Listen to my words, O Lord, Consider my groaning and sighing. Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, For to You I pray. In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will prepare [a prayer and a sacrifice] for You and watch and wait [for You to speak to my heart]. For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil [person] dwells with You. The boastful and the arrogant will not stand in Your sight; You hate all who do evil. You destroy those who tell lies; The Lord detests and rejects the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. But as for me, I will enter Your house through the abundance of Your steadfast love and tender mercy; At Your holy temple I will bow [obediently] in reverence for You. O Lord, lead me in Your righteousness because of my enemies; Make Your way straight (direct, right) before me. For there is nothing trustworthy or reliable or truthful in what they say; Their heart is destruction [just a treacherous chasm, a yawning gulf of lies].Their throat is an open grave; They [glibly] flatter with their [silken] tongue. Hold them guilty, O God; Let them fall by their own designs and councils! Cast them out because of the abundance of their transgressions, For they are mutinous and have rebelled against You. But let all who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice, Let them ever sing for joy; Because You cover and shelter them, Let those who love Your name be joyful and exult in You. For You, O Lord, bless the righteous man [the one who is in right standing with You]; You surround him with favor as with a shield.
Psalm 5: 1-12
In Psalm 5 David begins the morning with a sigh and a cry to God. The two are not the same. One, the sigh or groan, slips from you as you look in the morning mirror, sit at the breakfast table, or put the dishes in the sink. Memory or imagination evokes in you moments of the past and fears of the present or future. You may be filled with wistfulness and a soft sigh slips from your heart as you long for an end to sorrow and a reentry of joy.
But there are times far more shrill. Once as a child I almost drowned. I did not let out a sigh; I let out a cry. A cry reflects a heart in great danger and emergency.
Sighing and crying may bring catharsis but David derives great comfort from knowing that One hears him. We may even be more assured than David for we know the Holy Spirit understands and interprets the unarticulated words in our sighing as He interceded for us before the throne of God.
To truly understand this psalm, we must consider its author, King David. As a king, he knew what it was like to be the last resort for someone bringing a petition and the hope they had in his character as a good and just ruler.
David knew that such was the King of Heaven and we, too, can confidently bring our request to the eternal King because He stands opposed to evil and wickedness.
David chooses to throw himself on the mercy of God and to continue worshipping despite his reverses.
George Wood poses the following: “Are you relying completely upon the Lord in your time of need? The enemy tells you to turn away from God’s house, that Jesus abandoned you, and His people do not care. But the Holy Spirit through this psalm tells you that your deliverance from this dark hour will come as you draw near to Him. Surrender and trust.”
In this psalm David does what we may find the easiest when we have been burned by someone we trusted or wronged by someone we love. He prays for the reformation of the other person. That’s the easy solution we think since they were the ones who acted wrong. But whenever God allows us to experience such, sometimes He wishes us to ask Him to change us. Christ responded to betrayal, denial, and abandonment with forgiveness and with His help we can too.
George Wood says, “The wounds of life force dependence upon God. The mighty blows of alienation, betrayal, insensitivity toss you into raging waters. You are carried in a surge far more powerful than yourself. The harder you try to survive, the more you sink beneath the surface. Only God can rescue you.’
In the conclusion of Psalm 5, David leads to the following conclusion:
“But let all who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice,Let them ever sing for joy;Because You cover and shelter them,Let those who love Your name be joyful and exult in You. For You, O Lord, bless the righteous man [the one who is in right standing with You];You surround him with favor as with a shield.”
We may not always escape the bitter things of life. The sin nature of humanity often brings hurt, distress, wrongs, and trouble and even as Christians, we aren’t exempt from walking through these dark places. David describes God as a refuge. A refuge is a place of safety in the storm. Refuges are built where storms rage not in places of peaceful existence and their value is minimal in times of ease. Their real value shines in the storm and the darker the storm the brighter the refuge. David tells us that even in the storm we can sing for joy and not through some bravado but because we are covered by God in that storm. The last line says it best. “You surround him with favor as with a shield.” The favor of God in the darkest of storms is better than the favor of men in the best of times. And every distress we find ourselves in becomes an opportunity for God to surround us with His favor.
There’s an old hymn that says it this way:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full into His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
In your distress seek the face of God.
Dr. John Thompson