February 27: Psalm 5

February 27: Psalm 5

The struggle with evil

77.77 Double                             Aberystwyth ((Jesus, Lover of my soul), p. 189
St. Georges Windsor (Come, Ye Thankful People, Come)

O Jehovah, hear my words; to my thoughts attentive be,

Hear my cry, my King, my God, for I make my prayer to Thee.

With the morning light, O Lord, thou shalt hear my voice and cry,

In the morn my prayer arrange and keep constant watch will I.

Truly, Thou art not a God that in sin doth take delight;

Evil shall not dwell with Thee, nor the proud stand in Thy sight.

Evildoers Thou dost hate; liars Thou wilt bring to naught.

God abhors the man who loves deed of blood or lying thought.

But in Thine abundant grace to Thy house will I repair;

Looking to Thy holy place, in Thy fear I’ll worship there.

Since, O Lord, mine enemies for my soul do lie in wait,

Lead me in righteousness; make thy way before me straight.

For they flatter with their tongue; in their mouth no truth is found;

Like an open grave their throat; all their thoughts with sin abound.

Hold them guilty, O my God; them for all their sins expel;

Let them fall by their own craft, for against Thee they rebel.

But let all that trust Thy care ever glad and joyful be;

Let them joy who love Thy name, for they guarded are by Thee.

And a blessing rich, O Lord, to the righteous Thou wilt yield;

Thou wilt compass him about with Thy favor as a shield.

The context of our worship is still the life of struggle with evil. When the Christian rises, it is always on the battlefield. Thus, most verses of this psalm explicitly refer to the workers of iniquity, and the psalmist prays fervently against them. When the psalmist prays for the destruction of the wicked, this is not his personal sentiment, so to speak. It is not a prayer of private vindictiveness, but of foundational justice. It is a plea that God vindicate His own moral order. The idea is abroad these days that, whereas the Old Testament God was a no-nonsense Divinity, the God of the New Testament is quite a bit more tolerant. Such an idea would have surprised the Apostles. Indeed, the descriptions of sin in Romans 1 and 3 make a good commentary on many verses of Psalm 5. The loving mercy of God must never be thought of or described in ways suggesting that Christianity is less morally serious than Judaism. The moral sentiments of the psalms are, in this respect, Christian sentiments, and they are highly appropriate in Christian prayer and worship. (Reardon, p.10)

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