Monday, 15 November 2010

Psalm 5- An Exposition

This Psalm of David is a morning psalm. David prays to God to hear and consider his lament, He wakes in the morning and lays his request before his King and God. The presence of his enemies are still with him and he turns his enemies to God, that God should deal with them and their wickedness.  The Psalm begins with David, humbling himself before God and in a gentle but earnest whisper ask God to vs. 1 Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my groaning. Here David is asking God for two things which are for God to listen to his words and to consider his groaning. David presents his case before God, he makes his petition known to him and his words are not motionless but it is accompanied with groaning of heart meaning that his troubles are real and not the mere repetition of a hypocrite. His prayers are immediate and may God consider them to test his sincerity and if found genuine, that God may grant them and give relieve to his aching soul. We can learn from David that our prayers if genuine should be filled with emotions like that of groaning if that is our situation. Our hearts should be stirred when we pray for the lost or for the justice of God towards wicked men and not to be mere babblers. David, further ask God to also vs. 2 give attention to the sound of his cry. It is evident that David is moved by his request and want God to focus on the sound of his cry. Sometimes, words allude us when the trouble is to much for our soul and we can do nothing but weep, like the mother who has lost her child, crying becomes her expression and how penetrative it is to the heart of men. Even more, the tears of the saints never fail to reach the heart of God, there is a sweetness, a soul moving eloquence in our cries that God cannot but hear them and be moved with great compassion.  My King, and my God. David drawn into covenant with God knows whom his King is and like a good citizen and a dearly loved creature, he pours his heart out to God, the God of his fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. David although a King himself recognizes that the true King is God himself, he accepts that he is a man under authority and he gladly submits to the kingship of God. For to you I pray. Our prayers should always be directed to God who is our king and not to any of his host or those he has appointed to office, our plea and thanksgiving is to God and God alone for He alone is King.

Vs. 3 O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice. David expresses the total assurance that God hears his voice. For David, morning prayers are never wasted nor do they fall on deaf ears, but God always hears because He is God and King. In the morning you also should rise and pray and throw away your tiredness for God hears our morning prayers. In the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. Here is a spirit of expectancy, a spirit of fervency and diligence. The word sacrifice is often a priestly term for laying the altar fire and arranging the pieces of the burnt offering. David lays out his prayer before God like a sacrifice, he prepares it diligently and carefully like a priest to his task. He does not slumber but rises in the morning and sacrifice his heart to God and more so he watches. That is that he waits for an answer, like the prophet of God who eagerly wait for the first report of God’s word, so David waits and that expectantly. Like David, we should not rush into our morning prayers but first consecrate our hearts and say thus, ‘I prepare my body as a living sacrifice’, and let the sacrifice of praise reign in your heart and there prayer shall be the more sweeter and enjoyable. When you do pray in the morning, do not forget to watch, that is to watch for the results of your prayers so that you do not miss the opportunity to rejoice and thank God.

Vs. 4-6 David’s prayer begins to take shape as a plea for justice. He pleas against his enemies and begs of God to do away with them because God is a champion of justice and the avenger of iniquity. Where injustice reign, God is against it and He bends His bow and at any moment He may release His hand and strike those devils to ruin. Vs.4 For you are not a God who delights in wickedness. It is true that God takes no pleasure nor delight in wickedness. We should never entertain in our minds that God is indifferent towards injustice and wickedness, for God hates it and that with a perfect hatred. Are you moved and troubled at the actions of wicked men, God hates it more than you do.  He takes no delight in wickedness. Many wicked men may think that God is altogether like them and their misdeeds will be passed over by God for it is mirth to their soul and think it would be so with God. But they are fools and know not God who is Holy and eternally righteous. They think that they can dwell with God after their passing from this earth but realise not that evil may not dwell with Him. Neither in this age or the age to come, evil will never dwell with God. The mansions of heaven will not be inhabited by lawless and wicked men; Jesus did not prepare a place for them nor did the thought ever enter into his mind. The mansion is for the regenerated, the righteous and not reprobates. For what has Jesus with Beelzebub? For what has the sons of God with the sons of the Devil? It is true that the righteous will inhabit heaven because of the blood of the lamb and while there is still breath in any man God is pleading for you to repent and thus dwell with him in this age and in the age to come. Vs. 5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes. Foolish men are quick to speak and slow to understand. They avail their own success to their ability and forget God. They boast about tomorrow and treasure their riches but God in an instant cast their souls to the pit. Even in the courts of heaven they dare to boast about their righteousness and like a filthy stench to the Almighty nose, he cast them off and slays them with the presence of His might. So do not dare to boast apart from the cross, boast not like the Pharisee and not like the wise sages of this earth for God brings them to nothing. But boast in Jesus and in his crucifixion. Boastful men are generally workers of iniquity and it is said of God that He hates all evildoers. This is not just a temporal hatred, or a mere dislike but a calculated hatred for God hates all of their activities. He reveals his wrath against them and how terrible is this wrath. Let us who have known the Love of God be quick to mention to men without Christ of this hatred towards their sin, for it is a terrible thing to fall in the hands of an angry God. Let them know of their destruction and bid them to flee to the cross, to the Christ. Vs. 6 You destroy those who speak lies; the ninth commandments read that, ‘you shall not bear false witness against your neighbour’. David’s enemies have flattered themselves in bearing false witness about him, they slander his goodness and realised not that God destroys those who speak lies and that in His holy commandment it is forbidden. Let us watch our lips and our lives. As well as hating all evildoers and destroying those who speak lies, the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. The consistency of God’s hatred towards all wickedness is evident and no evildoer or wicked man will escape the righteous wrath of God, for He abhors them and their practices. The bloodthirsty will not escape nor the deceitful man. Are you not yet afraid of the terror of the Lord against your sins and will you not flee to the cross wherein is your only shelter.

Vs 7. The beginning of this verse marks an end to the call of Justice to God against evildoers.  The psalmist changes the focus unto himself and contrast himself against the wicked. But I, we must not fail to miss the significance of the but here, which is spoken of so confidently that he his not like the wicked men but he is altogether different. The psalmist says but I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. The wicked in vs. 4 may not dwell with God and therefore will never enter into his house but we see an altogether different picture with the psalmist. David’s entrance into the house of God is due to the abundance of God’s steadfast love and is God’s love not displayed for us on the cross; that whoever believe in Jesus, he will by no means cast out.  I will bow down towards your holy temple in the fear of you. Although we have no temples to bow down towards, yet we are to lift our eyes to the heaven, bowing our knees and in deep admiration worship with joy exceeding because God has loved us and allowed us to enter into his house.

Vs. 8.  Lead me, O Lord. David here, seeks not leadership from men but from God, he asks God directly to lead him because God is the greatest captain of all. Has Jesus ever led you astray or has he ever given you the wrong directions? Before we venture out or take any steps let us pray with earnestness for God to lead us. David prays that God should lead him in His righteousness.  How happy are they who gladly follow in the righteousness of God, or they who walk in his righteousness. But many feel that God’s righteousness is distasteful and will never pray like David prays; but those who know the righteousness of God will plea for God to lead them in His righteousness and nothing else will satisfy.  David ask of God to lead him in His righteousness because of his enemies and that God would make His way straight before him. The righteous in heart desires  not to be like the wicked men and thus seek a straight and narrow path. The righteous man has given up all of his ways which like the wicked men would have led to evil but have gladly submitted and enlisted to the straight path that God has paved for the righteous.  Will you not forsake your own ways and today will you not begin the Calvary journey in which the Lord Jesus has marked out for you. 

Vs 9. David once again focuses on the wicked and the next two verses like verses 4-6 ask God to give justice and cast them out. For there is no truth in their mouth; this is because they are all liars and deceitful in their ways. They know not the way of truth but of lies and their most inmost self is destruction. The wicked and the godless receive in themselves the due penalty for their errors. Their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue. Wicked men are spoken of here to flatter with their tongue and that their throat is an open grave. How stench is an open grave and how disgusting it is to behold; for one must cover one’s nostrils and walk afar. Wicked men are open graves, they stink and are foul and yet they flatter. They cover up their stench with ointments and fragrance but beneath the covering lies a smell that even death itself cannot bear. Because of their horridness, David furthers is plea to God that God should vs. 10 make them bear their guilt. It is true that many wicked men suppresses the truth of God by their wickedness and also praises those who practice such things. They have numb their conscience and silenced the small voice of morality. They feel at ease but only if God should make them feel their guilt then they would plea in those moments for the mountains to fall on them for there is no where to run nor hide. Let them fall by their own counsels. The wicked and the godless in their secret meeting are always up to no good. They plot the oppression of the poor and the death of the righteous. They drink till they are drunk and they cheat the widow. They plan wickedness and seek more ways in which they can advance their evil cause, but God will make them fall according to their plans, He will bring them to ruins and cause them to destroy each other. Do not be found among those who plot evil but rather spend your time with those who plot good, who secretly blesses the widow and the fatherless and provides for the poor. Be found in that counsel and the hands of God will bless and prosper you. Because of the abundance of their transgression cast them out. Where should the Lord cast them too? It is only to the pit, to the eternal flames of hell and therein is there portion for they shall not be thrown into the dwelling place of God with the saints but rather to the outer spaces of the universe.  For they have rebelled against you. Here is the reason for their demise, the reason why God hates them, for they have rebelled against him. Is not the earth full of those who are actively walking in rebellion against their creator, are they not liars and wicked at heart. Indeed it is and the Lord has spoken to them through His Son and has loved them by offering them an unblemished lamb for their sins and that whoever turns from their rebellion will dwell with him and have eternal live. God is Love and in him is no darkness at all. 

Vs. 11. But let all who take refuge in you rejoice. Here we see the joy of those who have taken refuge in the gospel of God. They have seen the divine shelter which covers them and they sit dancingly beneath its shade.  They gather together with their hymns and psalms and ever sing for joy. God has spread his protection over them; they are eternally secured, eternally safe. That roaring lion, though he blows and puffs, though he scratches and roars will never get to them. He is unable too for there is a fixed barrier of separation between him and them and those who love God’s name exult in God. Vs. 12. For you bless the righteous, O LORD. Everyone who is in Christ Jesus is indeed righteous and eternally righteous and God has blessed them. God also covers them with favour as with a shield. This is our defence, the shield of God which is impenetrable and we have the favour of God which is limitless and endless. You are not a second class citizen but a first class citizen. God loves you and favours you, He is your shield and gathered you to come and dwell in His house forever. 


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