Psalm 5: A Morning Prayer
Psalm 5 For the director of music. For pipes. A psalm of David. (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 toward your holy temple. (8) Lead me, LORD, in our 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 all 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 a shield.
What a beautiful psalm this is. This is God’s promise, that as we read and study His Word, He will reveal Himself to us.
Upon first reading of this psalm, it may seem like just another psalm. Sometimes, if we’re not reading to understand and to learn, they can all start sounding the same. When we pray for wisdom and understanding- when we read it in different translations- when we seek out what others have said- it is then that a psalm such as this one becomes a shining jewel of hope.
Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105
King David knew the best way to start his day. How do you start yours? Coffee? Feeding the animals? Rushing out the door in a mad dash?
David began his day with the Lord.
God wants us to start our days with Him. This psalm is another reminder of that expectation. God tells us in not so many words, “You want to start your day off right? Start it with me.”
Sure, grab a cup of coffee, and let the dogs out first. But start your day with your Father in heaven. Even if it means getting up twenty minutes earlier, begin your day with the focus and peace that comes when we spend time with God.
In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3
The above is from the New International Version that I typically begin my studies with. Look at how the King James Version (KJV) translates this verse:
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee and will look up. Psalm 5:3 KJV
The Hebrew term used for “lay before you” or “direct unto thee” is something like arranging the morning sacrifice on the altar. I can imagine this was done with great care, preparations, and thought. In this psalm, David says this is how we are to pray to God. That we take the prayers and carefully lay them out like the morning sacrifice, then we are to look up!
Can you picture a child tying his or her shoes for the first time then looking up to his or her mother.
“Mama, look, I did it.”
Isn’t our God a good Father? Isn’t He watching us tie our shoes? Isn’t He watching us lay our prayers upon that morning altar?
Sweet friend, rest assured He is watching over you with love in His eyes.
Prayer should be the key of the day and the lock of the night.Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
Lay your prayers at the altar in the morning (first thing!) and look up at your Father knowing He hears you and will answer.
The verses in the middle, at first glance, appear to be angry curses aimed against the surrounding enemies of Israel. Verses like these can sometimes make a Christ follower cringe. But when we find ourselves cringing over God’s Word it’s time to dig for deeper understanding. We do not/cannot close our Bibles and say, “never mind.” God’s Word is not the problem, our understanding of it is.
So, digging deeper: Jesus expected something very different from us than the angry curses.
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." Matthew 5:43-45
When Jesus came to this earth, He re-taught us God’s expectations, the Law, and what is required to be children of God. Therefore, these “words in red” are now our path.
But why would David call curses down upon his neighbors? Why would he not want them to turn from their wicked ways?
We have to remember that Israel lived in constant fear of attack from all sides, and, if you study current events, they still do. But during king David’s time, they were always vigilant, always cautious, always fearful. And for good reason.
Also, it does not seem that these verses are only calling down curses. Could this be just a prayer of a frustrated and worried king? Like a prayer journal?
“God help me! God those people are crazy and they’re trying to hurt my family again. Smite them all! Help me!”
Whatever the reason behind David’s words, what we can take away from this psalm is to cry out to God. Carefully lay those requests at His altar and look up, expect Him to see you and hear you and answer you. Even if we call out to God in anger, He will hear us. Obviously not all actions are good and acceptable, but all feelings are. And God wants to know us.
Okay, one last thing: I uncovered a quote from that smart and sassy Bible preacher, Charles Spurgeon, that I just love. I have to share it and hopefully it will make you smile too. He wrote this paraphrase of verse 11.
Come, ye mournful ones, be glad. Ye discontented grumblers, come out of the dog-hole! Enter the palace of the King! Quit your dunghills; ascend your thrones.
Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
And THAT is where we will leave this psalm, my friends.
Quite your dunghills and ascend your thrones!
Father in heaven, let us not be discontented grumblers. May we enter your palace today. You are our King and our Savior, and all that is good in our lives comes from you. Father, let us seek you in the morning, carefully laying our requests at your feet, and looking up to you expectantly. Hear us, see us, answer us, Father. Give us strength to love all who rely upon us today. Thank you for being our strength. Amen.