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By James Vasquez
I love you, Lord, my rock, my strength,
My fortress and deliverer,
My God shall ever be my rock,
And of my foes the vanquisher.
In him my refuge shall I take,
My stronghold worthy of all praise,
The horn of my salvation who,
The hand of each opponent stays.
The cords of death entangled me,
Destruction overwhelmed my soul,
The grave’s taut arms encircled me,
The snares of death before me stole,
Then to the Lord in my distress,
I called, to God for help I cried,
And from his temple was I heard,
Nor was my plaintive voice denied.
And then the earth’s foundations shook,
The mountains trembled, fire arose,
From burning coals within his mouth,
And darkening smoke from out his nose.
For God was angry and came down,
Like curtains, parting heaven’s veil,
Dark clouds beneath his feet then left,
A wispy presence o’er his trail.
And borne by cherubim he flew,
As though by wind he’d taken wing,
He made the clouds his canopy,
And darkness was his covering.
And clouds advanced before him there,
Impelled by brightness from his face,
While bolts of lightning hurled down,
And hailstones filled th’ illumined space.
God thundered from the heav’ns above,
The voice of the Most High was heard,
His arrows scattered every foe,
‘Neath lightening bolts that he bestirred.
The valleys of the sea were known,
And earth’s foundations were laid bare,
At your rebuke, O Lord, when you,
A blast of breath but suffered there.
From high he reached and took me then,
From deepest waters drew me out,
He rescued me from enemies,
From countless foes too strong and stout.
In my disaster they arose,
But my support was from the Lord,
Because he took delight in me,
To spacious sites was I restored.
According to my righteousness,
Has God in kindness dealt with me,
Rewarding me for unstained hands,
And keeping sacred each decree.
I have not turned away from God,
But wholly followed all his ways,
My heart I’ve kept from every sin,
Assuring, thus, it never strays.
Now to the faithful, Lord, you show,
Your faithfulness in full degree,
And to the blameless you appear,
From every fault and blemish free.
The pure shall know that you are pure,
For thus are you, in truth, revealed,
But to the crooked shall you seem,
A shrewd contender, well concealed.
The humble by your might you save,
But those of haughty eyes bring low,
My lamp now brightly burns for you,
In place of darkness light bestow.
Now by your help a wall I scale,
Against a troop I move ahead,
For perfect are the ways of God,
And flawless every word he’s said.
He is a shield for those who take,
Their refuge ‘neath his wings so broad,
For who is God besides the Lord?
And who the Rock except our God?
With strength he arms me and my way,
Each day is perfect in the land,
For like a deer’s feet are mine made,
And thus upon the heights I stand.
My hands he trains for battle and,
My arms a bow of bronze can bend,
His shield of victory mine, his hand,
To all my permanence does lend.
He stoops that he might make me great,
My path he widens ‘neath my feet,
And thus my ankles do not turn,
When they some rock-strewn passage meet.
And I my enemies pursued,
I overtook them nor turned back,
Till they were crushed beneath me and,
Were thus destroyed by my attack.
They cried for help but none there were,
Who heard their call or succor gave,
E’en to the Lord in their distress,
But he rose not to heed or save.
And fine as dust borne by the wind,
I beat them and their troop did rout,
Like mud that flows within the streets,
When rains descend, I poured them out.
And now delivered from attacks,
The head of nations I am made,
For people I knew not appear,
And homage to my word is paid.
They come, these foreigners, and cringe,
Before me does each one lose heart,
They leave their distant strongholds and,
In apt obeisance do their part.
He lives! And praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be my Savior God!
The nations he subdues and leaves,
Their men of violence crushed and awed.
For this I praise you, Lord, and ‘mongst,
The nations shall I sing your fame,
For victories to the king you give,
And kindness to his heirs proclaim.
from the October 2005 Edition of the Jewish Magazine
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