Starting the Day on the Right Path (Psalm 5)

Today’s post is from A Meditative Journey Through the Psalms by Timothy and Julie Tennent. He serves as the president of Asbury Theological Seminary among other posts he holds across the global church. She is a gifted musician and was one of the driving forces that helped bring to fruition the Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise. We will share some of their writing on the Psalms over the next few Sundays. NOTE: there will not be an audio version for these entries.

Psalm 5 (NIV)

Listen to my words, Lord,
    consider my lament.
Hear my cry for help,
    my King and my God,
    for to you I pray.

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
    in the morning I lay my requests before you
    and wait expectantly.
For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
    with you, evil people are not welcome.
The arrogant cannot stand
    in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;

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.



If Psalm 4 (last Sunday’s Wake-Up Call) sets forth the basic framework for evening prayer, Psalm 5 is the pattern for morning prayer: “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation” (v. 3). Morning prayer is essential for setting ourselves on the path of the way of righteousness. As the day begins, we draw the line and put ourselves on the right side of righteousness. Before the day begins to unfold and we have even the first opportunity to squander our time, engage in evil thoughts and conversations, do any evil deed, or, in general, lose our moral courage to stand in the way of righteousness, this morning prayer sets us on the right path. We remind ourselves at the outset that God takes no “pleasure in evil” (v. 4). He does not dwell with the wicked, and in the end, the “arrogant cannot stand in [his] presence” (v. 5).

Today, Christians are inundated with a domesticated, overly sentimentalized view of God. This psalm shakes us awake and calls us to realign our thinking about God according to Scripture, not popular sentiments and cultural trends that can easily crowd out a biblical perspective on life. One of the biggest surprises comes in verse 5, where the psalmist declares that God hates “all who do wrong.” It is important to remember that when the Bible refers to love and hate, it does not correspond particularly well with the ways those two words are used today. For example, the word hate does not refer to any kind of angry emotion God has toward someone, as might be ref lected in the phrase, “I hate you.” Rather, when the Bible says God “hates” something, it means that he stands covenantally opposed to it. He stands with a drawn sword in the way of sin; he does not go along with it. To “hate” all those who do wrong is to “stand against” all those who oppose God’s righteous reign and rule in the world.

We need this daily reminder that God will someday return to judge the world and establish his reign. Indeed, Psalm 5 is one of the key passages that Paul quotes in Romans 3 to establish the captivating sinfulness of the world: “Their throat is an open grave; with their tongue they speak deceit” (v. 9; see Rom. 3:13). The only hope we have of escaping God’s righteous judgment is to “take refuge” in the Lord (v. 11). The “shield” (v. 12), which the psalmist promises will protect the people of God, is in fact brought back to us in the book of Ephesians. Paul tells us to “take up the shield of faith,” which is to cast ourselves upon the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ. This, in turn, enables us to “extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Eph. 6:16). It is through Christ that we are finally established as the people of righteousness.

For the Awakening,
Timothy and Julie Tennent


Sing Psalm 5 with the Seedbed Psalter today! Visit the free resource here or purchase the book A Metrical Psalter: The Book of Psalms Set to Meter for Singing here.

P. S. 

Several years ago we published a book called A Meditative Journey Through the Psalms by Timothy and Julie Tennent. Find today’s entry and writing on the rest of the Psalms in this beautiful resource. Order a copy of A Meditative Journey Through the Psalms from our store here.

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

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