Friday Devo – Psalm 5

I recently began sending the students in CSF a brief reflection on a Psalm each Friday.  My hope is that it will provide them with some motivation to read scripture.  I have enjoyed meditating on the Psalms, and I look forward to taking the next few years to get through them all!  I decided it might be worthwhile to post the weekly devos here, so if you happen to read this, I pray it is helpful.  Enjoy.
Psalm 5
For the director of music. For pipes. A psalm of David.
      1 Listen to my words, LORD,
consider my lament.
2 Hear my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
      3 In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.

What do you do when you first wake up in the morning?  Check your phone?  How does this set a tone for your day?

Challenge – begin each day with 5 minutes of silence and prayer.

4 For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
with you, evil people are not welcome.
5 The arrogant cannot stand
in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;
6      you destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful
you, LORD, detest.

Does God hate?  That seems harsh. What do you think?

How much does our reaction tell us about our own life?  I think of the shooter in Florida last week and I imagine if it was my child gunned down…any view of God that does not hate such evil, that can’t call it what it is and condemn it, seems disconnected from real pain and suffering.

      7 But I, by your great love,
can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
toward your holy temple.

      8 Lead me, LORD, in your righteousness
because of my enemies—
make your way straight before me.

What are you struggling with?

Find life and love in the presence of God.  Jesus preached that God is close to the broken, and that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled (Matt. 5:6).  Note, such righteousness is not just an inner spiritual feeling but is akin to justice; it is a hunger for God’s love and mercy to fill the world, for wholeness and peace.

9 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.
Above we questioned the idea of God hating.  But if we only examine evil as something outside ourselves, we miss the point.  Paul quoted verses 9-10 in Romans 3 where he concludes that all humans are evil.  I am reading Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s account of the Russian work camps, illustrating the deep evil of Soviet communism.  He notes though that the truth about evil is not that it is out there, but it cuts through each of us.  I may look at the world and wonder how evil people can do such things, but they’re as human as I am.  We’re all capable of evil and we’re all broken.  Jesus reminds us that anger towards someone is murdering that person in your heart.

We take solace in the faith that God’s love is bigger than anything else about God.  As the late Billy Graham preached, any and all people are welcome to take refuge in God.  Jesus died for all of us and as we have faith, God will surround us with favor.  The only thing keeping us out , any of us, is our own anger and hatred.

This is one place to remember that the Psalms reflect humans relating to God and are often beautiful.  Yet a Christian interpretation must hold up Jesus , the clearest revelation of God, next to the Psalms.  Without Jesus, we might be tempted to take this Psalm as a way to point at evil people out there while we are the good guys with God; with Jesus, we know we are the bloodthirsty and those who speak lies and our only hope is God’s love and forgiveness.

Have a blessed weekend.

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