5:1 Give ear to my words, O Lord,
Consider my groaning.
David begins this Psalm with a note of urgency. He desperately wants for the Lord to hear his supplication and consider his groaning (or meditation). The matter that grips his heart leads him to the only true source of help – the living and holy God of Israel.
Reflect: Is there ever a note of urgency in my prayers? Does my heart ever ache with fear or frustration that must find release in an urgent storm of prayer? Do I long for the Lord to hear my words and consider my meditation?
5:2 Heed the sound of my cry for help,
my King and my God,
For to Thee do I pray.
Just as the painful and fearful cries of a child stir a father to action, so must the cries of David have stirred God to act on his behalf. In time of trouble David prayed to God. He did not take up the matter with others first, but rather took up the matter with God first.
Reflect: On whom do I call first in times of trouble and distress — on others or on God? Can I say with David, “For to Thee do I pray?”
5:3 In the morning, O Lord,
Thou wilt hear my voice;
In the morning I will order
my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch.
David addressed God the first thing in the morning, which speaks of urgency and priority. He did not wait until later in the day to storm heaven with his prayers. His heart would not tolerate any delay in the matter. David addressed God in the morning and then lived his day in expectation of God’s answer. Even his difficult days were filled with meaning and purpose as he eagerly waited and watched to see how God would work on his behalf.
Reflect: Do I begin my day in prayer? Do I begin my day with God? Do I expect to see God work on my behalf in difficult times because I have addressed him in early morning prayer?
5:4 For Thou art not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness;
No evil dwells with Thee.
How we need to be reminded that our God takes no pleasure in wickedness in any form. How unlike man who delights in wickedness and looks for occasions to experience and indulge in it. How unlike man who will tolerate wickedness in its most subtle expressions. How we need to be reminded that absolutely no evil dwells (sojourns) with God. How unlike man who will allow evil to dwell with him in heart and home. What strange comfort men often find with evil.
Reflect: Do I take pleasure in wickedness? Do I take pleasure in “some” wickedness but not “other” wickedness? Do I allow evil to dwell with me? Do I allow evil easy access into my heart and home?
5:5 The boastful shall not stand before Thine eyes;
Thou dost hate all who do iniquity.
The boastful man is always concerned about his standing. His boasting, often fueled by pride, is designed to impress and/or intimidate others, and inflate his own ego. The boastful man is concerned about his standing before others. He is very much concerned about what others think of him. It is interesting to note that the boastful shall not have the very thing he desires, namely standing. The boastful will not stand before God. We should understand this verse in light of Psalm 1:5, “Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.” The boastful man’s preoccupation (or “over-occupation”) with himself causes him to lose sight of God. His own achievements become the focus of his thoughts and affections. David again notes the hatred of God for evil and iniquity. O that we would see evil and iniquity as God sees it.
Reflect: Am I impressed with my achievements? Do I want for others to be impressed by my achievements? Do I want to help others to be impressed by my achievements? Do I constantly dwell on my achievements? Do I dwell on ways in which to promote myself and my achievements before others? Am I so concerned about my standing before others that I will resort to trying to impress and/or intimidate others? Am I so concerned about my standing before others that I will inflate myself with myself? Do I see evil and iniquity as God does? Do I want to?
5:6 Thou dost destroy those who speak falsehood;
The Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit.
Once again we see the concern of God for our speech. As James notes in his epistle, nothing can be so wonderful and wicked as our tongue from which flow blessing and cursing. Falsehood and lies are abhorrent to the Lord. Jesus said in John 8:44, “Whenever he [the devil] speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.” How unlike our Heavenly Father we are when we speak falsehood. How very much like the devil we are when we speak falsehood. Falsehood is dangerous, damaging, and damning.
Reflect: Am I conscious of the danger of speaking falsehood? Am I aware of how easy it is to speak falsehood? Am I cognizant of the fact that a “little white lie” or a convenient distortion of the truth is every bit as much a falsehood as a blatant lie? Am I aware of how damaging a falsehood can be? Am I aware of how detestable a falsehood is to God?
5:7 But as for me, by Thine abundant lovingkindness I will enter
Thy house, At Thy holy temple I will bow
in reverence for Thee.
The little conjunction “but” at once draws a contrast between what has preceded and what follows. Unlike the evil that cannot dwell with God and the boastful who will not stand before God, David is assured that he will enter into the house of God. But lest we think it is by some merit in David, he is quick to point out that it is only possible because of God’s abundant lovingkindness. The reverent attitude of David is also seen against the irreverent attitude of those mentioned in verses 4-6. David was different.
Reflect: Is there a difference between my life and the life of the wicked? Is there a difference between my attitude toward God and the attitude of the wicked toward God? Am I different unto God?
5:8 O Lord, lead me in Thy righteousness because of my foes;
Make Thy way straight before me.
The leadership of the Lord was important to the Psalmist. He asked the Lord to lead him in His righteousness and make straight (or smooth) his way because of his foes (or “those who lie in wait for me”). He knew that his path was full of danger because of his foes. The Psalms refer to the danger posed by adversaries in several places. According to Psalm 57:6, they spread nets and dig pits along the path. According to Psalm 140:5 and 142:3, they also hide snares and set traps along the path. The Psalmist knew that his safety depended upon being carefully led along the path by an experienced and wise guide – in this case, the Lord Himself. He did not want to travel along life’s path without the benefit of the Lord’s leadership.
Reflect: What about me? Am I aware of the dangers along life’s path? Am I aware of how the path is full of danger because of my adversary, the devil, who prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour? (I Peter 5:8) Am I willing to follow the leadership of God who has instructed me in His Word regarding how to avoid the snares along the path?
5:9 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.
This verse amplifies the thoughts of verse 6. The speech of those who speak falsehood is unreliable, untrustworthy, unsafe, and dishonest. Those who speak falsehood use every element of speech to their advantage. In contrast to the guidance of God mentioned in verse 8, any guidance or advice given by those described in verse 9 is dangerous. The wicked often lay snares and nets with their speech, hence the need to look to the Lord for guidance and direction.
Reflect: How much importance do I put upon the words of others? Do I want for people to tell me only what will flatter me? Do I want for people to tell me only what I want to hear or what I need to hear?
5:10 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 Thee.
The Psalmist makes clear that those who speak falsehood (verse 6) and those described in verse 9 have sinned against the Lord, therefore he asks that they be held guilty. Those who speak falsehood are always in danger of falling by their own devices. They are always in danger of entrapping themselves in nets woven by their own lies and pits dug by their own tongues. Once again the Psalmist reminds us that the wicked will not stand before God but will be expelled from His very presence.
Reflect: Am I aware of the importance of integrity in speech? Am I aware of the danger of speaking words against others, words that have every potential of entrapping me?
5:11 But let all who take refuge in Thee be glad,
Let them ever sing for joy;
And mayest Thou shelter them,
That those who love Thy name may exult in Thee.
It is only those who take refuge in Him who will be glad. It is only those who have found secure shelter in Him that are capable of singing for joy. David found great joy in knowing that he was safe in the midst of trouble and danger because God sheltered him.
Reflect: Am I aware of the need to be sheltered by God? Am I aware of the daily need for His sheltering grace? Am I able to rejoice in the midst of trials knowing that I am safely sheltered in the arms of God?
5:12 For it is Thou who dost bless the righteous man, O Lord,
Thou dost surround him with favor as with a shield.
David here acknowledges that it is God who blesses the righteous man. The Psalmist declared in Psalm 84:11-12, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in Thee.” The thought of this verse is amplified in Psalm 1:1-3 which describes the righteous man.
Reflect: Am I daily cognizant of the fact that it is only the righteous man who experiences the blessings of God? Am I concerned about living my life daily as a righteous man, one who walks uprightly?