Psalms 5

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.
Declare them guilty, O God!
Let their intrigues be their downfall.
Banish them for their many sins,
for they have rebelled against you.
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.
Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Interpretation

David was greatly grieved by the oppression and cruelty of his enemies. Not only does he see what they have done but he anticipates more. As a result he asks God for His intervention. He first mentions that he has prayed and laid his petition before God. He has done this repeatedly and regularly. David is waiting for an answer from God.

He then talks about the nature of God. God is not pleased with wickedness. The evil are not even welcome in God’s presence. God hates those who do wrong. David is not claiming that he is sinless. Because he mentions that it is only by God’s great love that David is even allowed to enter the temple.

David asks for God to lead him in righteousness and for God to project him from his enemies. David’s prayer is that justice be delivered to his enemies. But it is interesting to note that David does not ask that they be punished for the things they have done to David. David knows that he is of little consequence. David asks that his enemies be judged for their rebellion against God. But David does not end there. For the character of God is more than wrath and justice. There is also mercy. David’s prayer ends with a petition for all who seek the protection of God receive it. The closing line is the psalm is what we all rely on from God. “Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.”

An Application

We often feel the weight of oppression and injustice. We see it all around us, kidnappings, murder, rape. It is easy to think that God is not there or does not care. We have grown so accustom to God’s grace and mercy we forget it is even there. There are so many good things we have that we take them for granted. We think of God’s mercy as the baseline. We think we deserve it. We forget, we too deserve God’s wrath. When we suffer injustice we cry out for justice from God. We remember at that point, God is not pleased with the wicked. God will destroy all those who are dishonest and bloodthirsty. Let us not forget we too are sinners. We are not deserving of any of the mercies of God. Nonetheless, we receive benefits from Him. It is only by the mercy of God that we draw our next breath. Even in the middle of pain and suffering let us rejoice in the unmerited mercy we receive from Him.

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