5 Psalms a Day: Psalm 86-90

Photo credit: Ozzy Delaney

Psalm 86

Supplication for Help against Enemies

A Prayer of David.
Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
   for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you;
   save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; be gracious to me, O Lord,
   for to you do I cry all day long.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
   for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
   abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
   listen to my cry of supplication.
In the day of my trouble I call on you,
   for you will answer me.


There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
   nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
   and bow down before you, O Lord,
   and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wondrous things;
   you alone are God.
Teach me your way, O Lord,
   that I may walk in your truth;
   give me an undivided heart to revere your name.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
   and I will glorify your name for ever.
For great is your steadfast love towards me;
   you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.


O God, the insolent rise up against me;
   a band of ruffians seeks my life,
   and they do not set you before them.
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
   slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Turn to me and be gracious to me;
   give your strength to your servant;
   save the child of your serving-maid.
Show me a sign of your favour,
   so that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame,
   because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

Psalm 87

The Joy of Living in Zion

Of the Korahites. A Psalm. A Song.
On the holy mount stands the city he founded;
   the Lord loves the gates of Zion
   more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are spoken of you,
   O city of God.
          Selah


Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon;
   Philistia too, and Tyre, with Ethiopia
   ‘This one was born there,’ they say.


And of Zion it shall be said,
   ‘This one and that one were born in it’;
   for the Most High himself will establish it.
The Lord records, as he registers the peoples,
   ‘This one was born there.’
          Selah


Singers and dancers alike say,
   ‘All my springs are in you.’

Psalm 88

Prayer for Help in Despondency

A Song. A Psalm of the Korahites. To the leader: according to Mahalath Leannoth. A Maskil of Heman the Ezrahite.
O Lord, God of my salvation,
   when, at night, I cry out in your presence,
let my prayer come before you;
   incline your ear to my cry.


For my soul is full of troubles,
   and my life draws near to Sheol.
I am counted among those who go down to the Pit;
   I am like those who have no help,
like those forsaken among the dead,
   like the slain that lie in the grave,
like those whom you remember no more,
   for they are cut off from your hand.
You have put me in the depths of the Pit,
   in the regions dark and deep.
Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
   and you overwhelm me with all your waves.
          Selah


You have caused my companions to shun me;
   you have made me a thing of horror to them.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
   my eye grows dim through sorrow.
Every day I call on you, O Lord;
   I spread out my hands to you.
Do you work wonders for the dead?
   Do the shades rise up to praise you?
          Selah
Is your steadfast love declared in the grave,
   or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
Are your wonders known in the darkness,
   or your saving help in the land of forgetfulness?


But I, O Lord, cry out to you;
   in the morning my prayer comes before you.
O Lord, why do you cast me off?
   Why do you hide your face from me?
Wretched and close to death from my youth up,
   I suffer your terrors; I am desperate.
Your wrath has swept over me;
   your dread assaults destroy me.
They surround me like a flood all day long;
   from all sides they close in on me.
You have caused friend and neighbour to shun me;
   my companions are in darkness.

Psalm 89

God’s Covenant with David

A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.
I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, for ever;
   with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.
I declare that your steadfast love is established for ever;
   your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.


You said, ‘I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
   I have sworn to my servant David:
“I will establish your descendants for ever,
   and build your throne for all generations.” ’
          Selah


Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord,
   your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord?
   Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord,
a God feared in the council of the holy ones,
   great and awesome above all that are around him?
O Lord God of hosts,
   who is as mighty as you, O Lord?
   Your faithfulness surrounds you.
You rule the raging of the sea;
   when its waves rise, you still them.
You crushed Rahab like a carcass;
   you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
The heavens are yours, the earth also is yours;
   the world and all that is in it—you have founded them.
The north and the south—you created them;
   Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name.
You have a mighty arm;
   strong is your hand, high your right hand.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
   steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
Happy are the people who know the festal shout,
   who walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance;
they exult in your name all day long,
   and extol your righteousness.
For you are the glory of their strength;
   by your favour our horn is exalted.
For our shield belongs to the Lord,
   our king to the Holy One of Israel.


Then you spoke in a vision to your faithful one, and said:
   ‘I have set the crown on one who is mighty,
   I have exalted one chosen from the people.
I have found my servant David;
   with my holy oil I have anointed him;
my hand shall always remain with him;
   my arm also shall strengthen him.
The enemy shall not outwit him,
   the wicked shall not humble him.
I will crush his foes before him
   and strike down those who hate him.
My faithfulness and steadfast love shall be with him;
   and in my name his horn shall be exalted.
I will set his hand on the sea
   and his right hand on the rivers.
He shall cry to me, “You are my Father,
   my God, and the Rock of my salvation!”
I will make him the firstborn,
   the highest of the kings of the earth.
For-ever I will keep my steadfast love for him,
   and my covenant with him will stand firm.
I will establish his line for ever,
   and his throne as long as the heavens endure.
If his children forsake my law
   and do not walk according to my ordinances,
if they violate my statutes
   and do not keep my commandments,
then I will punish their transgression with the rod
   and their iniquity with scourges;
but I will not remove from him my steadfast love,
   or be false to my faithfulness.
I will not violate my covenant,
   or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
Once and for all I have sworn by my holiness;
   I will not lie to David.
His line shall continue for ever,
   and his throne endure before me like the sun.
It shall be established for ever like the moon,
   an enduring witness in the skies.’
          Selah


But now you have spurned and rejected him;
   you are full of wrath against your anointed.
You have renounced the covenant with your servant;
   you have defiled his crown in the dust.
You have broken through all his walls;
   you have laid his strongholds in ruins.
All who pass by plunder him;
   he has become the scorn of his neighbours.
You have exalted the right hand of his foes;
   you have made all his enemies rejoice.
Moreover, you have turned back the edge of his sword,
   and you have not supported him in battle.
You have removed the sceptre from his hand,
   and hurled his throne to the ground.
You have cut short the days of his youth;
   you have covered him with shame.
          Selah


How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself for ever?
   How long will your wrath burn like fire?
Remember how short my time is—
   for what vanity you have created all mortals!
Who can live and never see death?
   Who can escape the power of Sheol?
          Selah


Lord, where is your steadfast love of old,
   which by your faithfulness you swore to David?
Remember, O Lord, how your servant is taunted;
   how I bear in my bosom the insults of the peoples,
with which your enemies taunt, O Lord,
   with which they taunted the footsteps of your anointed.


Blessed be the Lord for ever.Amen and Amen.


BOOK IV

(Psalms 90-106)


Psalm 90

God’s Eternity and Human Frailty

A Prayer of Moses, the man of God.
Lord, you have been our dwelling-place
   in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
   or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
   from everlasting to everlasting you are God.


You turn us back to dust,
   and say, ‘Turn back, you mortals.’
For a thousand years in your sight
   are like yesterday when it is past,
   or like a watch in the night.


You sweep them away; they are like a dream,
   like grass that is renewed in the morning;
in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
   in the evening it fades and withers.


For we are consumed by your anger;
   by your wrath we are overwhelmed.
You have set our iniquities before you,
   our secret sins in the light of your countenance.


For all our days pass away under your wrath;
   our years come to an end like a sigh.
The days of our life are seventy years,
   or perhaps eighty, if we are strong;
even then their span is only toil and trouble;
   they are soon gone, and we fly away.


Who considers the power of your anger?
   Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due to you.
So teach us to count our days
   that we may gain a wise heart.


Turn, O Lord! How long?
   Have compassion on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
   so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
   and for as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be manifest to your servants,
   and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us,
   and prosper for us the work of our hands—
   O prosper the work of our hands!


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