1 Give ear to my words, O LORD,
Consider my meditation.
2 Give heed to the voice of my cry,
My King and my God,
For to You I will pray.
3 My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD;
In the morning I will direct it to You,
And I will look up. (New King James Bible)
It is interesting to read Psalm 5.
This is King David, the Psalmist, teaching us how to pray.
Firstly, we understand that David was facing some trouble in his life.
This is the first way in which he deals with his trouble:
Praying is not David's only response to his trouble, but it is his FIRST response.
We notice that David prays ALOUD and not in his mind.
We know he prays aloud because of these words in the Psalm:
verse 1: Give ear to my words, O LORD . . .
verse 2: Give heed to the voice of my cry . . .
For to You I will pray . . .
verse 3: My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD.
Though this prayer is prayed out loud, it is not shouted at God, but probably prayed in a quiet voice, in an intimate setting.
The Lord to whom David prays is not a strange God, but we understand from the sound of his prayer that this is Someone with whom David is acquainted. He is not a God that David comes to only when he is troubled.
This Psalm lets us know that David comes to fellowship with God every morning.
This is how he has become acquainted with God.
This is how he is absolutely sure that God will help him in this time of trouble.
Every morning David directs his prayer to the Lord God Almighty,
AND DAVID LOOKS UP!!
Why does he look up? Why is that important for him to look up every morning?
When we are in trouble, we humans tend to look down, both physically and in our inner person.
David looks up when he prays because he is lifting both his physical eyes and the eyes of his soul to the Lord.
When he looks up, he is saying to himself and to the Lord, that his hope is in God.
Hope is essential if we are to believe that God will hear us and give us His help in trouble.
We need to learn to pray this way too.
4 For You are not a God
who takes pleasure in wickedness,
Nor shall evil dwell with You.
5 The boastful shall not stand in Your sight;
You hate all workers of iniquity.
6 You shall destroy those who speak falsehood;
The LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. (New King James Bible)
In Psalm 5, King David is teaching us how he prays.
He lets us know that in order to develop confidence in God, prayer has to be practised every morning.
He tells us that he prays aloud: that is, not in his mind, but loud enough for himself to hear.
He says that the Lord must hear "my voice", even if I am in trouble and I must cry to Him.
He tells us that when he prays, he takes his eyes off the problem that is facing him, and he looks UP to the Lord with expectation.
Next, David turns his attention to the character of his God: who God is NOT.
God does not deal in wickedness or evil.
God does not pay attention to arrogant or boastful people, or people who practise any kind of sin as a lifestyle.
God knows that those who live by lies, violence and deceit are headed for destruction.
David is directing himself into God's kind of LIFE: he definitely does not want any kind of destruction dominating his days.
David is reminding himself of these things because he is saying to himself and to the Lord,
"If any of these things have crept into me, I don't want any of them in my life!"
He is also telling the Lord that just in case any of these are in his life and offending God, David does not want them there.
David is confessing his sins and humbling himself before the Lord.
The Apostle John puts it this way in writing to Christians:
1 John 1:
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (New King James Bible)
These declarations from the Apostle John are straightforward and compelling.
7 But as for me,
I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy;
In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple. (New King James Bible)
Having confessed his sins and humbled himself before the Lord, in verse 7, David gets back to his manner of prayer.
He says that he will come into God's presence remembering how the Lord's steadfast love and mercy have surrounded his life.
Sometimes we rush into God's presence in a hurry to bring our requests before Him, and how much we need His help. But we take no time before that to bow our hearts in reverence and awe at how mighty is the God who has made Himself available to puny, human me.
Today is a great day to consider His wondrous mercy, as David did in Psalm 18:
1 I LOVE You fervently and devotedly, O Lord, my Strength.
2 The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer;
my God, my keen and firm Strength
in Whom I will trust and take refuge,
my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower.
3 I will call upon the Lord, Who is to be praised;
so shall I be saved from my enemies.
4 The cords or bands of death surrounded me,
and the streams of ungodliness and the torrents of ruin terrified me.
5 The cords of Sheol - the place of the dead - surrounded me;
the snares of death confronted and came upon me.
6 In my distress - when seemingly closed in -
I called upon the Lord and cried to my God;
He heard my voice out of His temple,
He heard my voice out of His heavenly dwelling place,
and my cry came before Him,
into His very ears. (The Amplified Bible)
This is the frame of mind in which we need to approach our Lord, God:
reverence, worship, submission and gratitude.
11 But let all those rejoice
who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy,
because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You. (New King James Bible)
Now that David has explained his situation to the Lord, and rested his burden in the Lord, this frees him to rejoice!
To David, rejoicing means to
"trust in the Lord",
"shout for joy",
"know for sure that the Lord is defending him",
"direct the love of his heart to the Lord".
Rational thinking says,
"How can you rejoice without first seeing a positive result from your prayer. After all, you haven't yet seen the Lord do anything. You simply prayed!"
The difference between David's rejoicing and our rational thought is this:
When I pray, if I believe that God has heard me and has answered my prayer, the only rational response is to rejoice!
Does this mean that all my problems are over and that my enemies no longer want to destroy me?
But rejoicing is a demonstration of my faith in God.
Faith and rejoicing mean that I believe and know that God has my situation in hand as is working it out with my best interest in view.
Romans 8:28 puts it this way:
We are assured and know that all things work together and are fitting into a plan for good to and for those who love God and are called according to His design and purpose. (The Amplified Bible)
12 For You, O LORD,
will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him
as with a shield. (New King James Bible)
In verse 12 the Psalmist completes his instructions on prayer by reminding himself of the promises of God and claiming them for himself: David states that the promise of the Lord is to bless the righteous and surround the righteous with favour like a shield.
When I open my heart to the Lord Jesus Christ and trust Him to cleanse me from sin with His blood, the Lord counts me as righteous. He gives me His own righteousness.
When we doubt God's love for us - when we begin thinking that He is not really working things out with our best interest at heart - it is like pushing aside the shield of favour from our life and heart.
This makes us vulnerable to the attacks of our enemy, the devil, who is seeking to destroy us at every turn.
That is why we need to always keep before us the truth that our Father's favour is upon our lives and that He covers us with this favour like a shield.
What does this shield look like? you ask.
This shield is like the one carried by the armour-bearer of Goliath, the giant conquered by David.
The shield of favour is roughly the width and height of the modern front door of a house: 80 inches or 2 meters tall; and 36 inches or 90 cm wide. This means that God's favour covers every part of us and then some more too.
What does His favour include? you ask.
First, God's favour is the general blessing of our Father upon our path in life, because we are now walking in His path of righteousness.
This means for starters that the shield enables me to receive God's direction and guidance without interference from my enemy, Satan, who is always trying to divert me from the path of righteousness and lead me into destruction.
Next, God's favour flows into our life when we increasingly put our faith in Him. Putting my faith in Him pleases Him greatly and our increasing faith fixes the shield of favour even more protectively on our life.
As I read the Word of God daily and seek to obey it and make it the foundation of my life, this too opens up the favour of God to flow into my life.
Therefore as I obey His Word and claim His promises to be true in my own life, I observe how God's favour covers more and more areas of my life, just like a shield protects and defends a soldier.
The Lord Jesus Christ shows is what it means to set my life to receive God's favour like a shield. This is how He did it:
19 Then Jesus answered and said to them,
"Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever the Father does, the Son also does in like manner. (New King James Bible)
today I set my heart and life to take seriously Your Word and Your commitment to me.
Thank You for the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ which cleanses me from all sin.
Thank You for Your Word and Your promise to cover me with favour like a shield.
Today I commit my heart and life to You.
As You cover me with favour today,
I ask that You also make me a blessing to You and use me to bring Your kingdom into the earth,
in the name of the Lord Jesus, I pray, Amen.