2020 Bible Reflections

April 23rd 2020: Psalm 5

Psalm 5[a]

For the director of music. For pipes. A psalm of David.

Listen to my words, Lord,
    consider my lament.
Hear my cry for help,
    my King and my God,
    for to you I pray.

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
    in the morning I lay my requests before you
    and wait expectantly.
For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
    with you, evil people are not welcome.
The arrogant cannot stand
    in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;
    you destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful
    you, Lord, detest.
But I, by your great love,
    can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
    toward your holy temple.

Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness
    because of my enemies—
    make your way straight before me.
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 favor as with a shield

In today’s Psalm, David asks God to listen to his prayers. We are told that he prays in the morning and in the evening. I have no doubt that he was praying during the day too. I would have been if his job was my job and his enemies were my enemies. There’s something here of two elements:

  1. Persistence in prayer. Most of the time when we start praying we know what we are praying about, or asking for (although not always, sometimes all we can do is groan and ask God to hear the deep cry within us). David speaks here of continually going to God and asking him to hear and intervene as he prays. God is not an instantly-gratifying slot machine. One thing you notice through spending any time with David’s Psalms is that he obviously felt as if he put a huge amount of time into his relationship with God and so he knew his ways, what God wanted, the kind of things it was right to pray. If prayer is a conversation, a deepening of relationship, then as much as it is for God to hear and to answer, it is also for us to be committed to actually putting in the time in prayer, making it a priority, deepening our own commitment to our side of the relationship that we have been offered through divine generosity. We can be known by God and approach him in conversation, with our thankfulness and our requests, as well as our weeping and our laments. Having been given such a great gift, we ought to use it.
  2. David recognised God’s holiness and that he would have nothing to do with evil apart from finding ways to get rid of it. Of course David lived before Jesus triumphed over death and evil in the resurrection and his ascension, so we now know that we can be forgiven and free if we trust him. It is worth remembering when we pray that the one we are praying to is holy and right and good as I said earlier this week and that his love is what makes us worthy  to be his friends, adopted members of his family. I can try my best on my own, but I will never be the right kind of good without the intervention of God. That’s not to do myself down, that’s just how it is. Evil has been overcome. We ought to do our utmost to stay away from it where we can and ask God to lead us in the path to everlasting life, and do so often.

Something To Do

Make a point of praying today. It doesn’t matter what kind of prayers you pray in the first place, just spend time in prayer. Make it a priority.

Something To Pray

Thank you is always a good place to start, if you can’t think of anything else, but if you spend any amount of time actually focusing on God, I’m sure the thoughts, words and perhaps even tears will come.