Psalm 5 | Righteous Prayer (part 2)
DAVID GOFF | june 3, 2020
as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy;
In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.
Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies;
Make Your way straight before my face.
is no faithfulness in their mouth;
Their inward part is destruction;
Their throat is an open tomb;
They flatter with their tongue.
Pronounce them guilty, O God!
Let them fall by their own counsels;
Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions,
For they have rebelled against You.
let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You.
For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield.
Last week we started a two-part devotion on the topic of prayer. In the first two paragraphs of Psalm 5, we saw David’s example of a righteous prayer. His prayer showed us how to pray by approaching the Lord as king and to acknowledge his character. This week we will look at the way that David prays for righteousness and guidance during a time when he is wrongly attacked.
When we make important decisions without consulting the Lord in prayer, our selfish independence often leads to brokenness and a failure to bring glory to God. As we continue our look at Psalm 5, we see David’s prayer provide us with a better example. Rather than relying upon himself, he looks to the Lord for his righteousness and guidance.
With this in mind, let’s look at two truths about prayer we find in Psalm 5:7-12:
Pray with thanksgiving
As we jump back into the Psalm, we see David pray with thanksgiving as he anticipates being welcomed into the Lord’s house (Psalm 5:7a). Although the wicked are forbidden, those who put their faith in Him are welcomed into His presence. David realizes this great privilege is not due to anything he has done - but due to the multitude of the Lord’s mercy and His wondrous works. He sees it as a privilege to be welcomed into the tabernacle where His glory dwells!
DeYoung also reflects on this great privilege in his book, The Hole in our Holiness, with these words:
Prayer (this side of heaven) will always be hard and will always take discipline, but when I see it as a means to communion with God, it feels more like a “get to” than a “have to.”
When we bow our head to pray, I wonder if we have that same sense of thanksgiving that David shows here? As Christians, we additionally have the promise that whatever we ask in Jesus’ name He will do; that the Father may be glorified (John 14:13). I am so thankful that we “get to” pray in Jesus’ name!
When we come to the Lord with a spirit of thanksgiving, it prepares our heart to receive His guidance.
Pray for guidance
As we come to verse 8, David prays that the Lord would lead him in righteousness and guide his way. Unlike his enemies who lived “by their own counsels” (Psalm 5:10) David desired the counsel of the Lord:
Lead me, O Lord, in Your
righteousness because of my enemies;
Make Your way straight before my face. (Psalm 5:8)
Oh, how appropriate it was for David to ask the Lord to lead him, for He is the source of righteousness. W.S. Plumer, in his commentary on Psalms, says it this way, “Without Christ’s righteousness imputed to us [it] would send us all to endless ruin.” David certainly understood his dependence upon the Lord’s righteousness each day of his life.
Of particular concern to David was that he would model righteousness before his enemies. He knew that if he were to falter, they would undoubtedly pounce on him, destroying his testimony. So, David prays to be led in righteousness. We, too, need to be reminded that we are the light of the world, and our righteousness and testimony matter.
In the second part of verse 8, David asks the Lord to, “Make Your way straight before my face” (Psalm 5:8). I imagine that David had a desperate need to know God’s direction for his life during his season of difficulty. Yet, above all the specifics, he wanted to make sure his decision would please God. That’s was what was most important to David.
Maybe you are wondering what God’s will is for your life. What should I do next? You know, sometimes we get hung up waiting for the voice of the Lord to direct our next move. Although we should pray to the Lord for things both big and small, we need to be reminded by Jesus’ words, which say, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). So, as you face decisions, first pray that God would lead you into His righteousness and that your choice would be pleasing to Him. This is truly God’s will for your life.
When we make important decisions in our life, there is a temptation to do so without consulting the Lord in prayer. When we embrace selfish independence - it only leads to brokenness and a life that fails to bring God glory. Yet, we can be thankful for the opportunity to approach the Lord in prayer and seek His guidance, particularly during times of persecution.
David Goff is the Associate Pastor of First Baptist Church, Washington MI