Weds 15 June - Psalm 5
1 Listen to my words, Lord,
consider my lament.
2 Hear my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.
4 For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
with you, evil people are not welcome.
5 The arrogant cannot stand
in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;
6 you destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful
you, Lord, detest.
7 But I, by your great love,
can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
towards your holy temple.
8 Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness
because of my enemies –
make your way straight before me.
9 Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
their heart is filled with malice.
Their throat is an open grave;
with their tongues they tell lies.
10 Declare them guilty, O God!
Let their intrigues be their downfall.
Banish them for their many sins,
for they have rebelled against you.
11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
12 Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favour as with a shield.
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Meditation on Psalm 5
As in so many of the psalms we have looked at, David is threatened by enemies on all sides. We know from reading through the accounts in 1 and 2 Samuel that David faced many enemies – Saul, the Philistines, many other tribes, Absalom, Shimei, Sheba, to name but a few. Most of all, he faced himself as enemy number one – he, like us, was not perfect.
If we are honest, we also face ourselves as enemy number one which is why we come to confess our sins as we come to worship the Lord and bring our prayers to Him.
- YOU AND ME, LORD Verses 1-3
“To you I pray”
In his book, ‘How to pray’, Reuben Torrey says, ‘in order that a prayer be really unto God, there must be a definite and conscious approach to God when we pray; we must have a definite and vivid realisation that God is bending over us and listening as we pray.’
He also wrote, I must put all my energy and all my heart into prayer. Whatever else I do I must pray.’
Go back to Abraham when he prayed for Sodom and Gomorrah as recorded in Genesis 18:16-33.
“What if there are 50 righteous people in the city?”
“What if there are 45…?”
“What if there are 40…?”
“What if there are 30…?
“What if there are 20…?
“What if there are 10…?
We know from the following chapter that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed but Abraham gives us a lesson in praying.
Come forward to Moses. How often, in desperation, did he come to God to pour out his heart and soul on behalf of the rebellious people? It even got to the point when the LORD told Moses to stand aside while His ‘anger burned against them and He would destroy them.’
How did Moses react? “LORD, why should your anger burn against your people… Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel to whom you swore by your own self, ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them and it will be their inheritance forever. Then the LORD relented and did not bring on His people the disaster He had threatened.’ (Exodus 32:7-14)
WHEN DO WE PRAY?
Here, the psalmist is spending time in the morning – ‘In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you.’
We know from the example of Jesus that there were times when He got up early in the morning and went to a solitary place to pray. But He also prayed at other times of the day and sometimes He prayed all night.
Whether we have an early morning meeting with the Lord or another time of day, one thing we can be sure of is this: ‘He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.’ (Psalm 121:4)
Last Sunday we were reminded of that wonderful old hymn – ‘Sitting at the feet of Jesus.’
Here is the first verse:
‘Sitting at the feet of Jesus
Oh, what words I hear Him say!
Happy place, so near, so precious!
May it find me there each day
Sitting at the feet of Jesus
I would look upon the past
For His love has been so gracious
It has won my heart at last’
- YOU AND THEM, LORD Verses 4-6
David realises that the God to whom he prays is a holy and righteous God. He gives a very stark appraisal of how God sees the wicked and their wickedness.
- ‘you are not pleased with wickedness’
- ‘evil people are not welcome’
- ‘the arrogant cannot stand in your presence’
- ‘you hate those who do wrong’
- ‘you destroy those who tell lies’
- ‘the bloodthirsty and deceitful you detest’
What hope is there for any one of us when we read these words?
Yet Habakkuk brings his complaints to God when he sees the wickedness of the people.
Habakkuk 1:3 ‘Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?’
Habakkuk 1:13 ‘Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why, then, do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?
This brings us back to Abraham’s statement in Genesis 18:25 ‘Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?’
When we pray, we pray to a holy God but we come to Him in the name of Jesus and, because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we come into the very presence of God Himself.
- YOU AND ME, LORD Verses 7-8
What a contrast. David has such assurance in his relationship with the LORD, that he knows he can come into His presence – ‘by your great love’.
So too, for us – ‘by your great love…’
We use the words of the chorus – ‘Lord, I come to you, let my heart be changed, renewed, flowing from the grace that I’ve found in you. And Lord, I’ve come to know, the weaknesses I see in me will be stripped away, by the power of your love.’
And David is praying for the guidance he needs as he seeks to know ‘your straight way before me.’
Isn’t that our prayer also?
He knows that he can trust the LORD.
How different from David’s enemies.
- YOU AND THEM, LORD Verses 9-10
David recognises that his enemies are…
David pleads with the LORD for Him to judge them and to banish them.
We know that there is coming a day of reckoning for us all. For those who know the Lord as Saviour we will be forever with Him, singing His praises for all eternity. The judgment against us for our sins was borne by Jesus when He was on the Cross and He cried, “It is finished.”
For those who don’t know Him, their will be that final judgment and the words, ‘depart from me for I never knew you.’
We pray for members of our family and across our communities and around the world to come to know Jesus.
David prayed that the LORD would ‘banish the wicked for their many sins.’
We thank God that our sins have been banished because of what Jesus did on the Cross.
- YOU AND ME, LORD Verses 11-12
- I take refuge in you Lord
- I sing for joy Lord
- I rejoice in you Lord
- I love your name Lord
David ends with a prayer for the people of God.
- Lord, protect your people
- Lord, bless your people
- Lord, surround your people.
Let’s pray the same for each other.
When Martin Luther was on his way to face a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church to answer for what the church said were his heretical teachings, one of the Cardinal’s servants taunted him, saying, “Where will you find shelter if your patron, the Elector of Saxony, should desert you?”
Luther answered, “Under the shelter of heaven.”