The Foundation of Worship

Christ commands we listen, learn:
with his Spirit’s help discern
as we read his Word divine,
good instructions that refine
how we live and think and talk –
Christian character and walk.

Listening to those called to preach,
glad to learn – God’s Word they teach,
opening up the thrust and meaning,
and the Author’s will revealing.

That’s where worshipping must start:
attentive ear and humble heart.


Brother Israel was successful,
blessed and strong was Jacob’s race;
but frustrated Edom’s malice
festered: they did not seek grace.
But the Kingdom is Jehovah’s
– he who sees and will repay.
Holy is the church and people
he redeems for that great day

Violence, gloating at disaster,
and withholding helping hand,
robbing, looting vanquished Judah,
vile to those who fled their land.

‘Who can bring me down?’ – the LORD can.
Pride deceives – he’ll make you small;
friends will trap, and wise men fail you,
warriors won’t prevent your fall.

God can stop the strongest armies; –
he releases, and restrains.
They who drink ungodly pleasures,
drink the judgement he ordains.

Day of God draws near, consuming
fire his foes will have to face
if they’re not transformed, made faithful,
while it’s still the Day of grace.

Spacious, peaceful is God’s kingdom
for the faithful of the LORD:
stable leaders fed with Scripture
to the world will take his Word.
But the Kingdom is Jehovah’s
– he who sees and will repay.
Holy is the church and people
he redeems for that great day

About the Psalm Notes

These are not intended as paraphrases, or particularly to be sung. They are notes of what I have found helpful to remember as I start to read the Psalm, summarising (as learned from study sources) what seems to be the main message(s), and guiding through difficult parts.

Even when I have studied a Psalm with a commentary, or heard it explained in a Bible Study or sermon, I easily get bogged down when I start again reading it on my own, and find a very brief note like this helps steer my way, keeps the main thread in my mind, or the points I have found useful to bear in mind, as I read. Maybe something like this would also encourage on to the reading of Christian commentary or Bible study notes, and particularly to the personal reading of the Psalm itself.

on Psalms 1-50

These are not intended as paraphrases, or particularly to be sung. They are notes of what I have found helpful to remember as I start to read the Psalm, summarising (as learned from study sources) what seems to be the main message(s), and guiding through difficult parts.

Even when I have studied a Psalm with a commentary, or heard it explained in a Bible Study or sermon, I easily get bogged down when I start again reading it on my own, and find a very brief note like this helps steer my way, keeps the main thread in my mind, or the points I have found useful to bear in mind, as I read. Maybe something like this would also encourage on to the reading of Christian commentary or Bible study notes, and particularly to the personal reading of the Psalm itself.

on Psalm 1
Who is really happy?
He must needs be strong
to stand against the foolish throng
pressing on in doing wrong.

Who is really happy?
He delights to read
in God’s Word to daily feed,
meditates, desires to heed.

Who is really happy?
bringing forth good fruit,
in the living God his root,
fresh for ever, prosperous shoot.

Who is really happy?
not the wicked blown, –
empty, vain, soon judgment known.
Owned by God, his joy we own.

Who is really happy?
Jesus counts us righteous
if we live by faith so precious, –
he’ll protect us, guide, watch over us.

on Psalm 2
Why do the nations rage,
why is the LORD defied?
Why do they plot in vain, and cast
his perfect laws aside?
Leaders in every land,
resisting Christ’s command;
people of various views unite,
rejecting truth and light.

God in his heaven laughs:
unhindered, unperturbed;
yet he rebukes, in anger warns –
mankind should be disturbed:
he has installed his King,
justice and grace to bring:
wonderful Christ fulfils his plan
unscathed by schemes of man.

Eternal Son divine,
presented on his throne,
loving his Father, and beloved:
the world is his to own,
ruling in holiness,
mercy and righteousness:
like china shattered by a rod,
fools will be judged by God.

Be wise, and truly pray,
repent and humbly bow;
kings, come enlist to serve the LORD,
and kiss the Saviour now.
Rebels, accept his law,
tremble, rejoice, adore.
Hurry! there’s refuge in the Son,
eternal bliss begun!

on Psalm 3
In times of special trouble,
when enemies abound,
when faith is mocked and challenged
by people all around,
God my only glory,
a saving shield, who spoils
the weapons, teeth that threaten;
– their frightening schemes he foils.

‘O LORD, arise, deliver’,
– cry to your God, and he
will always hear and answer:
he keeps and comforts me;
he lifts my head, gives boldness,
and joy in all his grace;
I sleep in peace, though thousands
of foes surround this place.

on Psalm 4

God is righteous,
Hear, be gracious when I call.

Foolishness to turn from glory,
to the shame that follows lies.
God has set apart the godly,
– walk in grace that Christ supplies.

People all around are asking,
“Who can show us any good?”
Many don’t seek God, – they’re risking
all, his ways misunderstood.

‘Let your light of revelation
(truth and love and mercy’s way)
shine, enlighten, bring salvation,
teach and guide us day by day.

‘You have filled my heart with greater
joy, than when their wine abounds;
deeper, lasting joy, and better,
– safe whate’er distress confounds.’

on Psalm 5
Bring your prayer, your words, your sighing,
bring your cry for aid,
to your King, your God, with worship:
trust, don’t be afraid.
Lead me, righteous LORD, O lead me,
in your righteous way,
clothed by mercy, I approach you,
precious place to pray.

Every morning, earnestly now
making my request,
waiting, trusting, and expectant,
needing to be blessed.
Lead me …

God takes no delight in evil,
and he cannot stand
wicked people in his presence,
– they will all be banned.
Justice: fair will be his judgement,
lies he will destroy,
and rebellion; those who shelter
in you sing for joy.

Many intrigues, could do damage,
– let their plots rebound;
lying tongues, destructive gossip,
– help in you is found.

on Psalm 6
O LORD, do not rebuke me,
or in your wrath chastise.
Be merciful and heal me.
I’m faint, and agonize;
my soul is in turmoil, anguish –
how long, Lord, must I wait?
in sorrow must I perish?
– in such a dreadful state.

O turn, LORD, and deliver
in your unfailing love,
and save me in your mercy
to praise my God above.
Be gone you evildoers,
the Lord has heard me weep,
accepts my cry for mercy:
disgrace you all will reap.

on Psalm 7
Oh, save me from those that pursue,
You know what they say is untrue.
You see my integrity,
kindness, sincerity,
failings, and righteousness,
faith and repentance;
make me secure,
you will not endure
injustice and violence.
Awake, be victorious,
your anger is justice.
(And if he relent,
be quick to repent.)

Your weapons you’ll wield,
and you are my shield.

Gestation of evil gives birth
to dissatisfaction and death,
sad disillusionment,
and trouble that they had meant
for others rebounds
on themselves, and confounds.

We thank you, O LORD,
for righteousness sure.
We praise you, O LORD,
almighty and pure.

on Psalm 8
LORD almighty, covenant Master,
how majestically you reign.
Earth’s Creator, – nature shows how
great and awesome is your name.

Even children, infants praise you:
you reveal yourself to them.
Foolish foes, rebellious creatures
will be hushed and silenced then.

Mighty heavens: he designed them.
Men and women don’t deserve
good Creator’s care so kind, for
angels without sinning serve.

We see Jesus crowned with glory,
and with him we soon shall reign:
role for which we were created, –
caring stewards once again.

on Psalm 9
With all of my heart I will praise,
and tell of your wonders and ways;
so glad to rejoice in my LORD ,
sing praise to the King, most High God.

He never forsakes us, – we trust;
our refuge and stonghold is just.
The wicked will fade and retreat,
remembered no more in defeat.

He does not ignore troubled cry.
Oh, lift me, – I’ll praise you with joy.
But those who his kingship defy,
will fear him whose power can destroy.

on Psalm 10
Arrogant, they scheme, oppress,
lust, revile the LORD we bless,
make no room for God at all
in their thinking – ‘I’ll not fall,
happy I will always be,
– God forgets, and does not see.’
Why, O LORD, do you stand by?

Lift your hand – the victims cry.

They ignore God’s laws and sneer,
tripping innocents, but near
is the God who does see grief,
and who quickly brings relief
to the one who waits and prays.
Yes, you know the wicked’s ways.
You’ll arise, and still their power:
they will terrify no more.       Tune: 77 77 D

on Psalm 11
Lurking all around, – from shadows
trouble makers shoot their arrows.
Foundations of society rocking,
few are upright, many mocking.
Why d’you say, ‘Go, flee away’,
for in our refuge we will stay.
Unshakeable God’s plan of grace
and sovereignty – we’ll see his face.
The LORD is righteous and he sees;
we trust him, and we aim to please.
Choose righteousness and uprightness,
for judgement comes to wickedness.

on Psalm 12
Strutting round with lies, deceit,
flattery, and self-conceit
– for authority, disdain,
boasting falsehood, won’t restrain
evil, honouring what is vile,
unashamed of gain by guile.

Words of God are faithful, sure,
flawless and completely pure.
He is trustworthy, protects
from the evil that infects,
and their accusations wrong:
you will still the evil tongue.

Help, LORD, for we feel alone,
vulnerable, truth has gone
from the land, and few fear God.
Bring back righteousness, O LORD.
Soon you will return to claim
rightful honour to your name.
Tune: 77 77 77

on Psalm 13
How long, how long, O LORD?
I feel depressed, bereft,
deserted of your fellowship –
in sorrow, darkness left.

Can you have ceased to care,
and turned away your face?
Can you forget? – my thoughts confuse,
– no consciousness of grace.

My enemy will cheer
– your foes must not succeed:
look on me and enlighten, LORD,
for desperate my need.

I do not want to cease
from praise – you will not fail.
You have been good to me, I sing
salvation of the frail.

and also on Psalm 13
O LORD, how long, O Lord?
Will you for ever hide?
ignore me, silent, – have you heard?
When will you cease to chide?
I wrestle in my soul,
and sadness grips my heart;
the devil laughs to see me fall
before his well-placed dart.

Look on me, LORD, my God
and answer with your light.
Don’t let the devil rob you LORD
of praise that is your right.
My understanding guide:
salvation is secure –
in love unfailing I abide,
rejoice in goodness sure.

on Psalm 14
“There is no God”: the fool’s opinion.
The LORD observes to see if anyone
now understands, and seeks their Maker,
but none do good, they tempt each other,
consume, frustrate God’s people precious,
whom God protects and counts as righteous.
The wicked see, and though they fear,
they will not call to God so near.

But soon there will be restoration:
be glad, rejoice in full salvation.

On Psalm 15
Whoever would approach the LORD
(by whom impurity’s abhorred),
in holy heaven, and dwell with him,
must walk and act free from all blame,
for nothing can that place defile.
Such will have truth in speech, and heart –
no slander but a kindly tongue,
respecting godly men, not vile,
with righteousness in every part,
and generous, doing no-one wrong,
and known for selfless faithfulness:
unshaken, held in steadfastness.

But all on earth have lived so badly,
corrupt; God forms a people holy:
reborn, forgiven, new hearts and will,
imputed gift of righteousness –
they love God’s laws and holiness.
And though we slip, and fail him still,
and must repent and root out sin,
he’s working in us, we begin
to grow more ready for life there,
in heaven, and labour to prepare
for such a place: anticipation –
completed holy transformation.

on Psalm 16
O keep me sheltered safe, O God,
my refuge and my Lord.
Apart from you I have no good, –
rich grace you have outpoured:

a pleasant portion, sure, secure,
delightful fellowship
of fellow saints who love, support,
and God’s companionship;

your Holy Spirit, Counsellor
will teach and strengthen, guide,
my eye is fixed to follow God,
and he is at my side.

Christ is alive, I rest secure,
the path of life you show;
I’ll, in your presence, evermore
eternal pleasures know.

Like Jesus, it is not the grave,
that is our final home;
my eye is fixed to follow God;
heart, tongue rejoice in song

But those who follow other ways
increasing sorrow reap;
so do not join with their false hopes,
nor the vain rites they keep.
Tune: CM eg tune of ‘Amazing Grace’

on Psalm 17
Judge, LORD, and hear my true petition,
from you will come my vindication.
[Accusers callous, arrogant,
like hunting hungry lions,
tracking, crouching, pouncing.]

God probes my heart,
examines me by night.
He tests me, sees aright.
He knows my steps
from his paths do not stray,
kept from the violent’s way,
by his good word.

Deal with the liars, LORD;
my refuge, rescue by your sword.
Your love is wonderful, O God,
for those you cherish
are very precious,
their hunger’s stilled,
we will be filled
with satisfaction,
in contemplation
of your likeness, of your face.
In this life alone,
the wicked are shown
honour, reward.

on Psalm 18
O LORD, my strength, I love you so,
my Fortress and Deliverer;
I called, he brought me from my foe,
he rescued from disaster.
Entangled by trouble, overwhelmed by a flood
of enmity, danger of death round me swirled.

Awesome is God’s intervention,
mighty power of his salvation.
Though high and mighty, he hears my call,
and reaches down, rescues from all.
I’m weak, but he delights in me,
observes my walk, and sees my hands,
and knows my heart loves his commands.

Repentant, humble sinners, come,
call on the Lord almighty;
your darkness goes when Christ, the Son
stoops down to help in pity.

There is no God beside the LORD,
no other Rock almighty,
he trains my hands for shield and sword,
he shelters and sustains me.

He helps me stand, like deer on high,
he is a God so gracious;
when in distress, he heard my cry,
and made my place more spacious.

God helps me scale a wall,
he helps me climb like deer,
and steady stand on ledges fine.
My ankles you secure.

My path becomes more wide,
and safe; you train my skill,
for combat with temptations fierce,
sustain and shield me still.

And David, chosen king was kept
through many hard attacks.
God caused the nations to submit,
opposers turned their backs.
He is alive, Oh, praise my Rock,
my Saviour God exalted;
his faithful children, chosen flock
are blessed as his anointed.

on Psalm 19 – Message Seen & Heard

We all observe the heavens,
their awesome structure see:
design, amazing power,
how could such wonder be?
Each day the sun seems eager–
brings heat and sights to ‘read’ –
a voice that’s heard world over,
a witness all can heed.

But clearer is the message
that’s been by prophets brought,
and written for perusal
of explanations taught.
God’s Word of revelation
illuminates, makes wise,
– complete, sufficient treasure:
instruction, joy supplies.

Expose, forgive my errors,
sin’s pull on me subdue;
and may my words and thinking
be pleasing to your view.
And Jesus showed all clearly
your character displayed,
and now we can walk with you,
for all our debts he paid.
Tune: 76 76 D eg tune of ‘O Sacred Head sore wounded’

on Psalm 20
Through conflict God will bless,
we pray our king’s success; –
for Christ in just, righteous conquest:
with joy we’ll then be blest.

God’s plans will all succeed,
and Christ will safely lead.
Some trust in armaments they’ve stored,
but we trust in our LORD.

on Psalm 21
Christ’s plans will make progress,
he is the great King,
and his is the power:
all honour to him.

God’s love is unfailing,
we trust, safely clasped,
unshakeable, joyful; –
but foes will be grasped –

their enmity foolish,
their schemes will all fail:
run to him repentant,
for flight won’t avail.

How great is Christ’s triumph.
no future for wrong,
then blessèd that kingdom
where praise is our song.

on Psalm 22
My God, why don’t you rescue?
(Despised, and mocked, strong bulls surround.)
The Sovereign Lord formed, taught, protected,
but threatening lions are now around;
trust belittled, trouble near.
no-one else can help: LORD hear!

Empty, faint, in anguish, hurting,
wounded; evil men attack.
(Hands and feet of Christ they pierced, and
stripped the garments off his back,
– sharing, casting lots to own them.
At Calvary this was borne then.)

Come near, and be my Strength, O LORD,
and save from wild dogs’ wielded sword.
And Jesus knew he would declare
to us, his brethren, gathered church
his Father’s planned, redeeming care
– whose ear and eye weren’t really hidden
from his afflicted one, unheeding.

Now, therefore, all the nations,
and coming generations
may take, receive what he procured:
his Calvary sufferings grace secured.

on Psalm 23
The Lord eternal is to me
a Shepherd caring constantly.
He leads to pasture, and in worst
afflictions he can quench my thirst,
refresh and strengthen, comfort, cheer,
instruct, and guide, removing fear.
The Shepherd died to save his sheep;
he lives to teach, and lead and keep.

Christ brings himself great glory, praise;
his enemies he will amaze.
He bore God’s wrath against my sins,
and for his praise, forgiveness brings,
and draws me back to walk his way; –
my soul, restored, now loves to pray.

And even if I walk along
through times of problems, pain so strong;
and even when I pass through death,
this mortal body lose its breath,
your rod and staff show you are near
to comfort, and I will not fear.

The Shepherd beats away the foe,
corrects and guides his sheep, they know
his staff will help when prone to slide,
for he is always at their side;
so evil things I need not fear,
for to my Shepherd I am dear.

A rich provision you prepare,
and bid me come great joys to share;
though enemies are all around,
my joy and peace can still abound,
anointed by your grace, refreshed,
and by your Spirit ever blessed.

God’s love and goodness follow me,
through all my minutes constantly,
and in his heavenly home I will
in praise and happy service dwell
for ever, for my Shepherd-King
will bring his sheep to dwell with him.
Tune: 88. 88. 88+ eg Sagina by Thomas Campbell (tune of ‘And can it be’)

on Psalm 24
The earth, the world, belongs to God
– and every person, thing;
he formed the dry land by his Word,
so all could live for him.
Oh, may we know the mighty King,
good Ruler over everything!

The holy place of God we seek,
– his face and righteousness;
salvation’s blessing for the meek,
who long for sinlessness.
Only those holy may go in –
forgive and cleanse me from my sin.

But what a welcome for the King,
Christ, holy Saviour, Lord;
triumphantly he enters in –
his work complete, adored.
The King of glory will be known,
all will one day his lordship own.

(Tune: 86 86 88 eg Supremacy,  or Palmyra, tunes of ‘Thou art the everlasting Word)

on Psalm 25
Lonely and afflicted, troubles overflow,
enemies who hate me, glad my shame to show;
LORD, do not remember all my youthful sin,
be my refuge, guard me, teach me truth within.

All my hope and trust set in the Triune Lord,
longing for instruction from his living Word;
I have real desire that he’d teach and guide:
hear his Spirit’s whisper, in his love abide.

Cleanse, forgive, LORD, Saviour, – I confess my sin.
He will guide the humble: pride will not begin
to perceive his leading, or revere and praise –
is not taught or guided in God’s chosen ways.

on Psalm 26
assured of vindication,
God’s testing eyes
will see all lies,
every impurity,
– discern integrity,
my walk in truth, and trust,
avoiding ways unjust,
and godless gatherings,
perverted murmurings.
With Christ I love
to stay and pray,
proclaim your praise
through all my days.

Do not cast me off
with those who earn your wrath,
who have no care
mercy to share.

on Psalm 27
The LORD himself my full salvation,
there’s no-one I need fear;
safe stronghold in all persecution,
for all his children here.

He is my light through earth’s confusion,
to walk his way with care;
his Word of truth, his revelation
will show up every snare.

Be ever merciful, receive me,
to gaze upon your grace;
though people may disown, reject me,
I seek your loving face.

Teach me your way, O LORD, prepare me,
and lead me in your path;
the tempters tempt to draw or scare me,
– you’ll bless my days on earth.

So I will wait with faith and patience,
upon my Sovereign LORD,
take heart, receiving strength and sustenance,
each day, from Christ, outpoured.

on Psalm 28
O LORD, your heeding ear,
your comforting response,
assures of mercy ever near,
my Shepherd, and Defence.

Those flatterers who hate,
and will not show regard
for all your works, you devastate
unless they sin discard.

My Strength, and Shield has heard.
He helps me, – praise my Rock;
with joyful heart, I trust the LORD.
Preserve your precious flock!

on Psalm 29
Rushing wind and powerful storm,
God is not a god forlorn.
Strength and splendour: hear him speak –
voice that shakes, and wakes the weak.

Science cannot mock away,
and, whatever men may say,
his the glory we confess, –
worship him in holiness.

Powerful God to judge and bless,
mighty LORD gives strength and peace:
all you famous give him glory,
he alone is truly mighty!

on Psalm 30
Feeling self-confident,
quite independent, –
losing the consciousness
of needing your presence, –
soon feeling alone, dismayed:
illness oppressing,
weeping and wailing,
darkness, while help delayed.

But soon there was dawn,
my cry brought rejoicing,
feeling like dancing,
mercy eternally,
in Christ my security,
out from the darkness drawn.

So, no gloating malicious,
to scorn you and mock us,
more time for the precious
praising, and singing, and serving on earth.

Psalm 31
My refuge, I trust you,
– for the sake of your name,
don’t leave me distressed, to
their schemes for my shame.
My spirit I lay
in your hands. I pray,
‘Be merciful, free me,
O LORD, God almighty.’

A deadly trap,
tongues that crush,
friendships stop,
enemies crouch,
slander, accuse,
sorrow and grief,
neighbours refuse
to bring relief.
I keep from those clinging
to idols worth nothing,
which are so absurd.
I trust in the LORD.

You saw my affliction,
I was not cut off, –
my precious protection.
In judgement your wrath
will silence all falsehood,
and soon you will show
you’ve stored for us great good,
rich blessings bestow.

You saints who revere him,
the light of his face
desire, and keep near him,
and love him, his grace
preserves all the faithful; –
the proud he’ll repay.
Take heart, always hope-ful,
rejoice every day.
My times he holds,
his love enfolds.

My times are in your hands (Psalm 31:15a)
My times are in your hands, because
you’ve made yourself my God;
and through those times, I can rely
upon your faithful Word.
My times are in your hands, LORD,
and the future I can face, –
excitement and expectancy
are for every child of grace.
I am not self-employed, for
I’ve a Master great and true;
and his commands and pleasure
I will try to do.

My times are in your hands, O LORD,
and I should never fret.
My times are in your hands, – I’m free
to serve, my cares forget.

My times are in your hands, not man’s,
your strong and mighty hands;
I’m safe, I’m led, through life, through death,
– in everlasting bonds.
Tune: CM+ eg ‘I know who holds the future’ by Albert E Smith and E Clark

on Psalm 32
Have you a secret? Are you perturbed?
Memories haunt, your spirit disturbed;
stifling conscience, sin unconfessed,
groaning, concealing, restless and stressed.
Blessèd and happy, glorious relief,
wonderful grace replacing the grief,
brought to the LORD, confessing at last,
pardoned, rejoicing, – misery past.

Never o’erwhelmed, surrounded with song,
unfailing love, deliverance strong.
Shielded from trouble, in you I hide,
heeding instruction, Word of my Guide.
Pray to the LORD, while he may be found,
trust and rejoice, – his love will abound.
Those who refuse him, multiply woe,
all who are upright, blessedness know.

Tune: 99 99 99 eg Blessed Assurance by J F Knapp

on Psalm 33
To praise God is right,
and joyfully sing.
His all-scanning sight
knows who hope in him, –
his servants revere
the name that is dear.

Creator of all,
– the great and the small;
he speaks what is true,
he’s righteous, his view
is accurate, just, –
in his name we trust.

He foils and he thwarts
the plans of men’s thoughts.
His own plans stand firm.
His people will bless him
(– so faithful), blest in him;
unfailing his love.

Don’t trust your resources,
your skills and your horses.
His eyes are upon us;
your love rest upon us.
How happy his nation,
who serve, they’re his portion.

We’re righteous in him
and joyfully sing,
with music and skill,
our voices will thrill,
as hearts overflow
from wonders we know.

on Psalm 34
Stir up yourself to daily praise
exalt, extol his name and ways:
though body, mind be racked with care,
my soul can praise him everywhere.
O praise the LORD, praise God with me,
and think of all his blessings free,
for he will always hear my cry
for help; my needs
he’ll wellsupply.

My praise will cheer the struggling saint,
and lift his thoughts far from complaint:
for when I saw my poverty,
and sought the LORD, he rescued me!

Each one who fears his holy name,
and looks to him will know no shame.
God’s radiance on their face is found.
Our Saviour guards us all around.

Come, see and think of all the good
that God can give us – richest ‘food’;
and taste, receive; in troubles call, –
he will preserve, support through all.

The self-sufficient will not know
his closeness, help and hope; for though
the crushed in spirit grieve for sin,
they trust and know they’re safe in him.

Remember then, fear him, and serve;
and guard your tongue; God will observe,
and hear your cries, now peace pursue,
from evil turn, good things to do.

And yes, he sees the wicked too,
and knows the awful things they do.
The LORD redeems, and counts as just,
those who choose righteousness, and trust. Tune: LMD

on Psalm 35
Lord, you please fight for me,
come to my help, and be
my shield, repel my foes, – your spear,
will stop them drawing near,
and quieten my fear.

Assure me of your love,
that I am yours, you’ll save.
Then my whole being will exclaim
the honour of your name:
your kindness brings you fame.

Unique and gracious, kind.
Your servants always find
you save from those too strong for them
(– whose end draws near of shame,
the wage of guilt and blame).

I sought to do them good.
I prayed, neglecting food;
but now I’m low, they speak with glee,
they gloat and slander, see
they gnash their teeth at me.

Awake, be my defence:
their malice and pretence
reveal. Bring honour to your name,
for rescuing me from shame,
false accusations, blame.

on Psalm 36
Sin swamping the mind:
there’s no godly fear;
self-satisfied, – blind
to guilt that is clear.

Deceitful in speech,
their conscience is hard,
no wisdom, they each
good actions discard.

They plot on their bed,
and choose evil course,
not spurning the bad,
keep on getting worse.

How different the LORD:
his faithfulness, love,
and justice outpoured
preserve, care and save.

The high and the low,
who turn back to him,
delivered to know
their God, live again.

His righteousness great,
gives refuge and light:
they were in lost state,
now drink of delight.

LORD, keep them from all
that Satan desires.

The wicked will fall,
unable to rise.

on Psalm 37
They may a while succeed,
their wicked schemes cause fear,
but soon they’ll not be found, (– you’re freed!),
– like smoke, they’ll disappear.

The meek enjoy God’s peace,
the just he will uphold,
their future land will never cease,
he is their safe stronghold.

They’re generous, and in speech
have wisdom on their tongue,
God’s law is in their heart, to teach
to turn to good from wrong.

The wicked, weapons aim, –
God brings us safely through.
Their ruthless swords recoil to maim.
They harm their children too.

on Psalm 37
Do not fret because they prosper –
evil people who do wrong;
don’t be envious, – they will wither,
die away before too long.
Trust the LORD, yes, really trust him, –
do not wander from the place
where there’s safety, joy in feeding
on the only Word of grace.

Take delight in God your Saviour, –
turn your eyes away from men.
Thrill to think about his favour, –
feast your soul on grace again.
Holy Spirit is implanting
longings that he’ll grace impart;
and our God delights in granting
these desires of your heart.

All your way to Christ committing; –
he is working as you trust; –
righteousness will shine, revealing
that your cause is true and just.
So be still and patient, waiting;
don’t be restless, – God will guide,
work his purpose, shaping, changing
those for whom his Son has died.

on Psalm 38
Chastised, rebuked, your hand on me,
my folly fully now I see;
I’m troubled, hurting, overwhelmed,
I mourn, pressed down; and they’re repelled
who used to be my friends; and foes
accuse me falsely, – this God knows.
My good with evil they repay,
to gloat and harm. I cannot say,
a word myself in my defence.
Subdue their slanderous arrogance.

O LORD, do not forsake, stay near:
my Saviour’s help will soon appear.

Psalm 39
‘I’ll watch my ways’, I said,
‘from sinning keep my tongue’:
a muzzle on my mouth
while I am here among
the wicked; but my heart
grew hot, until I prayed
to God omnisicent, LORD,
who justly had displayed
his chastening, disciplining arm
to train me, save me from much harm.

‘O help me look ahead,
and see my days are few,
life fleetingly flies by, –
so little time to do
the things that please you well, –
not bustling round in vain
to gather wealth which soon,
will pass away again.
From my transgressions, save me LORD,
my hope in you, my joy restored.

‘Look not now on my guilt,
– though it has done me good
to feel th’inspecting gaze –
look now upon Christ’s blood,
and so on me in grace.
Remove the scourge I’ve borne
for righteous fruit, through pain:
although I felt forlorn,
now humbled, and revived to praise,
while here I serve remaining days.’

on Psalm 40
The pit I remember, the slime and the mire,
with cries to the LORD as the troubles rose higher:
I waited in trust, and he heard me, and raised
up on to the rock – those who saw were amazed!

A body prepared, with a listening ear,
committed to serve: we’ve a Saviour so dear
whose sacrifice is all-sufficient to save:
we treasure his law, while delighting to serve.

And now once again, many troubles surround,
my sins overwhelm me, my fears abound.
I’m poor and I’m needy, LORD, do not delay,
– deliver, with justice and mercy, I pray.

May all those who seek him, our Saviour, rejoice,
who love his salvation, lift up heart and voice,
and praise him forever – we cannot full well
recount all his blessings – too many to tell!

on Psalm 41
The LORD preserves, delights
in those who help the weak.
“Have mercy on my sickness, plight,
– your pardon, grace I seek.”

My enemies gloat, and spread
a slanderous, lying tale.
A friend betrays, who shared my bread,
desires to see me fail.

King David prayed to rise
to rule, – his foes won’t win;
and Christ, our King is strong and wise, –
we’ll ever live with him.

on Psalms 42 and 43
Remembering fellowship and praise,
experiences of former days;
but now oppressed by taunts and fears, –
I thirst, I pant for God with tears.
Why am I downcast, why despair?
My powerful Saviour hears my prayer.

“Where is my God?” – I do not feel
or sense his presence, comfort real.
“Where is your God?” I know their sneers;
– God hears my sighs and sees my tears.
Why am I downcast, why despair?
My powerful Saviour hears my prayer.

But has my Rock forgotten me?
(False whispers of my enemy)
God’s love directs though storms last long; –
he fills my heart with prayer and song.
Why is my soul disturbed within?
Remember God, and hope in him.

Oppressed, but God will vindicate,
bring justice, save from those who hate.
Send forth your truth and light to guide
to Christ; with joy I will abide.
Why is my soul disturbed within?
Remember God, and hope in him.

on Psalm 44
To God’s power the scriptures witness,
and they tell us of his deeds,
that his kingdom will make progress:
Christ protects, in triumph leads.

Now, O God, we are defeated.
See, your church is scattered, weak.
Many scorn, – we have retreated.
Why? Your honour still we seek.

You know every heart’s position,
that we suffer for your sake.
In your love lift our oppression,
cease to hide your face, awake!

on Psalm 45
As I recite my song, and sing,
my heart is stirred because I bring
a theme so noble, – and with skill
of Jesus I desire to tell.

Most excellent of men is He,
with lips anointed He will be
God’s messenger of grace, and blest
our world’s attention to arrest.

O Christ, proceed victoriously,
display Your splendour, majesty
with awesome deeds,Your sword at hand,
raise righteousness throughout the land.

Prosper the truth, make pride to cease,
wing words the rebels’ hearts to pierce,
let nations fall beneath Your feet
until Your kingdom is complete.

King Christ for ever You will reign,
in justice, joy and glory shine;
O God, Your God has raised You high,
Your Bride to call and beautify.

Consider, all of you who hear –
Christ Jesus wants us to come near,
and leave the ways of kith and kin,
to bring him pleasure, honour him.

Like Jesus hating wickedness,
receive his glorious righteousness,
with joy and gladness, rich in grace,
come to the Bridegroom’s warm embrace.

on Psalm 45
What a theme for contemplation,
what a privilege to praise,
writing out of love, compulsion,
as on Jesus Christ I gaze:
wonder of his glorious coming –
come to claim his precious Bride:
enduring Calvary, recreating,
those for whom he’d suffered, died.

Contemplate his glorious greatness –
Christ most excellent of men
(words invaluable and gracious) –
rides to victory again:
nations fall and hearts are pierced, so
some repent and some rebel.
He’ll have joy that’s unsurpassed; and
children strong to serve him well.

Is she ready for her Bridegroom?
Is she waiting for her King?
He who cleansed her will return soon.
Turn from any other thing
that would make you not remember
whose you are, for he will bring
to his palace for his pleasure:
he has made you fit for him.

on Psalm 45
The church redeemed, and called, betrothed,
awaiting Christ’s return,
with righteousness and beauty clothed:
for Jesus, Christians yearn.

His dazzling attributes I see,
his gracious words I hear,
I love, and he delights in me;
my Rescuer draws near.

Reborn, and washed, and sanctified,
transformed by Christ within –
with conscientious care, his Bride
roots out remaining sin.

She soon will leave this scene of strife,
and all who scorned God’s grace,
will see her welcomed into Life,
with radiant, joyful face.

Psalm 46
Our God is our refuge, our shelter and strength,
he’s with us wherever we are;
he does not demand we appeal at great length, –
never fickle, but faithfully near.
Mighty LORD, with us now,
mighty LORD, with us now, ever near.

Whatever the trouble, whatever is wrong,
if crashing upheavals surround,
things stable may fail that have lasted so long, –
but the help of the LORD will abound.

Within, ever present, the One over all –
don’t worry, we need never fear.
His church, holy dwelling of God, shall not fall –
streams of grace will invigorate, cheer.

See nations in uproar, but judgement and peace,
the plans of Jehovah, succeed;
collapsing regimes, – war and fighting will cease,
God will soon be exalted, – take heed!

He will be exalted throughout all the earth:
be still in your troubles, and know
that he is the Lord God almighty; by faith,
in our fortress we’re safe from the foe.
Tune: 11 8 11 8 + eg It is well by Philip P Bliss

on Psalm 47
Join in vigorous rejoicing:
overflowing spirits praise
with enlightened understanding
noticing God’s awesome ways:
Israel given land, protected;
Christ, for Jews and gentiles gained
full redemption, – now ascended:
his achievement is acclaimed!

King supreme all things directing,
for the coming triumph Day,
over all the nations reigning,
many join his church, and pray.
Yes, we cannot but express it, –
reverence with ecstatic praise,
celebrating, we confess it –
joyful, patient hearts ablaze!

on Psalm 48
Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise,
great is his city, his dwelling: we gaze,
contemplate heaven, and his church – blest, secure;
enemies shudder, opposers withdraw.

Unfailing love covers all those who dwell,
sheltering with him, – and all hear us tell:
children taught well that our God, to the end
is righteous, will guide us, and ever defend.

on Psalm 49
Money cannot buy
everything that matters, –
happiness, salvation, love:
cash can’t break our fetters.

Money cannot last,
nor splendour here achieved:
there’s glory there, when ‘now’ is past –
if mercy’s here received.

We cannot save ourselves,
and those with skilful speech
who have not learnt of truth and right,
deceive men as they teach.

No mere human can,
my needed ransom bring:
but God can save me; – after death
he’ll take me home to him.

So wealth will leave you poor,
if that is all you own,
for greater is the treasure found
when wisdom’s grace is known.

on Psalm 50
God is mighty, Judge of all,
glorious, speaks a summoning call:
exhorts, corrects his people true,
stills their pride. – ‘I’ve given you
all you offer back, serve fully,
thanking, praying, trusting wholly.’

‘My righteous words the wicked hate,
although my laws they may recite.
They live regardless, steal and lie,
slander, break their vows, think I
will my judging role neglect:
I remember, you forget.

‘My salvation I will show
those who honour me, I know
who repent, and turn to praise,
giving thought to all their ways.’

Jericho and Joshua; Rahab and Achan

Shut up against the LORD’s control, –
see, Jericho’s like a foolish soul
determined to keep right apart
from God’s good influence on the heart.

But Rahab realised God’s decree;
believed, was glad his child to be,
and on that day of great destruction,
and glory, she received salvation!

But Achan richest blessing lost, –
through greed, – and didn’t count the cost
to others; God observed it all –
Achan did not for mercy call.

Beware of incomplete devotion
to God, of his rich gifts, provision:
acknowledge debt, and seek his will,
or they will only bring us ill.

For Achan’s family had scorned
God’s rule, and so his judgement earned.
But Joshua prayed, though much perplexed,
and Israel all were warned and blessed.

Make peace, God approaches

2 Peter 3:3–10; Ps73:18–28
For a thousand years are like a day
just passing, to the LORD;
though the wicked seem to prosper, they
will tremble at his sword;
as a dream when one awakes, our God
will soon arise and wield his rod.
He will come establishing his rule.

‘All far from You will perish,
whoever is not true’;
but the LORD delights to lavish
his love, he’ll welcome you
if you make the LORD your refuge now,
and trust in Christ, and humbly bow.
He will come, – be ready for that Day

Men will scoff and say things still go on,
each year it’s much the same.
So men scoffed in days of Noah, long
ago, but judgement came.
By his Word this earth will disappear,
– in fire, – the Day is drawing near;
we will see an earth of righteousness.

In the days before the flood, men were
enjoying life each day.
So the wicked live so free of care,
not bothering to pray;
deride God’s laws, their sin they flaunt,
God’s power and justice scorn, and taunt.
But his purpose won’t be stopped by man.
Tune: ‘2000 Years’ by R.T.Bewes (No.32, Youth Praise)

The love of God

A love that willingly exchanged
the perfect wonder,
perfect honour,
perfect praise,
for weakness, schemes and sneers ranged
around, suspicion,
malicious, murderous intention.

For what? and why?
The only way that I
could be washed clean enough to enter holy heaven –
he took the penalty of death I’d earned, and I can be forgiven.

And now he does not slay all evil straight away,
but helps us while he calls to all who stray.

on Ephesians 1:3-14

Plan superb God is fulfilling:
universal, certain scheme:
bringing all his richest blessings,
sending Jesus to redeem,
rescuing for holiness,
from the bonds of wickedness.

He will soon rule over all things,
everything and everyone,
but believers are adopted,
willing service has begun,
sonship that cannot be earned,
futile rebel actions spurned.

So give heed to revelation
of this richest gospel grace;
as we wait for full redemption,
taste support and love’s embrace;
sealed – his Spirit lives within,
moulding us to follow him.

Knowing now where we are heading,
joyfully, we press ahead,
comforted in times of trial,
chastened, taught, and onward led;
serve our gracious God with awe,
praise our Saviour evermore.
Tune: Gounod (Let us love and sing and wonder) ( One there is above all others well deserves the name if Friend) 87 87 77 tune of ‘Once in royal David’s city’  or Ottawa (tune of Master Speak, thy servant heareth’)


chapter 1:1-2:3
Not immediate, God’s judgement,
patient waiting for a turn,
but an end comes to postponement,
and the Lion’s breath must burn.
He is watching all the nations,
all their cruel deeds he sees,
and there’ll be a day of reckoning
by the standards he decrees.

chapter 2:4–6
Judah also had great guilt
– knowing, owing, so much more.
God would weaken forts they’d built,
for they had not kept his law.

chapter 2:7–16
Israel also heard described
how their sins compared – they’d known
more than neighbours they’d despised:
blessings scorned, –  but soon they’ll groan
pride and strength will all be gone.

chapter 3
Saved from Egypt: Why? For what?
hand in hand with God? or not?
[Egypt sees their sinful ways]
Warnings clear to heed – who prays?:
Pampered lifestyles swept away,
empty worship stopped that day.

chapter 4
Women’s influence, and neglect
of the good that they could do, –
seen, – and soon they will be hooked.

All should be preparing to
meet their God, but in the past
they had not returned, though sent
many a wake-up warning judgement.

“Go to worship”, – God, aghast
knows their insincere intent.

chapter 5 and chapter 3:12
How sad to see
what is to be
when God acts on his Word
of judgment, though
he longs to show
his mercy: seek the Lord.

‘You don’t fulfil
my Word, my will:
to be a witness, light.
You think I’ll bless,
but bitterness
comes from your courts, not right.

‘The poor you hurt,
and treat as dirt,
your worship insincere.
You truth despise,
accepting lies:
your wealth will disappear.’

You think his day
will be display
of glory, not distress.
His grace you’ll know
if you will show
repentance, kindliness.

Seek God and live,
he will forgive,
pour mighty mercy on you.
Seek only good,
live as you should,
put evil far off from you.

He forms the light,
and brings the night,
created great Orion;
and who can hide? –
he’ll open wide
defences strong, to ruin.

And they will wail
to no avail,
who had refused his offer.
The nation gone, –
only a ‘bone’ (cf.3:12)
learnt trust through all they suffer.

chapter 6
Complacent leaders, men of ease,
living proudly as they please –
(prime positions, prosperous land) –
feel secure, but God’s command
puts them first in guilt, and ends
their lounging pride, by war he sends.

chapter 7
Pleas for mercy, mercy given;
but a plumb-line to the nation.
Amaziah would not listen,
Amos had to speak as bidden:
judgement comes and exile’s certain.

chapter 8
Not ripe for fruitfulness, ripe for judgement,
with wailing, silence at massacre turbulent.

Their mind on their commerce while saying their prayers,
and cheating – their deals were dishonest affairs,
hurting the poor and the needy.

God’s Words long rejected,
despised or neglected,
would soon not be found
(disaster profound);
– you could not imagine
a worse kind of famine.

chapter 9
Dreadful final vision: gone the
special love, protection, care.
God is Sovereign everywhere.
No escape to hide, though confident.

Yet he still has some, true, – measured
by the plumb-line and the sieve,
and will build his people glorious –
ever in his land to live.
vv.11,12,15, Acts15:16
King Christ, Son of David, who sin’s wages bore,
the blessings with permanence can fully restore.
and gentiles come into the church evermore.