Old Testament

Readings from the Old Testament / Hebrew Scriptures

God listens to us and answers us.

I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me;
he freed me from all my fears.
The oppressed look to him and are glad;
they will never be disappointed.
The helpless call to him, and he answers;
he saves them from all their troubles.
His angel guards those who honor the LORD
and rescues them from danger.

The righteous call to the LORD, and he listens;
he rescues them from all their troubles.
The LORD is near to those who are discouraged;
he saves those who have lost all hope.
Psalm 34.4-7,17-18

God rescues us and is merciful to us.

I waited patiently for the LORD’s help;
then he listened to me and heard my cry.
He pulled me out of a dangerous pit,
out of the deadly quicksand.
He set me safely on a rock and made me secure.
He taught me to sing a new song,
a song of praise to our God.
Many who see this will take warning
and will put their trust in the LORD.

Happy are those who trust the LORD,
who do not turn to idols
or join those who worship false gods.
You have done many things for us, O LORD our God;
there is no one like you!
You have made many wonderful plans for us.
I could never speak of them all –
their number is so great!

LORD, I know you will never stop
being merciful to me.
Your love and loyalty will always keep me safe.
I am surrounded by many troubles –
too many to count!
My sins have caught up with me,
and I can no longer see;
they are more than the hairs of my head,
and I have lost my courage.
Save me, LORD! Help me now!
May those who try to kill me
be completely defeated and confused.
May those who are happy because
of my troubles
be turned back and disgraced.
May those who make fun of me
be dismayed by their defeat.
May all who come to you be glad and joyful.
May all who are thankful for your
salvation always say,
“How great is the LORD!”
I am weak and poor, O Lord,
but you have not forgotten me.
You are my savior and my God – hurry to my aid!
Psalm 40.1-5,11-17

Like the psalmist, we can honestly express our feelings to God.

LORD God, my savior, I cry out all day,
and at night I come before you.
Hear my prayer; listen to my cry for help!

So many troubles have fallen on me
that I am close to death.
I am like all others who are about to die;
all my strength is gone.
I am abandoned among the dead;
I am like the slain lying in their graves,
those you have forgotten completely,
who are beyond your help.
You have thrown me into the depths of the tomb,
into the darkest and deepest pit.
Your anger lies heavy on me,
and I am crushed beneath its waves.

You have caused my friends to abandon me;
you have made me repulsive to them.
I am closed in and cannot escape;
my eyes are weak from suffering.
LORD, every day I call to you
and lift my hands to you in prayer.
Do you perform miracles for the dead?
Do they rise up and praise you?
Is your constant love spoken of in the grave
or your faithfulness in the place of destruction?
Are your miracles seen in that place of darkness
or your goodness in the land of the forgotten?
LORD, I call to you for help;
every morning I pray to you.
Why do you reject me, LORD?
Why do you turn away from me?
Ever since I was young,
I have suffered and been near death;
I am worn out from the burden of your punishments.
Your furious anger crushes me;
your terrible attacks destroy me.
All day long they surround me like a flood;
they close in on me from every side.
You have made even my closest friends abandon me,
and darkness is my only companion.
Psalm 88

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