Morning Devotions

Psalm 5

We’re all familiar with Apostle Paul’s exhortation to saints in Philippi: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil. 4:8ESV)

You might wonder: in striving to do this, meet this standard, where do I begin? with what I can see around me? what I can hear in present culture? Here as in other places David sets good example – what to say, think and do that will please God and keep his laws. He achieved that in his:

waking (3)

repeated, emphasized – at daybreak, at very beginning of day

first action – think about God, speak to God, look expectantly to God for response

worshiping (7)

desire and determination to be in God’s house whenever possible

didn’t use personal piety as excuse to skip church – read my Bible, talked to God, that’s an ok substitute

quite the opposite: personal/private devotion fuels desire for public worship

walking (8)

two together (waking/worshiping) result in magnified desire to walk pleasing to the Lord

You and two friends on a merry-go-round in motion, who’s in front? Exactly. Same way with these three aspects of life. But we do have to begin somewhere – at beginning of new day lift heart and thoughts and eyes to God. Meditate on truth about God, meditate on God and conclude with David that God hears; he is holy, he is faithful, and he is just.

A. hearing v.1-3

words and thoughts (1)

verbal expression not necessary for God to hear

asked question: “Do I need to pray out loud for God to hear me?”; clear answer is “no”

God searches the heart and tests the mind (Jer. 17:10), perceives thoughts from afar (Psa. 139:2)

here it’s an expression of distress, maybe that can’t be comprehensively reduced to words

words not necessary for God to understand – “consider”

inability to articulate not a hindrance to prayerful meditation – ask God “look at my heart”; “Holy Spirit, you pray for me”

source of great comfort: fluency of utterance not required for God to hear us

responds to cry for help (2)

hears with intention of acting

prays “give heed”; word when used with man as object expects / requires obedience

when directed toward God by his child, implies expectation that God will respond

King is committed to well-being of his subjects

benevolent king just like good father will grant requests when it is right to do so

audience with king more than gripe session; he has power and authority to act upon what he hears

always available (3)

without regard to time or place

previous psalm speaks of evening practice: “lie down in peace and sleep”

this psalm of morning habit: in the morning 2x

55th Psalm adds noon to evening and morning when psalmist prays and God hears

good way to begin the day, but…, God’s ears no more attentive then

never get the recording that says “all support staff are busy right now; your call will be answered in the order it was received”

nor are we “call annoying” – God’s children receive God’s attention when they call on him; he may not respond in time or way we expect, but is attentive

sources of encouragement: God responds and is always available to hear cries of his children

B. holy v.4-6

Beatles emphasized love: “love, love, love” 6x, “all you need is love” 19x, in a 3-1/2 minute song. Often try to transfer that to God, but that’s not what we see in Scripture. Emphasis is on another attribute: God’s holiness. “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts” (Isa. 6:3) “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty” (Rev. 4:8) Only attribute used in triples – that means something. Also, God doesn’t say “I am love”; he does say “I am holy” (Lev. 19:2; 20:26). If holiness is essential attribute, characteristic of God then….

no delight in or tolerance for evil (4)

finds nothing positive or pleasurable in evil, not even faintly amusing

even a good end arrived at by evil means displeases God

doesn’t see it as opportunity for revenge

does not give evildoers longer leash so they can do more evil and God can derive more delight from punishing them

will not give it “house room”

the King cannot and will not tolerate rebellion in his court

God is holy, lives in unapproachable light (a visual of pure holiness, 1 Tim. 6:16), requires his people to be holy as he is holy (Lev. 11:44, 45; 1 Pet. 1:15, etc.)

recoils from evildoers (5)

revolting and contrary to nature

as contrary as pure light to unrelenting darkness

polar opposites: as far apart as possible, absolutely opposed to one another

contrary to his justice which flows out of his holiness

even when evil does not represent injustice to fellow man, it does to God

God rightly deserves love and worship and obedience from all men, is rightly offended when he doesn’t receive it

the King cannot and will not tolerate rebellion in his court

perfectly holy and righteous one toward rebels: detests, despises, finds them odious, utterly unappealing

persistent willfully rebellious sin makes God’s skin crawl, hold his nose, cover his eyes, want to vomit

loves life and truth (6)

must deal with all who oppose it

cannot escape from what is loathesome and repulsive to him

those who stubbornly refuse to repent face certain destruction, eternal condemnation

Perhaps are hard truths for some. Here’s help: the more we fill our eyes with sight of God in his holiness, better grasp we have of all it means, more we understand the “plague of plagues”, the “exceeding sinfulness of sin”. Ralph Venning The better we grasp that truth, the more we’ll be moved to wonder why God is so longsuffering, how he can tolerate evildoers at all.

C. faithful v.7-8

incentive for worship (7)

because of your great faithfulness I will enter your house” NET

opportunity to look in three directions: God, the wicked, self

when believer sees as God sees, it’s readily apparent: “there but for God’s grace”

contemplating evildoers in light of God’s holiness reminds believer

of what he has escaped by God’s gracious and faithful love

of the greatness of God’s grace and love in redemption

only right response: worship

dependable guidance (8)

guards against harm

protects from enemies’ ambush – their waiting and watching for believer to mess up

can be counted on to guide safely to safety

removes obstacles

makes the right way plain before me – removes anything that would obstruct progress

clears away fog enemies would use to obscure path of God’s choosing

source of confidence: since God is faithful, unchanging, we can depend on him, we can pray and worship and live expectantly (not tentatively or uncertainly)

D. just v.9-12

discriminating in his treatment of

ungodly (9-10)

insincere, wicked, deceitful – portion of what Paul used in Rom. 3:10-18 to show how all apart from God are in same hopeless condition

persistently rebellious against God – key point in David’s prayer!

deserving of condemnation – because of rebellion against God, not a personal thing with David

that God may be pleased to show mercy doesn’t negate real guilt of the ungodly

godly (11-12)

entrust themselves to God’s keeping

contrast to ungodly who remain in their rebellion, animosity against God

love God’s name = love God

receive blessing

joy – great rejoicing because they are recipients of God’s saving mercy

protection – defended and surrounded: defended from any harm, surrounded on all sides by God’s presence

favor / acceptance – because (as we understand it now) of position in Christ, are accepted as true child, shown favor belonging to one of the family

source of courage: right will win because God will win, ultimately and completely; the just will live by their faith, the unjust will die by their unbelief.

So what should we take away from this Psalm? Remember where we began: David’s waking habit led him into heartfelt and passionate worship followed by righteous walking. Begin your day with quiet prayer and meditation on God and his character, thanking and praising him for who he is and what he’s done, seeking his guidance and protection for your day. Follow that with diligent attention and participation in corporate worship. Accompany that with determination to live each moment coram Deo, consciously “living in the presence of, under the authority of, and to the honor and glory of God”.

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