God
   has shown himself a sure defence.


Then the kings assembled,
   they came on together.
As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;
   they were in panic, they took to flight;
trembling took hold of them there,
   pains as of a woman in labour,
as when an east wind shatters
   the ships of Tarshish.
As we have heard, so have we seen
   in the city of the Lord of hosts,
in the city of our God,
   which God establishes for ever.
          Selah


We ponder your steadfast love, O God,
   in the midst of your temple.
Your name, O God, like your praise,
   reaches to the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is filled with victory.
   Let Mount Zion be glad,
let the towns of Judah rejoice
   because of your judgements.


Walk about Zion, go all around it,
   count its towers,
consider well its ramparts;
   go through its citadels,
that you may tell the next generation
   that this is God,
our God for ever and ever.
   He will be our guide for ever.

Psalm 49

The Folly of Trust in Riches

To the leader. Of the Korahites. A Psalm.
Hear this, all you peoples;
   give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
both low and high,
   rich and poor together.
My mouth shall speak wisdom;
   the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
I will incline my ear to a proverb;
   I will solve my riddle to the music of the harp.


Why should I fear in times of trouble,
   when the iniquity of my persecutors surrounds me,
those who trust in their wealth
   and boast of the abundance of their riches?
Truly, no ransom avails for one’s life,
   there is no price one can give to God for it.
For the ransom of life is costly,
   and can never suffice,
that one should live on for ever
   and never see the grave.


When we look at the wise, they die;
   fool and dolt perish together
   and leave their wealth to others.
Their graves are their homes for ever,
   their dwelling-places to all generations,
   though they named lands their own.
Mortals cannot abide in their pomp;
   they are like the animals that perish.


Such is the fate of the foolhardy,
   the end of those who are pleased with their lot.
          Selah
Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol;
   Death shall be their shepherd;
straight to the grave they descend,
   and their form shall waste away;
   Sheol shall be their home.
But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,
   for he will receive me.
          Selah


Do not be afraid when some become rich,
   when the wealth of their houses increases.
For when they die they will carry nothing away;
   their wealth will not go down after them.
Though in their lifetime they count themselves happy
   —for you are praised when you do well for yourself—
they will go to the company of their ancestors,
   who will never again see the light.
Mortals cannot abide in their pomp;
   they are like the animals that perish.

Psalm 50

The Acceptable Sacrifice

A Psalm of Asaph.
The mighty one, God the Lord,
   speaks and summons the earth
   from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
   God shines forth.


Our God comes and does not keep silence,
   before him is a devouring fire,
   and a mighty tempest all around him.
He calls to the heavens above
   and to the earth, that he may judge his people:
‘Gather to me my faithful ones,
   who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!’
The heavens declare his righteousness,
   for God himself is judge.
          Selah


‘Hear, O my people, and I will speak,
   O Israel, I will testify against you.
   I am God, your God.
Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
   your burnt-offerings are continually before me.
I will not accept a bull from your house,
   or goats from your folds.
For every wild animal of the forest is mine,
   the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the air,
   and all that moves in the field is mine.


‘If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
   for the world and all that is in it is mine.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls,
   or drink the blood of goats?
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
   and pay your vows to the Most High.
Call on me in the day of trouble;
   I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.’


But to the wicked God says:
   ‘What right have you to recite my statutes,
   or take my covenant on your lips?
For you hate discipline,
   and you cast my words behind you.
You make friends with a thief when you see one,
   and you keep company with adulterers.


‘You give your mouth free rein for evil,
   and your tongue frames deceit.
You sit and speak against your kin;
   you slander your own mother’s child.
These things you have done and I have been silent;
   you thought that I was one just like yourself.
But now I rebuke you, and lay the charge before you.


‘Mark this, then, you who forget God,
   or I will tear you apart, and there will be no one to deliver.
Those who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice honour me;
   to those who go the right way
   I will show the salvation of God.’


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