Psalm 5: Part 1 of 7 (series: Lessons on Psalms)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

Thursday, January 9, 2014
Tom Lowe

Psalm 5—Perfect Man in the Midst of Enemies.

1 Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.
2 Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.
3 My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.
4 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.
5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
6 Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.
7 But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.
8 Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.
9 For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.
10 Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee.
11 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.
12 For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.


This psalm is also thought to be a psalm of David. There is evidence in the psalm itself that the author at the time of its composition was beset by enemies, but the occasion on which the psalm was composed is not specified. At least one prominent commentator believes that the psalm was composed during the time of Saul, and that it references the persecutions which David experienced at that time; but most interpreters have assigned it to the time of Absalom‘s rebellion. The psalm may be divided into four parts:

I. An earnest prayer of the author to God to hear him; to listen to his cry, and to deliver him, verses: 1-3.
II. An expression of unwavering confidence in God as the protector and the friend of the righteous, and the enemy of all wickedness, verses 4-7.
III. A Prayer to God for His guidance and protection while he is under this duress, verses 8-10.
IV. An exhortation for all to put their trust in God, verses 11-12.


1 Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.

Give ear to my words, O Lord.

We naturally incline the ear toward anyone when we wish to hear clearly what he says, and we turn away the ear when we do not. The meaning here is that David prayed that God honor him by listening to his prayer, that he would pay attention to his “words”—to what he was about to “express” as his great desire. He intended to convey only what he wished to be granted.

Consider my meditation

He calls his prayer his “meditation,” to signify that it was not merely words, but that it proceeded from, and was accompanied with, the deepest thoughts and most fervent cares of his soul.

He wanted the Lord to carefully think about what he called here his “meditation;” that is, he desired him not merely to listen to his “words,” but to the secret and unexpressed desires of his soul. The idea seems to be that while his words would be sincere and truthful, yet they could not express “all” he wanted to convey. There were desires of the soul which no language could convey—deep, unuttered “groanings” “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27)., which could not be expressed in language. It is not easy to determine the true meaning of the word translated “meditation,” but in all probability it refers to an internal emotion—an intense, passionate feeling—perhaps finding partial expression in sighs Romans 8:26, but which does not find expression in words, and which words could not convey. He prayed that God would listen to the “entirety” of his soul’s desires—whether expressed or unexpressed.

David knew Him to be a prayer-hearing God, Psalms 65:2, and that his ears were always open to hear complaints and requests: that’s why he had such great confidence in prayer.

2 Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.

Hearken unto the voice of my cry.

David’s cry is for assistance. The word “voice” refers to the utterance, expression, and communication of his desires, or to his “expressed” wishes in a time of trouble. It seems to mean more than groans or words, more like a loud outcry of a person in great distress; such as the strong crying of Christ, when He was on the cross, forsaken by God, deserted by his friends, and surrounded by his enemies “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared” (Hebrews 5:7).; and David, to a lesser degree, was in similar peril.

The sincerity and earnestness of our cry to God will be in proportion to the sense we have of our sins and wants, and distress.

My King, and my God.

Though he was a king himself, he forgets his own royalty in the presence of the heavenly King; he acknowledged his subjection to Him as his supreme Ruler, and his dependence upon Him for protection from his enemies and to restore him to his rightful position as king. He was, at the same time, his God—his covenant God—to whom he felt that he was permitted to come in the hour of trouble, and whose blessing he was permitted to invoke.

David was set upon the throne by Him, had received his kingdom from Him, and was accountable to Him: and He was his King in a natural sense, the kingdom of nature and providence belonging to Him, because He was his Creator, preserver, protector, and defender; and in a spiritual sense, he was delivered from the dominion of other rulers, sin, Satan, and the world, and brought to a subjection to Him by His Spirit and grace; and so David owned Him as his King and Lawgiver, as well as his Saviour. And he was his God; not in a general way, as he is the God of all living flesh; nor merely in the peculiar way in which he was the God of the people of Israel; but in a very special since He was his covenant God and Father in Christ. He was his God, not only as the God of nature and providence, but as the God of all grace; who had distinguished him by special and spiritual blessings; and whom David loved, believed in, and worshipped as his God. And this is the relationship he has with Him, and he uses it with great diligence, humility, and respect as an argument that he might be heard by him; since the Lord was his King, and he was His subject; the Lord was his God, and he was one of His people; the Lord was his father, and he was a child of His; and therefore he prays and hopes to be heard “Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?” (Isaiah 63:15)..

It is the duty of a king to answer the sincere, righteous, and humble desires of his subjects; and my God, I will pray unto thee—to thee alone will I direct all my prayers, for to whom should a sinner pray but to his God? And therefore, from thee alone, I expect rescue and relief.

For unto thee will I pray.

“For unto thee will I pray;” and only to thee: not to the gods of the Heathen, to idols, the works of men's hands, who can neither hear nor save: and to thee always; suggesting, that he would continue to pray until he was heard; he would give him no rest, day or night, until he received an answer. He had no one else to go to in his troubles, and he felt that he “might” approach the living God. It was his fixed purpose—his regular habit—to pray to Him, and to seek His favor and friendship, and he felt that he could do so now, seeing that he faced such great danger. He expected that God would answer his prayer, because He had done so in the past under similar circumstances.

Others live without prayer, but David will pray. Kings on their own thrones (as David was) must be beggars at God's throne. “Others pray to strange gods, and expect relief from them, but to thee, to thee only, will I pray.” The assurances God has given us of his readiness to hear prayer should confirm our resolution to live and die praying.

There is something here very important for us to comprehend; though it may seem elementary, it is an essential aspect of prayer. Often we come to prayer so full of our request or our feelings that we never consciously focus on God and sense His presence. David was a great man of prayer because His prayer time was focused on God. We need to do likewise. “Very much of so-called prayer, both public and private, is not unto God. In order that a prayer should be really unto God, there must be a definite and conscious approach to God when we pray; we must have a definite and vivid realization that God is bending over us and listening as we pray.” (Torrey)

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