5 Psalms a Day: Psalm 81-85

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Psalm 81

God’s Appeal to Stubborn Israel

To the leader: according to The Gittith. Of Asaph.
Sing aloud to God our strength;
   shout for joy to the God of Jacob.
Raise a song, sound the tambourine,
   the sweet lyre with the harp.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
   at the full moon, on our festal day.
For it is a statute for Israel,
   an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
He made it a decree in Joseph,
   when he went out over the land of Egypt.


I hear a voice I had not known:
‘I relieved your shoulder of the burden;
   your hands were freed from the basket.
In distress you called, and I rescued you;
   I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
   I tested you at the waters of Meribah.
          Selah
Hear, O my people, while I admonish you;
   O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
There shall be no strange god among you;
   you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
I am the Lord your God,
   who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
   Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.


‘But my people did not listen to my voice;
   Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
   to follow their own counsels.
O that my people would listen to me,
   that Israel would walk in my ways!
Then I would quickly subdue their enemies,
   and turn my hand against their foes.
Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him,
   and their doom would last for ever.
I would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
   and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.’

Psalm 82

A Plea for Justice

A Psalm of Asaph.
God has taken his place in the divine council;
   in the midst of the gods he holds judgement:
‘How long will you judge unjustly
   and show partiality to the wicked?
          Selah
Give justice to the weak and the orphan;
   maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
   deliver them from the hand of the wicked.’


They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
   they walk around in darkness;
   all the foundations of the earth are shaken.


I say, ‘You are gods,
   children of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, you shall die like mortals,
   and fall like any prince.’


Rise up, O God, judge the earth;
   for all the nations belong to you!

Psalm 83

Prayer for Judgement on Israel’s Foes

A Song. A Psalm of Asaph.
O God, do not keep silence;
   do not hold your peace or be still, O God!
Even now your enemies are in tumult;
   those who hate you have raised their heads.
They lay crafty plans against your people;
   they consult together against those you protect.
They say, ‘Come, let us wipe them out as a nation;
   let the name of Israel be remembered no more.’
They conspire with one accord;
   against you they make a covenant—
the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,
   Moab and the Hagrites,
Gebal and Ammon and Amalek,
   Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
Assyria also has joined them;
   they are the strong arm of the children of Lot.
          Selah


Do to them as you did to Midian,
   as to Sisera and Jabin at the Wadi Kishon,
who were destroyed at En-dor,
   who became dung for the ground.
Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb,
   all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
who said, ‘Let us take the pastures of God
   for our own possession.’


O my God, make them like whirling dust,
   like chaff before the wind.
As fire consumes the forest,
   as the flame sets the mountains ablaze,
so pursue them with your tempest
   and terrify them with your hurricane.
Fill their faces with shame,
   so that they may seek your name, O Lord.
Let them be put to shame and dismayed for ever;
   let them perish in disgrace.
Let them know that you alone,
   whose name is the Lord,
   are the Most High over all the earth.

Psalm 84

The Joy of Worship in the Temple

To the leader: according to The Gittith. Of the Korahites. A Psalm.
How lovely is your dwelling place,
   O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, indeed it faints
   for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
   to the living God.


Even the sparrow finds a home,
   and the swallow a nest for herself,
   where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
   my King and my God.
Happy are those who live in your house,
   ever singing your praise.
          Selah


Happy are those whose strength is in you,
   in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the valley of Baca
   they make it a place of springs;
   the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
   the God of gods will be seen in Zion.


O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
   give ear, O God of Jacob!
          Selah
Behold our shield, O God;
   look on the face of your anointed.


For a day in your courts is better
   than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
   than live in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
   he bestows favour and honour.
No good thing does the Lord withhold
   from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
   happy is everyone who trusts in you.

Psalm 85

Prayer for the Restoration of God’s Favour

To the leader. Of the Korahites. A Psalm.
Lord, you were favourable to your land;
   you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of your people;
   you pardoned all their sin.
          Selah
You withdrew all your wrath;
   you turned from your hot anger.


Restore us again, O God of our salvation,
   and put away your indignation towards us.
Will you be angry with us for ever?
   Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
Will you not revive us again,
   so that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your steadfast love, O Lord,
   and grant us your salvation.


Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
   for he will speak peace to his people,
   to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him,
   that his glory may dwell in our land.


Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
   righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,
   and righteousness will look down from the sky.
The Lord will give what is good,
   and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him,
   and will make a path for his steps.


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