The picture idea came from Derek Kidner’s title for Psalm 5: Clouded Dawn. It brings together that David is praying in the morning because his foes are against him (clouded). I would wholeheartedly urge you to get Kidner’s commentaries on the Psalms. They are brief but rich!
I am focusing on growing in prayer in 2021. So, my eyes and ears are attentive to the mention of prayer these days. Psalm 5 explicitly makes mention of prayer though all the psalms are prayers themselves. Anyway, I perked up when I read this amazing song this morning. My thoughts are few but do go read Kidner.
My own title of this post reflects what I noticed about the occasion of prayer. If we do not have any foes then we may be standing in the way of sinners instead delighting in the law of the Lord (Psalm 1). In this psalm, David’s enemies have voiced their demands and ways which are contrary to God’s. David knows this as easy as knowing that one should not lie or murder or steal. Whatever it is, it’s that obvious.
The psalm literally begins with “My words hear.” This is a bold but necessary demand to Yahweh (and yes, David uses God’s personal name in the text). This demand comes from what is rumbling in his soul–(Ps. 5:1) “consider my inmost thoughts” which are not words but troubled thoughts and uneasy feelings. These groanings burst forth into words, though. We must assume that God’s truth, which David knows, is in contrast with his foes’ demands and that has caused these sighings.
Prayer is fueled by knowing good from evil. What has come from the mouth of David’s opponents is evil much like that of the serpent in the Garden. The serpent is still speaking and deceiving through such people. Eve should have used her words to call for God instead of toying with the enemy. She allowed his words to enter her ears and she looked at what the serpent suggested with her eyes which led to her touching the fruit with her hand and finally tasting with her mouth. The senses should be on guard because they are avenues to our mind and heart.
The same has happened here. David’s senses have taken in the evil of these sinners but instead of joining them he calls upon his King and God! I love the next line–Psalm 5:4 “ADONAI, in the morning you will hear my voice; in the morning I lay my needs before you and wait expectantly.” Ask and watch! Wow. That’s what faith looks like.
David banks on the character of God. The enemies propagate evil and David knows God hates evil. This is quite simple to remember and make use of. God hates wickedness…when you see or hear evil…pray to the Lord against it for God takes no pleasure in it. Kidner points out a striking image of how evil has no place with God–(Ps. 5:4) “no sinner (evil) can be your guest.”
In addition to this, David’s prayer in not banking on his own righteousness and perfect character but fully on the chesed of the Lord–(Ps. 5:7) “But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house.” He seeks God’s guidance in righteous because of his enemies. David longs for the righteous ways of God to be known and prevail in this situation and beyond.
Walking in God’s ways lead to life. Walking in the ways of evil lead to the grave. As the image is supposed to do, the mouth of the wicked is an open grave “waiting for its occupant.” I doubt that anyone has marked off this open grave with caution tape. It is for us to be aware of these pitfalls by knowing the truth.
And finally, though this psalm began in the singular, it ends with plural. This prayer isn’t simply for David’s rescue and most certainly not for David’s praise. But, it is for all to take refuge in the Lord and for the praise of His great Name! Why? (Ps. 5:12) “It is you who bless the upright, Yahweh, you surround them with favour as with a shield.” Because He blesses what is right and good with His favor to protect us like a shield!
- First, know good from evil
- When your soul groans because of evil and enemies, beseech the Lord
- Then watch expectantly
- Trust the character of God…”evil is vulnerable to the truth.”
- Join those who by God’s lovingkindness can enter His presence with exuberant praise!