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Psalm 5
by David Hawken

Reflections (Bible Studies) on the Psalms David Hawken
Trust in God for Deliverance from Enemies
To the choirmaster: for the flutes. A Psalm of David.
5 Give ear to my words, O LORD;
give heed to my groaning.
2 Hearken to the sound of my cry,
my King and my God,
for to thee do I pray.
3 O LORD, in the morning thou dost hear my voice;
in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for thee, and watch.
4 For thou art not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil may not sojourn with thee.
5 The boastful may not stand before thy eyes;
thou hatest all evildoers.
6 Thou destroyest those who speak lies;
the LORD abhors bloodthirsty and deceitful men.
7 But I through the abundance of thy steadfast love
will enter thy house,
I will worship toward thy holy temple
in the fear of thee.
8 Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness
because of my enemies;
make thy way straight before me.
9 For there is no truth in their mouth;
their heart is destruction,
their throat is an open sepulchre,
they flatter with their tongue.
10 Make them bear their guilt, O God;
let them fall by their own counsels;
because of their many transgressions cast them out,
for they have rebelled against thee.
11 But let all who take refuge in thee rejoice,
let them ever sing for joy;
and do thou defend them,
that those who love thy name may exult in thee.
12 For thou dost bless the righteous, O LORD;
thou dost cover him with favour as with a shield.
The introduction to this Psalm tells the choirmaster who’ll be leading the chanting or singing that there should be flutes, ready to play. Friends of mine will know that I’ve nothing against flutes but often say “How could a loving God have allowed saxophones to be invented?”
The loving God of whom we love to speak shows both sides of His nature in this Psalm - of course He is loving but there are things that He hates. He hates evil and He hates evildoers. That is because His nature is love.
The contrast in this Psalm is quite startling. David, the Psalmist, is so confident in this love that every morning he can pray to God and know that he will be heard. For those who delight in wickedness, who are boastful¸ who are liars, David prays that the love of God may change them from their evil ways.
This prayer is made in humility. How often, when we come across badness of any kind, do we think and speak judgementally, as if we were gods ? We can talk about “justice” to right wrongs when, perhaps without consciously thinking or expressing it, we mean ‘revenge’ . David, being aware of his own shortcomings, reacts in two ways: he may well call down the wrath of God on evildoers (as do we sometimes) but he recognises that their thoughts and actions separate them from God, and what greater punishment can there be ? Also he asks that his own life may be such as points to God in such a way as others will repent.
Instead he prays that all people may take refuge in our loving heavenly Father. By no means does he make light of sin, but he shows the way forward. Those who turn back to God can Exult (what a wonderful word!) in Him.
Samuel Sebastian Wesley took the words of Psalm 5 verse 8 and wrote this much-loved, simple anthem:
Lead me, Lord, lead me in thy righteousness, make thy way plain before my face. For it is thou, Lord, thou, Lord only, that makest me dwell in safety.
This is David’s prayer, not only for himself, but for his enemies, for those who oppose him, for all who rebel against the Almighty. May God give to us all that same sense of humility and faith in Him. We trust in God’s everlasting mercy and we try to lead others to Him:
There’s a way back to God from the dark paths of sin;
There’s a door that is open, and you may go in;
At Calvary’s cross is where you begin, when you come as a sinner to Jesus.
Just as this message was expressed by David, so it applies now, short-term and for eternity.

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