let your salvation, O God, protect me.
I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
This will please the Lord more than an ox
or a bull with horns and hoofs.
Let the oppressed see it and be glad;
you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
For the Lord hears the need,
and does not despise his own that are in bonds.
Let heaven and earth praise him,
the seas and everything that moves in them.
For God will save Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah;
and his servants shall live there and possess it;
the children of his servants shall inherit it,
And those who love his names shall live in it.
The selected verses come near the end of a very long psalm, the first part of which is a plea for help and a cursing of the psalmist's misfortunes and enemies. "Save me, O God, for the waters have risen up to my neck/ I am sinking in deep mire, and there is no firm ground for my feet." And, "Those who hate me without cause are more than the hairs of my head." Verses 29-37 begin with the final curses and pleas for punishment of the psalmist's enemies. Then the tone shifts, "Your help, O God, will lift me up on high." This is the last direct address to God in this psalm. The lines that follow address other people, perhaps even the "enemies." Instead of uttering more curses, the psalmist now changes his course and takes the high ground. He will "praise the Name of God in song" and this will please the Lord. I am reminded of the Proverb and the allusion to it in Romans, that in showering good upon the enemy you may "heap burning coals upon his head." By proclaiming God's greatness, "the afflicted shall see and be glad; you who seek God, your heart shall live." The psalmist is no longer cursing the darkness, but lighting a candle, illuminating a higher path. "The Lord listens to the needy, and his prisoners he does not despise." God treats everyone with kindness and generosity. Shouldn't we do likewise?