The human condition
Prayer of Moses, man of God.
Lord, You have been our refuge age after age.
Before the mountains were born,
before the earth or the world came to birth,
You were God from all eternity and for ever.
You can turn man back into dust
by saying, ‘Back to what you were, you sons of men!’
To You, a thousand years are a single day,
a yesterday now over, an hour of the night.
You brush men away like waking dreams,
they are like grass
sprouting and flowering in the morning,
withered and dry before dusk.
We too are burned up by Your anger
and terrified by Your fury;
having summoned up our sins
You inspect our secrets by Your own light.
Our days dwindle under Your wrath,
our lives are over in a breath
—our life lasts for seventy years,
eighty with good health,
but they all add up to anxiety and trouble—
over in a trice, and then we are gone.
Who yet has felt the full force of Your fury,
or learned to fear the violence of Your rage?
Teach us to count how few days we have
and so gain wisdom of heart.
Relent, Yahweh! How much longer do we have?
Take pity on Your servants!
Let us wake in the morning filled with Your love
and sing and be happy all our days;
make our future as happy as our past was sad,
those years when You were punishing us.
Let Your servants see what You can do for them,
let their children see Your glory.
May the sweetness of the Lord be on us!
Make all we do succeed.