Psalm 149

danceHallelujah!  Sing a new song to the Lord, ye saints!
Rejoice in Adonai, your Maker, bless the Lord, your King
Praise His name in song and dance, with tambourine and harp
The Lord takes pleasure in His people, let your voices ring!

Sing for joy ye humble saints, adorned with saving grace
Relish the glory He bestows, sing as you lie in bed
Recite His praises with your lips, lift up your joyful song
Prepare your swords for battle, o’er the wicked you will tread.

To execute God’s judgment on the nations is your call
The punishment He has decreed earth’s nobles can’t forestall
You’ll bind their kings in irons and chains, their fate on them will fall
This is His saints great privilege so praise Him above all.

© J Dan Small

Psalm 119 – ס Samekh

Hiding-placeSê·‘ă·p̄îm, double-minded, I surely detest
but I love Your law, to its virtues attest.

Since You are my shield and my safe hiding-place
I hope in Your word and its truths I embrace.

Scram!  Take your sick minds and go far, far away
I obey God, from His word will not stray.

Support me, stand by me, Your promise fulfill
do not crush my hopes, let me live if You will.

Sustain me and save me, deliver from death
I’ll ponder Your precepts until my last breath.

Scoundrels and fools, You reject all who stray
deceived in their folly they won’t go Your way.

Si·ḡîm, like dross, wicked You skim off the earth
I love Your just ways, will declare their great worth.

Sā·mar, trembling, shaking my flesh is in fear
Your judgments and rulings I know are severe.

© J Dan  Small

Psalm 119 – כ Kaph

desperate-prayerCraving salvation my soul nearly faints
I’ll hope in Your word without any constraints.

Comfort?  Where is it?  Your promise to me?
my eyes fail from searching so diligently.

Kə·nōḏ, like a wineskin in smoke dry and cracked
yet Your laws and Your statutes I will not neglect.

Count the days of Your servant, how long must I wait
‘Till Your judgment my foes will receive as their fate?

Calamity, that’s what the proud plan for me
but none of their thoughts with Your law would agree.

Constant and true Your commands we can trust
protect me from foes whose attacks are unjust.

Close to death they have brought me right up to the brink
yet from Your good precepts I refuse to shrink.

Covenant love must revive and preserve
so the words from Your mouth I can closely observe.

© J Dan Small

Psalm 93 – A Plea for Justice

justiceGod of vengeance, Adonai
Judge of all, please hear our cry
Give the wicked their just due
Quickly punish the proud, too.

How long will their boasting last
And their murderous deeds amass
Widows, orphans, strangers, slay?
‘Gainst Your people, Lord, they prey.

In their insolence they say
Yah can’t see us, won’t repay!”
What? The One who made the ear
You don’t think that He will hear?

Senseless people think they’re wise
Their Creator would despise
God who formed the eye does see
And He soon will instruct thee.

He’ll expose your futile plot
For He knows your every thought.
Nations feel His judgment rod
Now prepare to meet your God.

Blest are those whom You correct
You Your people won’t neglect
From their troubles give relief
Bringing judgment on the thief.

Who’ll protect and defend me?
None, O Lord, there is but Thee
Soon Your justice will prevail
O’er all those who would assail

Had You not come to my aid
I’d be silent in the grave
“I am slipping!” was my plea
Loving Lord, You rescued me.

When my doubts and fears increase
Your sweet presence gives me peace
You bring comfort to my soul
And my anxious thoughts console.

Evil men make unjust laws
Crush the righteous without cause
Innocent blood they would condemn
You, O God, are not with them.

Adonai is by my side
Rock of refuge where I hide
All their guilt He will repay
Cut them off on Judgment Day.

© 2014 J Dan Small

Psalm 78

Plagues2The mighty wonders of our Lord must ne’er forgotten be
So listen closely to these stories from our history
We must not keep the lessons learned from these who come behind
The Lord commanded us to teach them, of His laws remind.

If we are faithful to the task and speak to them the truth
Perhaps, then, they will carry on and share them with their youth
In each new generation born there’s need for stories told
Our children cannot hope or trust if these things we withhold.

We must be honest as we share the things our forebears did
Or they won’t give their hearts to God but do what He forbids
So many times the Lord declared that they must not forget
But stubborn, selfish, rebels always end up with regrets.

The war·ri·ors of E·phra·im, well-armed for battle, fled
They turned their backs and wouldn’t walk in what their God had said
In time of crisis they forgot the wonders God had done
The miracles He had performed and battles He had won.

If only they had called to mind the time He split the Sea
And rocks were split to give them drink by His divine decree
He led His people in the cloud, at night the fire glowed
His mighty hand protected them, deliverance bestowed.

But, no, they put God to the test and doubted that He cared
Denying that the Lord Most High a table had prepared
“Oh, sure,” they said, “He struck the rock and waters He made flow
But what about some bread and meat, we need real food, you know?”

He heard the people murmuring, His anger rose up high
He gave them lots of bread and meat and then caused some to die
He gave them what their heart’s desired and they ate angel’s bread
But still refusing to believe, they chose to sin instead.

When life got really hard for them they finally sought God
Their lips declared Him as their Rock but it was all a fraud
They lied and did not want His ways, His covenant denied
Over and o’er they turned aside, God’s patience sorely tried.

Yet in His mercy He forgave and didn’t wipe them out
Remembering that they were dust, He put up with their doubt
So often in the wilderness they grieved His father-heart
Why would they not recall the past and from their sin depart.

He saw their troubled life as slaves in Egypt long ago
With ten dread plagues He set them free, His mighty pow’r did show
Rivers and streams were turned to blood and flies were everywhere
The frogs and locusts took their turn and hailstones caused despair.

Then, finally, the cup was full, destroying angels sent
In each Egyptian home that night, much wailing and lament
The firstborn son, the flow’r of youth, throughout th’ entire land
Had felt the mightiest force of all, the Lord’s all-pow’rful hand.

But His own people, like a flock of sheep were led away
He brought them to the Promised Land where they could safely stay
But unbelief was in their blood, they could not faithful stay
They worshiped idols, raised up shrines, their hearts had gone astray.

So God again rejected them, His glory from Shiloh gone
The ark was captured, swords consumed, God’s blessing was withdrawn
Young men and women slaughtered long before their nuptial songs
The priests and people also killed in judgment for their wrongs.

But then the Lord awoke from sleep and drove the foes away
And settled on Mt. Zion as the place where He would stay
On Judah’s heights His Temple built, a solid dwelling-place
The object of His special love where we could seek His face.

Then to the sheepfolds He did go, a shepherd there to seek
He wanted one who cared for those who wandered or were weak
His servant David He did choose to lead His chosen race
With skillful hand and honest heart he shepherded with grace.

© 2014 J Dan Small

Psalm 76

In Judah God is known
In Israel great His name
Jerusalem His throne
From Zion spreads His fame.

The weapons of our foes
Sharp arrows, swords, & shields
Lay broken and disposed
Scattered across the fields.

Majestic are You, Lord
Like lofty mountain heights
Their brave and mighty horde
Have lost their final fight.

With one rebuking breath
The horse and rider fell
Cast down in sleep of death
The grave is where they dwell.

In stillness and in fear
The earth before You bows
When they Your judgment hear
Your wrath has been aroused.

In judgment You will standJudgment
And rescue the oppressed
When You make Your demands
Man’s wrath is then suppressed.

Man’s temper even serves
Your glory to enhance
Bring God what He deserves
With tributes now advance.

Make vows unto the Lord
And keep them without fail
He breaks the princes sword
All kings before him hail.

© 2014 J Dan Small

Psalm 75

Cup-of-JudgmentWe give thanks to our God who is near
His good works we tell all who will hear
Tho earth shakes He will make it stand firm
He, with justice, will bring it to term.

The Judge thunders His warnings aloud:
“Hear me now all you boastful and proud
Who raise fists in defiance toward Me
Who is Judge? You just wait and you’ll see.”

“You think that your greatness and worth
Comes from nations around you on earth”
But our God, the true Judge, holds the crown
It is He who exalts or takes down.

Adonai has prepared a strong cup
From which all of the wicked must sup
Foaming wine mixed with spices of doom
He will make them its contents consume.

As for me, I will sing out God’s praise
And declare all His marvelous ways
He has promised to judge wickedness
While the godly He surely will bless.

© 2014 J Dan Small

Psalm 73

slippery-slopeI know that God is good to us, to all whose hearts are pure
But as for me I almost slipped, my footholds were obscure
It started when I noticed that the wicked had it best
It seemed they got their every wish and never were distressed
Such easy, healthy, prosp’rous lives, in spite of pride and vice
They scoff at heaven, mock what’s right, deny they’ll pay the price
“God doesn’t know or doesn’t care,” they boast in all their ease
Pursuing all their wanton lusts, they do whate’er they please.

But what do I get in return for efforts to do right?
Is it in vain I try so hard to stay pure in Your sight?
Both day and night my life is pressed by troubles, pains, and grief
E’en though I strive for innocence, I never get relief
I dare not utter these complaints betraying what is true
I would not want to undermine Your people’s trust in You
I set myself to understand the reason it was so
But my best efforts were in vain, I simply didn’t know.

Then finally I took my case into God’s sanctuary
And there discovered that His judgment on them would not tarry
Their feet are on a slipp’ry slope and they will surely fall
So suddenly their end will come, fate nothing can forestall
The Lord awakes and laughs at all their proud imaginations
Like morning mist will disappear their dreams and aspirations
On seeing this I re’lized just how senseless and shortsighted
My bitter, anxious, envious thoughts my attitude had blighted.

You never have let go of me, You hold me by the hand
You guide me with Your counsel, helping me to understand
My destiny in You is sure, Your glory I will share
There is no one in heav’n or earth with whom I can compare
My mind and body, they may fail, but You will faithful be
Whereas all those who stray from You, Your judgment soon will see
My God is always by my side, how good to know He’s there
A refuge is the Lord my God, His works I will declare.

© 2014 J Dan Small

Psalm 58

Travesty! Rulers of the earth, judges of mankind
Silence? How can you not see that justice is maligned?

Violence! You conjure up more ways to inflict pain
Heartless! Evil the path you choose for increased gain.

Depraved! As soon as you are born you’re speaking lies
Venemous! Skilled charmers can’t prevent what you devise.

O God, avenge, break out these lion’s fangs
Disable all the weapons of these gangs
Cause them to disappear for all their crime
Like slugs reduce their essence into slime
May they, like stillborn infants, take no breath
Your burning wrath consume them unto death.

Avenged! The godly will rejoice to see your end
Relieved! They’ll triumph in the blood of wicked men.

Proclaim: Reward the righteous is what God designed
Declare: He is a God who judges all mankind.

© 2014 J Dan Small