Notes on Sermon Preached at PCF on 20 May 2012
Reference: Psalm 5
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In this song David, again under pressure and in the midst of enemies, meditates on the fact that God is a God who hears us when we pray, sees us in the midst of trouble, sees evil and judges it and protects his own children.
1. A Cry from the Heart
One of the reasons the Psalms are so easy to identify with is that they portray people who have the same issues that we all have. In this case what does David do? He pours out his heart to the Lord.
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.
Note how David takes his complaints to God, rather than letting them fester. And it is significant that he seems to have the habit of spending time each morning bringing his requests to God. The morning quiet time, that includes a time of intercessory prayer, has a biblical mandate.
2. A Holy God
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;
you destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful
you, LORD, detest.
How little we understand about the holiness of God! The moral purity of God means that to Him all impurity is abhorrent. This is continued in the fourth stanza as David reflects on the consequences of evil
Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
their heart is filled with malice.
Their throat is an open grave;
with their tongues they tell lies0
Declare them guilty, O God!
Let their intrigues be their downfall.
Banish them for their many sins,
for they have rebelled against you.
Not only are the wicked abhorrent to God, but David, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, prayer that they may come under the judgement of God. How are we, who have some understanding of love and grace in Jesus, to respond to that?
When we consider the evil that is done in this life and the damage that is done to individuals, even in our fallen state, we feel something of the sense of outrage that God feels as he observes the terrible deeds done by humans. And we should rightly come to the conclusion that a good God is one who would punish child abuse, torture of innocent people, genocide, rape and murder. God who does not punish such acts in not a righteous or just God at all, and we would wonder whether his heaven would be worth being in! But the fact is that God will judge all such acts, and those who have suffered at the hands of evildoers will have their justice. As God said to Cain “The blood of Abel calls out from under the ground”. At such judgement we should rejoice.
The word “Hallelujah” in the New Testament is only used in Revelation 19, when there is rejoicing in the judgement of God poured out on those who so richly deserve it. We may rightly pray for and thank God for such judgement.
What David did not know is that there would be a window of time – in which we now live – when it would be possible for the worst of sinners to turn to God in repentance. But the day will come when that window will close, and when does we can join with David in his prayer that God will judge the guilty.The trouble is that as we read the scriptures we become increasingly aware that we too are stained and corrupted by sin.
3. The Merciful God
But I, by your great love,
can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
towards your holy temple. Lead me, LORD, in your righteousness
because of my enemies –
make your way straight before me.
David recognises that it is by the mercy of God alone that he is able to come into God’s presence. The difference between us as believers and those who will be under God’s judgement is that we have received the mercy of God. Such a realisation prompts David to worship and to plead for help as he weeks to live in a sinful world.
4. The Triumphant Conclusion
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. Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favour as with a shield.
As often in the Psalms, even in a dark place, there is a triumphant conclusion as David concludes that those who have been redeemed can be full of joy as they experience the protection of God in their lives.
The psalms helps us to consider that God sees us when we are under pressure, he sees us on our knees as we brings our requests to him he sees the wickedness that is done on earth and protects us as we trust in Him.