Scripture

Psalm 5

Listen to my words, Lord,
    consider my lament.
Hear my cry for help,
    my King and my God,
    for to you I pray.

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
    in the morning I lay my requests before you
    and wait expectantly.
For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
    with you, evil people are not welcome.
The arrogant cannot stand
    in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;
    you destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful
    you, Lord, detest.
But I, by your great love,
    can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
    toward your holy temple.

Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness
    because of my enemies—
    make your way straight before me.
Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
    their heart is filled with malice.
Their throat is an open grave;
    with their tongues they tell lies.
10 Declare them guilty, O God!
    Let their intrigues be their downfall.
Banish them for their many sins,
    for they have rebelled against you.
11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
    let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
    that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

12 Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
    you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Reflection

This is another Psalm of lament, the author yearns to worship God, to lead a life of righteousness, but “enemies” prevent him from doing so. Whether these were literal enemies or enemies of the soul, we do not know. But the author’s faith and trust in God are evident. This is a prayer of humility and reverence. The Psalmist prays expectantly. He humbles himself before God, admitting his weakness, and acknowledges that it is God’s grace (love) that allows him to worship in the first place. 

 

The Psalmist recognizes his shortcomings and asks for help. All the while the writer remembers it is by God’s grace that all of us are able to come into God’s presence. And in the end, the Psalmist asks for blessings not just for himself, but for all who seek refuge in the Lord.

 

There is a fine line between humility and low self-esteem. So don’t read this as an excuse to beat yourself up. Instead see it as a reminder that none of us are perfect and we all, every one of us, need God’s grace. As one wise Pastor I know always says, “God is God and we are not. And that should give us peace.”

Prayer

Dear Lord, let me hear your word anew. Guide me to open my heart and my soul to your ways. Please hear my prayers, my cries, my celebrations, and my worries. Be with me as I navigate this world. Show me how to use my whole life to serve you and your purposes. Thank you, Lord, for this day. Amen.