Lord God, the refuge under which I hide,
Deliver me from those who seek my life,
Who do not tire as they pursue my blood—
For if you will not save me, I shall die,
As they shall, like a lion, tear my flesh.
Apart from you, I have no other help.
But, Lord, if I am stained with guilt and blame,
If I have harmed my neighbor or my friend,
Or even struck and robbed my enemy,
Then let my foe have victory over me,
To strike me down and make me sleep in dust.
Rise up, O Lord, in anger and with fire,
Against the rage of all my enemies;
Rise up, O Lord, let justice be decreed.
May peoples, clans and tribes, and nations gather,
Sovereign Lord, in your just scepter’s sway.
All-knowing God, before whose righteous eyes
All minds and hearts are open and laid bare,
Come, make the violent wicked meet their end
And make your righteous servants’ rest secure.
But as for me, I trust in God Most High,
Whose righteous judgment daily saves the just
And daily strikes the guilty with his wrath.
For if the sinner will not change his ways,
The Lord will wage inexorable war,
And all the evil that he made and planned
Shall soon recoil and fall on his own head.
But as for me—my mouth shall praise the Lord,
My lips shall sing the thanks that he deserves
For all his righteous character and acts.
As longtime readers may remember, I began my project of creating verse settings of the entire Psalter with Psalm 1 back in 2012. I began this after finishing Psalm 6 back in 2013, and after letting it sit for many months finished it in late August or early September of this year.
This is, I think, the first Psalm that I have felt I ought to tremble to set to verse, because apart from Jesus the Christ, I know, I am anything but blameless. But I certainly can’t skip it.
As always, I earnestly welcome your (further) comments, suggestions, questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. (In other words, if you liked this poem, or you didn’t like it, or it made you think of something, or … please leave a comment to let me know.) If you’d like to read more of my poetry, you can read my archive (also organized in more manageable installments), follow this blog for (now only occasional) new poetry (among other things), or get my book, which contains over sixty of my best poems, each paired with a public-domain illustration or drawing. You may also share this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.