Child Neglect

Christian obligation to confront abuse and other types of evil

Condemning Emotional Abuse

James 3:5-6, 8-10

5Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

8but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.
10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

Condemning Physical Abuse

Proverbs 1:15-19

My son, do not go along with them,
do not set foot on their paths;
16for their feet rush into evil,
they are swift to shed blood.
17How useless to spread a net
where every bird can see it!
18These men lie in wait for their own blood;
they ambush only themselves!
19Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain;
it takes away the life of those who get it.

Ezekiel 18:10-13

“Suppose he has a violent son, who sheds blood or does any of these other things11(though the father has done none of them):
“He eats at the mountain shrines.
He defiles his neighbor’s wife.
12He oppresses the poor and needy.
He commits robbery.
He does not return what he took in pledge.
He looks to the idols.
He does detestable things.
13He lends at interest and takes a profit.
Will such a man live? He will not! Because he has done all these detestable things, he is to be put to death; his blood will be on his own head.

Condemning Sexual Abuse

2 Samuel 13:19-20

19Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornate robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went.
20Her brother Absalom said to her, “Has that Amnon, your brother, been with you? Be quiet for now, my sister; he is your brother. Don’t take this thing to heart.” And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house, a desolate woman.

Condemning Spiritual Abuse

Ezekiel 22:25-26, 28

25There is a conspiracy of her princes within her like a roaring lion tearing its prey; they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her. 26Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.

28Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says’—when the Lord has not spoken.

Matthew 23:1-5, 11-13

1Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.3So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.4They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacterieswide and the tassels on their garments long;
11The greatest among you will be your servant.12For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. 12For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. 13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

Mark 7:5-8

5So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”
6He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
“ ‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
7 They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’
8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”

God’s Judgment on Unrepentant Abusers

Nahum 3:1-7

1Woe to the city of blood,
full of lies,
full of plunder,
never without victims!
2The crack of whips,
the clatter of wheels,
galloping horses
and jolting chariots!
3Charging cavalry,
flashing swords
and glittering spears!
Many casualties,
piles of dead,
bodies without number,
people stumbling over the corpses—
4all because of the wanton lust of a prostitute,
alluring, the mistress of sorceries,
who enslaved nations by her prostitution
and peoples by her witchcraft.
5“I am against you,” declares the LordAlmighty.
“I will lift your skirts over your face.
I will show the nations your nakedness
and the kingdoms your shame.
6I will pelt you with filth,
I will treat you with contempt
and make you a spectacle.
7All who see you will flee from you and say,
‘Nineveh is in ruins—who will mourn for her?’
Where can I find anyone to comfort you?”

Philippians 1:27-28

27Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit,striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God.

Psalms that appeal to God’s justice

Psalm 35

1Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me;
fight against those who fight against me.
2Take up shield and armor;
arise and come to my aid.
3Brandish spear and javelin
against those who pursue me.
Say to me,
“I am your salvation.”

4May those who seek my life
be disgraced and put to shame;
may those who plot my ruin
be turned back in dismay.
5May they be like chaff before the wind,
with the angel of the Lord driving them away;
6may their path be dark and slippery,
with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.

7Since they hid their net for me without cause
and without cause dug a pit for me,
8may ruin overtake them by surprise—
may the net they hid entangle them,
may they fall into the pit, to their ruin.
9Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord
and delight in his salvation.
10My whole being will exclaim,
“Who is like you, Lord?
You rescue the poor from those too strong for them,
the poor and needy from those who rob them.”

11Ruthless witnesses come forward;
they question me on things I know nothing about.
12They repay me evil for good
and leave me like one bereaved.
13Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth
and humbled myself with fasting.
When my prayers returned to me unanswered,
14I went about mourning
as though for my friend or brother.
I bowed my head in grief
as though weeping for my mother.
15But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee;
assailants gathered against me without my knowledge.
They slandered me without ceasing.
16Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked;
they gnashed their teeth at me.

17How long, Lord, will you look on?
Rescue me from their ravages,
my precious life from these lions.
18I will give you thanks in the great assembly;
among the throngs I will praise you.
19Do not let those gloat over me
who are my enemies without cause;
do not let those who hate me without reason
maliciously wink the eye.
20They do not speak peaceably,
but devise false accusations
against those who live quietly in the land.
21They sneer at me and say, “Aha! Aha!
With our own eyes we have seen it.”

22Lord, you have seen this; do not be silent.
Do not be far from me, Lord.
23Awake, and rise to my defense!
Contend for me, my God and Lord.
24Vindicate me in your righteousness, Lord my God;
do not let them gloat over me.
25Do not let them think, “Aha, just what we wanted!”
or say, “We have swallowed him up.”

26May all who gloat over my distress
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who exalt themselves over me
be clothed with shame and disgrace.
27May those who delight in my vindication
shout for joy and gladness;
may they always say, “The Lord be exalted,
who delights in the well-being of his servant.”

28My tongue will proclaim your righteousness,
your praises all day long.

Psalm 109

1My God, whom I praise,
do not remain silent,
2for people who are wicked and deceitful
have opened their mouths against me;
they have spoken against me with lying tongues.
3With words of hatred they surround me;
they attack me without cause.
4In return for my friendship they accuse me,
but I am a man of prayer.
5They repay me evil for good,
and hatred for my friendship.

6Appoint someone evil to oppose my enemy;
let an accuser stand at his right hand.
7When he is tried, let him be found guilty,
and may his prayers condemn him.
8May his days be few;
may another take his place of leadership.
9May his children be fatherless
and his wife a widow.
10May his children be wandering beggars;
may they be driven from their ruined homes.
11May a creditor seize all he has;
may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.
12May no one extend kindness to him
or take pity on his fatherless children.
13May his descendants be cut off,
their names blotted out from the next generation.
14May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord;
may the sin of his mother never be blotted out.
15May their sins always remain before the Lord,
that he may blot out their name from the earth.

16For he never thought of doing a kindness,
but hounded to death the poor
and the needy and the brokenhearted.
17He loved to pronounce a curse—
may it come back on him.
He found no pleasure in blessing—
may it be far from him.
18He wore cursing as his garment;
it entered into his body like water,
into his bones like oil.
19May it be like a cloak wrapped about him,
like a belt tied forever around him.
20May this be the Lord’s payment to my accusers,
to those who speak evil of me.

21But you, Sovereign Lord,
help me for your name’s sake;
out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.
22For I am poor and needy,
and my heart is wounded within me.
23I fade away like an evening shadow;
I am shaken off like a locust.
24My knees give way from fasting;
my body is thin and gaunt.
25I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
when they see me, they shake their heads.

26Help me, Lord my God;
save me according to your unfailing love.
27Let them know that it is your hand,
that you, Lord, have done it.
28While they curse, may you bless;
may those who attack me be put to shame,
but may your servant rejoice.
29May my accusers be clothed with disgrace
and wrapped in shame as in a cloak.

30With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord;
in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him.
31For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
to save their lives from those who would condemn them.

Psalm 129

1“They have greatly oppressed me from my youth,”
let Israel say;
2“they have greatly oppressed me from my youth,
but they have not gained the victory over me.
3Plowmen have plowed my back
and made their furrows long.
4But the Lord is righteous;
he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked.”

5May all who hate Zion
be turned back in shame.
6May they be like grass on the roof,
which withers before it can grow;
7a reaper cannot fill his hands with it,
nor one who gathers fill his arms.
8May those who pass by not say to them,
“The blessing of the Lord be on you;
we bless you in the name of the Lord.”

Psalms that call for my deliverance

Psalm 22

1My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.

3Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.
4In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
5To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

6But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
7All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
8“He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
“let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”

9Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10From birth I was cast on you;
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

11Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.

12Many bulls surround me;
strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13Roaring lions that tear their prey
open their mouths wide against me.
14I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted within me.
15My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.

16Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce my hands and my feet.
17All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
18They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.

19But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20Deliver me from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

22I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
23You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24For he has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.

25From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
26The poor will eat and be satisfied;
those who seek the Lord will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!

27All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
will bow down before him,
28for dominion belongs to the Lord
and he rules over the nations.

29All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
31They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn:
He has done it!

Psalm 28

1To you, Lord, I call;
you are my Rock,
do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent,
I will be like those who go down to the pit.
2Hear my cry for mercy
as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
toward your Most Holy Place.

3Do not drag me away with the wicked,
with those who do evil,
who speak cordially with their neighbors
but harbor malice in their hearts.
4Repay them for their deeds
and for their evil work;
repay them for what their hands have done
and bring back on them what they deserve.

5Because they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord
and what his hands have done,
he will tear them down
and never build them up again.

6Praise be to the Lord,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
7The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.

8The Lord is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
9Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever.

Psalm 54

1Save me, O God, by your name;
vindicate me by your might.
2Hear my prayer, O God;
listen to the words of my mouth.

3Arrogant foes are attacking me;
ruthless people are trying to kill me—
people without regard for God.

4Surely God is my help;
the Lord is the one who sustains me.

5Let evil recoil on those who slander me;
in your faithfulness destroy them.

6I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you;
I will praise your name, Lord, for it is good.
7You have delivered me from all my troubles,
and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.

Psalm 61

1Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.

2From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.

4I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
5For you, God, have heard my vows;
you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

6Increase the days of the king’s life,
his years for many generations.
7May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever;
appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him.

8Then I will ever sing in praise of your name
and fulfill my vows day after day.

Psalm 70

1Hasten, O God, to save me;
come quickly, Lord, to help me.

2May those who want to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.
3May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
turn back because of their shame.
4But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
“The Lord is great!”

5But as for me, I am poor and needy;
come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
Lord, do not delay.

Psalm 77

1I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
2When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.

3I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
4You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
5I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
6I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart meditated and my spirit asked:

7“Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
8Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
9Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”

10Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
11I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

13Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
14You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
15With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.

16The waters saw you, God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
17The clouds poured down water,
the heavens resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
18Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.
19Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.

20You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Psalm 102

1Hear my prayer, Lord;
let my cry for help come to you.
2Do not hide your face from me
when I am in distress.
Turn your ear to me;
when I call, answer me quickly.

3For my days vanish like smoke;
my bones burn like glowing embers.
4My heart is blighted and withered like grass;
I forget to eat my food.
5In my distress I groan aloud
and am reduced to skin and bones.
6I am like a desert owl,
like an owl among the ruins.
7I lie awake; I have become
like a bird alone on a roof.
8All day long my enemies taunt me;
those who rail against me use my name as a curse.
9For I eat ashes as my food
and mingle my drink with tears
10because of your great wrath,
for you have taken me up and thrown me aside.
11My days are like the evening shadow;
I wither away like grass.

12But you, Lord, sit enthroned forever;
your renown endures through all generations.
13You will arise and have compassion on Zion,
for it is time to show favor to her;
the appointed time has come.
14For her stones are dear to your servants;
her very dust moves them to pity.
15The nations will fear the name of the Lord,
all the kings of the earth will revere your glory.
16For the Lord will rebuild Zion
and appear in his glory.
17He will respond to the prayer of the destitute;
he will not despise their plea.

18Let this be written for a future generation,
that a people not yet created may praise the Lord:
19“The Lord looked down from his sanctuary on high,
from heaven he viewed the earth,
20to hear the groans of the prisoners
and release those condemned to death.”
21So the name of the Lord will be declared in Zion
and his praise in Jerusalem
22when the peoples and the kingdoms
assemble to worship the Lord.

23In the course of my life he broke my strength;
he cut short my days.
24So I said:
“Do not take me away, my God, in the midst of my days;
your years go on through all generations.
25In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
and they will be discarded.
27But you remain the same,
and your years will never end.
28The children of your servants will live in your presence;
their descendants will be established before you.”

Psalms that express my despair

Psalm 22

1My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.

3Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.
4In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
5To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

6But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
7All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
8“He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
“let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”

9Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10From birth I was cast on you;
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

11Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.

12Many bulls surround me;
strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13Roaring lions that tear their prey
open their mouths wide against me.
14I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted within me.
15My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.

16Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce my hands and my feet.
17All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
18They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.

19But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20Deliver me from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

22I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
23You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24For he has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.

25From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
26The poor will eat and be satisfied;
those who seek the Lord will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!

27All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
will bow down before him,
28for dominion belongs to the Lord
and he rules over the nations.

29All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
31They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn:
He has done it!

Psalm 42

1As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
2My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
3My tears have been my food
day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
4These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
among the festive throng.

5Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

6My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
7Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

8By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

9I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”
10My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

11Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Psalm 55

1Listen to my prayer, O God,
do not ignore my plea;
2hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught
3because of what my enemy is saying,
because of the threats of the wicked;
for they bring down suffering on me
and assail me in their anger.

4My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death have fallen on me.
5Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
6I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
7I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;
8I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.”

9Lord, confuse the wicked, confound their words,
for I see violence and strife in the city.
10Day and night they prowl about on its walls;
malice and abuse are within it.
11Destructive forces are at work in the city;
threats and lies never leave its streets.

12If an enemy were insulting me,
I could endure it;
if a foe were rising against me,
I could hide.
13But it is you, a man like myself,
my companion, my close friend,
14with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship
at the house of God,
as we walked about
among the worshipers.

15Let death take my enemies by surprise;
let them go down alive to the realm of the dead,
for evil finds lodging among them.

16As for me, I call to God,
and the Lord saves me.
17Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.
18He rescues me unharmed
from the battle waged against me,
even though many oppose me.
19God, who is enthroned from of old,
who does not change—
he will hear them and humble them,
because they have no fear of God.

20My companion attacks his friends;
he violates his covenant.
21His talk is smooth as butter,
yet war is in his heart;
his words are more soothing than oil,
yet they are drawn swords.

22Cast your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken.
23But you, God, will bring down the wicked
into the pit of decay;
the bloodthirsty and deceitful
will not live out half their days.

But as for me, I trust in you.

Psalm 56

1Be merciful to me, my God,
for my enemies are in hot pursuit;
all day long they press their attack.
2My adversaries pursue me all day long;
in their pride many are attacking me.

3When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
4In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?

5All day long they twist my words;
all their schemes are for my ruin.
6They conspire, they lurk,
they watch my steps,
hoping to take my life.
7Because of their wickedness do not let them escape;
in your anger, God, bring the nations down.

8Record my misery;
list my tears on your scroll —
are they not in your record?
9Then my enemies will turn back
when I call for help.
By this I will know that God is for me.

10In God, whose word I praise,
in the Lord, whose word I praise—
11in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can man do to me?

12I am under vows to you, my God;
I will present my thank offerings to you.
13For you have delivered me from death
and my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before God
in the light of life.

Psalms that express my hope

Psalm 20

1May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

2May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.

3May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.

4May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.

5May we shout for joy over your victory
and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.

6Now this I know:
The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.

7Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

8They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.

9Lord, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call!

Psalm 23

1The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

Psalm 26

Vindicate me, Lord,
for I have led a blameless life;
I have trusted in the Lord
and have not faltered.

Test me, Lord, and try me,
examine my heart and my mind;

for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love
and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.

I do not sit with the deceitful,
nor do I associate with hypocrites.

I abhor the assembly of evildoers
and refuse to sit with the wicked.

I wash my hands in innocence,
and go about your altar, Lord,

proclaiming aloud your praise
and telling of all your wonderful deeds.

Lord, I love the house where you live,
the place where your glory dwells.

Do not take away my soul along with sinners,
my life with those who are bloodthirsty,

in whose hands are wicked schemes,
whose right hands are full of bribes.

I lead a blameless life;
deliver me and be merciful to me.

My feet stand on level ground;
in the great congregation I will praise the Lord.

Psalm 40

1I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.

4Blessed is the one
who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
5Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.

6Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
but my ears you have opened —
burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.
7Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
it is written about me in the scroll.
8I desire to do your will, my God;
your law is within my heart.”
9I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips, Lord,
as you know.
10I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.
I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness
from the great assembly.

11Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord;
may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
12For troubles without number surround me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails within me.
13Be pleased to save me, Lord;
come quickly, Lord, to help me.

14May all who want to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.
15May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
be appalled at their own shame.
16But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
“The Lord is great!”

17But as for me, I am poor and needy;
may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
you are my God, do not delay.

Psalm 62

1Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.
2Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

3How long will you assault me?
Would all of you throw me down—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
4Surely they intend to topple me
from my lofty place;
they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse.

5Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
6Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7My salvation and my honor depend on God ;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

9Surely the lowborn are but a breath,
the highborn are but a lie.
If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
together they are only a breath.
10Do not trust in extortion
or put vain hope in stolen goods;
though your riches increase,
do not set your heart on them.

11One thing God has spoken,
two things I have heard:
“Power belongs to you, God,
12and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;
and, “You reward everyone
according to what they have done.”

Psalm 71

1In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
2In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;
turn your ear to me and save me.
3Be my rock of refuge,
to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
4Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.

5For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
my confidence since my youth.
6From birth I have relied on you;
you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
I will ever praise you.
7I have become a sign to many;
you are my strong refuge.
8My mouth is filled with your praise,
declaring your splendor all day long.

9Do not cast me away when I am old;
do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
10For my enemies speak against me;
those who wait to kill me conspire together.
11They say, “God has forsaken him;
pursue him and seize him,
for no one will rescue him.”
12Do not be far from me, my God;
come quickly, God, to help me.
13May my accusers perish in shame;
may those who want to harm me
be covered with scorn and disgrace.

14As for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.
15My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds,
of your saving acts all day long—
though I know not how to relate them all.
16I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord;
I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.
17Since my youth, God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
18Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your mighty acts to all who are to come.

19Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
you who have done great things.
Who is like you, God?
20Though you have made me see troubles,
many and bitter,
you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
you will again bring me up.
21You will increase my honor
and comfort me once more.

22I will praise you with the harp
for your faithfulness, my God;
I will sing praise to you with the lyre,
Holy One of Israel.
23My lips will shout for joy
when I sing praise to you—
I whom you have delivered.
24My tongue will tell of your righteous acts
all day long,
for those who wanted to harm me
have been put to shame and confusion.

Psalms that express trust in God

Psalm 63

1You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.

2I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

6On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
7Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
8I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.

9Those who want to kill me will be destroyed;
they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10They will be given over to the sword
and become food for jackals.

11But the king will rejoice in God;
all who swear by God will glory in him,
while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

Psalm 86

1Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
2Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; 3have mercy on me, Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
4Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
for I put my trust in you.

5You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
abounding in love to all who call to you.
6Hear my prayer, Lord;
listen to my cry for mercy.
7When I am in distress, I call to you,
because you answer me.

8Among the gods there is none like you, Lord;
no deeds can compare with yours.
9All the nations you have made
will come and worship before you, Lord;
they will bring glory to your name.
10For you are great and do marvelous deeds;
you alone are God.

11Teach me your way, Lord,
that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
12I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
13For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths,
from the realm of the dead.

14Arrogant foes are attacking me, O God;
ruthless people are trying to kill me—
they have no regard for you.
15But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
16Turn to me and have mercy on me;
show your strength in behalf of your servant;
save me, because I serve you
just as my mother did.
17Give me a sign of your goodness,
that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,
for you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

Psalm 88

1Lord, you are the God who saves me;
day and night I cry out to you.
2May my prayer come before you;
turn your ear to my cry.

3I am overwhelmed with troubles
and my life draws near to death.
4I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am like one without strength.
5I am set apart with the dead,
like the slain who lie in the grave,
whom you remember no more,
who are cut off from your care.

6You have put me in the lowest pit,
in the darkest depths.
7Your wrath lies heavily on me;
you have overwhelmed me with all your waves.
8You have taken from me my closest friends
and have made me repulsive to them.
I am confined and cannot escape;
9my eyes are dim with grief.
I call to you, Lord, every day;
I spread out my hands to you.

10Do you show your wonders to the dead?
Do their spirits rise up and praise you?
11Is your love declared in the grave,
your faithfulness in Destruction ?
12Are your wonders known in the place of darkness,
or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?

13But I cry to you for help, Lord;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14Why, Lord, do you reject me
and hide your face from me?

15From my youth I have suffered and been close to death;
I have borne your terrors and am in despair.
16Your wrath has swept over me;
your terrors have destroyed me.
17All day long they surround me like a flood;
they have completely engulfed me.
18You have taken from me friend and neighbor—
darkness is my closest friend.

Psalm 91

1Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

3Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

9If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

Psalm 116

1I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
2Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.

3The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
4Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Lord, save me!”

5The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
6The Lord protects the unwary;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
7Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.

8For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
9that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.

10I trusted in the Lord when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted”;
11in my alarm I said,
“Everyone is a liar.”

12What shall I return to the Lord
for all his goodness to me?

13I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord.
14I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.

15Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his faithful servants.
16Truly I am your servant, Lord;
I serve you just as my mother did;
you have freed me from my chains.

17I will sacrifice a thank offering to you
and call on the name of the Lord.
18I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,
19in the courts of the house of the Lord—
in your midst, Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord.

Psalm 119:153-160

153Look on my suffering and deliver me,
for I have not forgotten your law.
154Defend my cause and redeem me;
preserve my life according to your promise.
155Salvation is far from the wicked,
for they do not seek out your decrees.
156Your compassion, Lord, is great;
preserve my life according to your laws.
157Many are the foes who persecute me,
but I have not turned from your statutes.
158I look on the faithless with loathing,
for they do not obey your word.
159See how I love your precepts;
preserve my life, Lord, in accordance with your love.
160All your words are true;
all your righteous laws are eternal.

Psalms that reflect my struggle

Psalm 119:25-32

25I am laid low in the dust;
preserve my life according to your word.
26I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
teach me your decrees.

27Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
29Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me and teach me your law.
30I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I have set my heart on your laws.
31I hold fast to your statutes, Lord;
do not let me be put to shame.
32I run in the path of your commands,
for you have broadened my understanding.

Psalm 119:81-88

81My soul faints with longing for your salvation,
but I have put my hope in your word.
82My eyes fail, looking for your promise;
I say, “When will you comfort me?”
83Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke,
I do not forget your decrees.
84How long must your servant wait?
When will you punish my persecutors?
85The arrogant dig pits to trap me,
contrary to your law.
86All your commands are trustworthy;
help me, for I am being persecuted without cause.
87They almost wiped me from the earth,
but I have not forsaken your precepts.
88In your unfailing love preserve my life,
that I may obey the statutes of your mouth.

Psalm 143

1Lord, hear my prayer,
listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
come to my relief.
2Do not bring your servant into judgment,
for no one living is righteous before you.
3The enemy pursues me,
he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in the darkness
like those long dead.
4So my spirit grows faint within me;
my heart within me is dismayed.
5I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works
and consider what your hands have done.
6I spread out my hands to you;
I thirst for you like a parched land.

7Answer me quickly, Lord;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.
9Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
for I hide myself in you.
10Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.

11For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life;
in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant.

The Life and Teachings of Jesus

Joshua 6:22-25

22Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring her out and all who belong to her, in accordance with your oath to her.”23So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother, her brothers and sisters and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel.
24Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house. 25But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day.

Matthew 21:15-16

15But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.
16“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
“Yes,”replied Jesus, “have you never read,
“ ‘From the lips of children and infants
you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”

Matthew 25:41-45

41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

The Responsibility of Leaders to Protect the Vulnerable

Jeremiah 22:15-17

15“Does it make you a king
to have more and more cedar?
Did not your father have food and drink?
He did what was right and just,
so all went well with him.
16He defended the cause of the poor and needy,
and so all went well.
Is that not what it means to know me?”
declares the Lord.
17“But your eyes and your heart
are set only on dishonest gain,
on shedding innocent blood
and on oppression and extortion.”