Psalm 5, Lead Me In Your Righteousness
1, Give ear to my words, O LORD; consider my groaning.
2, Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to You do I pray.
3, O LORD, in the morning You hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for You and watch.
4, For You are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with You.
5, The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all evildoers.
6, You destroy those who speak lies; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
7, But I, through the abundance of Your steadfast love, will enter Your house. I will bow down toward Your holy temple in the fear of You.
8, Lead me, O LORD, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; make Your way straight before me.
9, For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.
10, Make them bear their guilt, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you.
11, But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may exult in You.
12, For You bless the righteous, O LORD; You cover him with favor as with a shield.
This psalm appears to be a morning prayer of David, perhaps because by giving our requests to God in the morning, we can wait expectantly throughout the day (especially when we wake in the morning in groaning and grumbling much like David in these first three verses).
I don’t know about you, but I am not a morning person. In fact, morning people make me even grumpier. Anyone who knows me well enough knows not to talk to me before I’ve had my first cup of coffee. Believe me, you would rather wait until after I’ve had my caffeine than deal with my morning apathy.
Some of you may be in the practice of praying every morning and maybe in the evening as well, whether it’s your own prayer or one you recite every day. I’ve never been in that practice simply because it’s not a tradition I grew up with, but I do believe it’s a good habit to have. Presenting your daily requests to God in the morning and giving thanks in the evening seems like a healthy habit to me. David wrote that in the morning he “prepares a sacrifice” before God and watches. Isn’t that what morning prayer is? By praying, we sacrifice our control over to God, and we wait and watch as He takes care of it. No matter how small the request or gratitude might be, I think we all ought to do this. I’m not saying it’s required for good Christian character, but I do think it can help us to trust and rely on God more and teach us to be more patient and thankful. God can silence our groaning, and He hears us when we cry out to Him no matter how early or late it is.
God does not tolerate evil, so He does not respond beneficially to people who are conceited, liars, or deceivers. Some people wake up in the morning proud of their accomplishments, wallowing in their pride. Rather than waking up in proud narcissism, David—a successful warrior and king—wakens to give all the glory to God. In verse 7, David realizes that we are only able to approach God because He allows it in His boundless mercy, and David does this in reverence and humility. He humbly asks God to lead him in His righteousness—to keep his path straight because of his enemies who wish to knock him off that path.
We all ought to have the same attitude—to realize that God establishes all our accomplishments and to give Him the glory for them. If David—a warrior and king—can be so humble and thankful before God, we certainly can as well. I’m currently a straight-A student in college and I’m a veteran of the U.S. Army, but I wouldn’t be here were it not for the numerous times the Holy Spirit has consoled me due to my academic stress, military stress, and other personal problems in my life. My strength comes from God alone; therefore I continually give God all the glory. God gets all the credit.
In verses 9 and 10, David calls his enemies out! There is corruption in their mouths, hearts, throats, and tongues. It’s like a cancer that constantly eats away at their souls. So David pleas that God permit their inevitable self-destruction as a result of continuously rejecting Him (rebellion = continuous rejection).
This (perhaps) being a morning prayer, David expects his enemies to fall into ruin; and indeed, they do (2 Samuel 18:1-18), but David none-the-less grieves Absalom’s death (2 Samuel 18:31-33) because Absalom was also his son. Perhaps he also took to heart the proverb, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the LORD see it and be displeased, and turn away His anger from him” (Proverbs 24:17-18).
Why is this? Perhaps because God said, “Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked… and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23; see also 2 Peter 3:9). Either way, this part of the psalm serves as a reminder to us that the destruction of the wicked, our enemies, is inevitable.
Conversely, David prays for those who seek God and take refuge in Him. He prays for their joy (which comes from God) and for songs of praise to be on their mouths. He prays for their protection in order that God may be glorified. David has experienced God’s protection numerous times while surrounded by enemies, so he knows that God will shield all He favors—all those who believe and call upon His name. If God was more than capable of protecting David from surrounding armies multiple times, imagine the wonders He can do in your life. So never be afraid to ask Him for deliverance; He will not fail you.
Psalm 5 Prayer
Father, listen to my cries this morning [or day or night]. I trust You hear me. [Give thanks for anything He’s done for you, giving Him the glory.] [Pray for deliverance from any harm you may face—war, oppression, abuse, safety, etc.] Lastly, Father, I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ. Comfort and shield them as You have done for me—those facing persecution, those who need Your inner peace. Deliver them from the hands of our enemies so that they may experience Your joy, and ultimately deliver them from the evil one so that songs of praise may be on their lips as they glorify You. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.
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