But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you.
At first, Psalm 5 struck us as a generic good guy/bad guy prayer without novel description or theological content. But the more we looked, the more we discovered its intricacy!
The psalmist sets up two generic-sounding groups, the righteous and the wicked, and talks about each in alternating stanzas. But the ways he describes them is very specific.
The wicked in this psalm are always wicked through speech: flattery, boasting, lying, deceit. "Their throat is an open grave." The result that the psalmist longs for is that these wicked talkers would "fall by their own counsels."
Apparently, their lies and flattery have left the psalmist confused, and unable to see the way forward. He writes, "Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me." Surrounded by their wicked talk, he needs a straight way.
And this leads us to the psalm's unique insight about this righteous man. Instead of describing his righteousness, the psalmist only describes himself praying, bowing down, offering sacrifices, and (crucially) watching for God's righteousness. It turns out that the righteousness in this psalm doesn't belong to the righteous man at all, except insofar as he receives it from God. It is in God's righteousness that the psalmist asks to be led. It is by God's steadfast love that the psalmist endures. And, just as the wicked man's words would lead him to just destruction, the righteous man becomes righteous through speaking and listening to God. Through prayer and God's righteousness, he is made safe from the confusion and falsehood of his enemies.
Are you watching to perceive and receive the righteousness of God?
How do you respond to confusion or deception?
How will you submit your words to God today?
Read the whole Psalm at the bottom of this update
Wheatstone's requests and praises:
We're asking for earnest, focused prayer for Wheatstone's finances for the rest of this year.
We took some big risks in faith this year: moving to a bigger office, hiring new staff. We prayed and worked and assumed that donations would notch up in pace with the new ministry that these risks permitted, but instead we missed almost all of our fundraising goals, all year long (Student Sponsorships being a huge exception, thank God!). We need this year-end fundraising season to go well, or we will be forced to scale back some of the wonderful growth of the past year. We could keep growing if we caught up over the next few weeks, but we're at a pivot point, and we need your prayers.
Pray that God would abundantly provide for all our needs, and confirm our faith in expanding Wheatstone's ministry for his glory.
This Week's Psalm
Give ear to my words, O LORD;
consider my groaning.
Give attention to the sound of my cry,
my King and my God,
for to you do I pray.
O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies;
the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
will enter your house.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
in the fear of you.
Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness
because of my enemies;
make your way straight before me.
For there is no truth in their mouth;
their inmost self is destruction;
their throat is an open grave;
they flatter with their tongue.
Make them bear their guilt, O God;
let them fall by their own counsels;
because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out,
for they have rebelled against you.
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O LORD;
you cover him with favor as with a shield.