The Book of Psalms Chapter Five Commentary by
Pastor Ron Beckham
Verses 1-2: "Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my groaning. 2 Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God,
for to You I pray." At some level inside your very being, you want, you need to be HEARD! You speak, but there is so much more going on inside of you than you're able, willing to say. All this creates a gnawing loneliness inside, an "itch" that cannot be adequately "scratched." Outwardly, you may smile or try to keep a neutral, mysterious look, but inside, the face of your soul contorts as you experience in desperation—"Won't somebody HEAR me?" And unfortunately, we can't. Not only are each of us busily attempting to mislead everybody else away from our weaknesses and mistakes, but our abilities to understand one another are limited at best. And that's why we suffer. Separated and alone, people seek, they DEMAND relationships, drugs or other compulsions in an attempt to heal this relentless isolation of the soul. The sad truth is this: Such devices don't heal, don't help. The aim in all this is that we will finally, in desperation, turn to the Lord. "Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God,
for to You I pray," we cry out at last to the One who does hear and does understand our suffering, our groaning inside. We need true HELP that cannot be satisfied by the people and things of this world.
Verse 3: "In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice;
in the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch." There is a reason why prayers in the morning are a good idea. And the same is true for prayers in the evening, as you drift into sleep. There are not-yet-revealed events of each day that will greet you, will greet us all. You and I need the Lord, and so we start the day, not alone, but heart-in-heart with Him in whatever we meet as this day progresses. And at night—we need the satisfying rest that only God can provide. He understands and comforts you in the aching loneliness of your soul. He gets it that you are only a man or woman, boy or girl, unable to defeat or even see "the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places," described in Ephesians 6:12. You need Him. Notice the CONFIDENCE of the human author of this verse in Psalms: "You WILL hear," he said, knowing that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). The faith revealed in the Psalmist is what happens inside when we place our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Something of God Himself is planted deep within, like a seed in a garden, containing His "DNA," if you will, which releases roots, then leaves, a strong trunk and finally fruit from God which you need and so does the world. Faith is confidence, the evidence of God within. He does hear you, and your acceptance of His faith in you is like water to a newborn tree, milk to an infant and love for the lonely. Start and end the day with prayer and eagerly watch as His righteousness grows within. Your frown becomes a smile as You greet each day with trust in the Lord.
Verse 4: "For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness;
no evil dwells with You." The world cries out after every disaster—"How could a good God do this? How could He allow this to happen?" as though He had done something wrong. But He did not do wrong. As this is written, terrible storms and killer earthquakes have rocked many in the world. Is God like you, when you find the poisonous spider on the floor in your home and you step on the creature quickly to eliminate it from your house? Did you discuss the matter with the spider before you killed him? Do you care at all, or are you just relieved the creature is gone? From the spider's perspective, the home owner who killed him would seem wicked, evil, and that is our problem. We see God from a limited perspective, not getting it that He hates sin but loves you. Back to the homeowner—is there a baby in a crib in the next room and the spider is a threat to the child's safety? The spider could not know that. We didn't explain it to the spider, but in this series of books we call the "Bible," God is patiently explaining everything to us. Through His Holy Spirit, He expresses Himself in storms, quakes, trouble, gentleness and love, revealing He is GOOD, bringing people like you and me into His love. In His Word and even in the storm and trembling earth, God is revealing Himself, reaching out, that someone, maybe you, will turn to Him.
Verses 5-6: "The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes;
You hate all who do iniquity. 6 You destroy those who speak falsehood;
the Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit." You, like the rest of us, have a certain intellect, bodily structure and abilities... you may be able to run fast, people may say you are good looking, capable and "smart"—qualities you are likely to emphasize and even boast about. But... shhh... let's talk! Just you and me... Did you create yourself? if you are "smart," was your brain something you designed and implemented? You can enhance what you have through exercise, study and effort of all kinds... but the skills you have, did you invent them? To think that we did and to try and convince ourselves and others of our abilities, is to be "boastful" in the sight of God. He knows that self-love of that sort comes from a fear that our weaknesses will be discovered, and lead to what He calls "iniquity." We are all simply people created by God for His purposes, ultimately to help others and ourselves trust in the Lord. "Deceit" is like "bloodshed" to Him, and He hates such "falsehood" because it ends in destruction. He does not "destroy" anyone because he dislikes us, but the death of a boastful sinner can be like a cancer removed from an already sin-sick world. Let's boast in the Lord, not in ourselves—before it's too late.
Verse 7: "But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house, at Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You." Like this author in the Book of Psalms, the later-in-time Paul the Apostle learned much about the Lord. Both authors discovered that we do not participate in His "house," His "holy temple" through some effort on our part. The word "chesed" is translated here and in other places as "lovingkindness," which I believe describes a contract of love, offered to the one who says "yes" to the Lord. He offers, we accept, based on something of great value, which is the blood of Christ. All this is extremely personal, as Paul described in 1 Corinthians 6:19—"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own." If you pray in the morning, as Verse 3 in this chapter suggests, the Holy Spirit, already in the faithful, comes anew, filling our hearts, our prayers with a special love and a hunger for more of Him. We "bow in reverence" before the God who first loved us. We are no longer just ourselves—we are His—in a very personal and everlasting way.
Verse 8: "O Lord, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes;
make Your way straight before me." One of the mistakes made by all of us in some way or another, is to conclude we somehow establish a link with God because of some kind of "good works" we perform. A second error is to decide that we can live a life of "righteousness" through human effort. God Himself is the One who is righteous. He brings His righteousness into the very center of our being, through the faith He has allowed in us. We are blind to righteousness but He can see, and we ask You, Lord, to "lead (us) in YOUR righteousness." Only He knows where we are supposed to go, what we should do, and there are "foes" in our future who are against all this. We don't see them, but He does. The most effective way to get somewhere is in a straight line—He knows the goal uniquely created for each one, and leads us in "righteousness."
Verse 9: "There is nothing reliable in what they say;
their inward part is destruction itself.
Their throat is an open grave;
they flatter with their tongue." The author of this Psalm, who likely was David the King, noticed what we all should see—there is something terribly wrong with humanity, and it's not just "them"—it's all of us. In Walt Kelly's "Pogo" comic strip I remember from when I was a boy, one of Pogo's recurring comments was: "We has met the enemy and he is us." Mr. Kelly died in 1973, but his astute comments through swamp animals like Pogo, live on. Have you noticed the lack of reliability in the words of reporters, politicians, historians, and when you think about it—everybody else? Words can be hurtful, often leading to "destruction." Flattery is not the answer; instead we are to be "speaking the truth in love, growing up into... Christ" as Paul so beautifully said in Ephesians 4:15.
Verse 10: "Hold them guilty, O God;
by their own devices let them fall!
In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out,
for they are rebellious against You." What do guilty people need?—they need, WE need—a pardon! Prayer includes a petition to the Governor, asking that the penalty for the crimes we committed be set aside, along with a release from further judgment. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). God does not excuse our sin, our deceitfulness or the harm we have caused others. Instead He has provided a Way for us, as seen in Romans 6:23—"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, in Christ Jesus our Lord." Religious activities are meant to make a person more acceptable in the sight of God. Looking at history and the world around us, we find that it has not worked out very well. One religious group attacks another. Religious people so often become bigoted. We need the Lord, who died for our sins and gave Himself for your sins and mine. We are sentenced to death; He gives us life.
Verse 11: "But let all who take refuge in You be glad,
let them ever sing for joy;
and may You shelter them,
that those who love Your name may exult in You." The grace of God, offered through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only true "refuge" offered to humanity. Our bodies are always vulnerable here in this existence, but when we trust in the Lord, we find eternal safety. I may lose the car I drive around in or the house I live in, and it is like that for our bodies. For the faithful, to lose external things is only a temporary, partial loss. In faith, the Lord creates an eternal place of refuge—safety forever. Here's your assignment: Go and read Isaiah 55, and prayerfully let that chapter answer the questions of Isaiah 55:2—"Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy?" What are your goals in life? What are you doing to achieve them? Do you trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for—everything?
Verse 12: "For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield." We are drawn to perform "righteous" acts because God is in us, revealing His intentions, and He becomes a "shield" around us, ensuring that His perfect will is expressed through us. The source of righteousness in your life is this: "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). You and I don't have to be great, or even be known by anyone—if God knows us and we know Him, we've got it all. He is calling you and me, each to a unique life He has chosen. "Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will bring it to pass" (Psalm 37:5).
Lord, forgive my sins. Help me to pray in the mornings, evenings and at all times. Be my refuge, my shelter. Bless my life, Lord, and lead me in the way of righteousness. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Thank You. In Jesus Name. Amen.