The triumph of justice
Psalm of Asaph.
God is indeed good to Israel,
the lord is good to pure hearts.
My feet were on the point of stumbling,
a little further and I should have slipped,
envying the arrogant as I did,
and watching the wicked get rich.
For them, no such thing as pain,
their bodies are healthy and strong,
they do not suffer as other men do,
no human afflictions for them!
So pride is their chain of honor,
violence the garment that covers them;
their spite oozes like fat,
their hearts drip with slyness.
Cynical advocates of evil,
lofty advocates of force,
they think their mouth is heaven
and their tongue can dictate on earth.
This is why my people turn to them
and lap up all they say, asking,
‘How will God find out?
Does the Most High know everything?
Look at them: these are the wicked,
well-off and still getting richer!’
After all, why should I keep my own heart pure,
and wash my hands in innocence,
if you plague me all day long
and discipline me every morning?
Had I said, ‘That talk appeals to me,’
I should have betrayed Your children's race.
Instead, I tried to analyze the problem,
hard though I found it—
until the day I pierced the mystery
and saw the end in store for them:
they are on a slippery slope,
You put them there,
You urge them on to ruin,
until suddenly they fall,
done for, terrified to death.
When You wake up, Lord, You shrug them off
like the phantoms of a morning dream.
When my heart had been growing sourer
with pains shooting through my loins,
I had simply failed to understand,
my stupid attitude to You was brutish.
Even so, I stayed in Your presence,
You held my right hand;
now guide me with advice
and in the end receive me into glory.
I look to no one else in heaven,
I delight in nothing else on earth.
My flesh and my heart are pining with love,
my heart's Rock, my own, God for ever!
So then: those who abandon You are doomed,
You destroy the adulterous deserter;
whereas my joy lies in being close to God,
I have taken shelter in the Lord,
continually to proclaim what You have done.
Next… Psalm 74