David Prays: Chapter 5
Right off the bat, in verse one, we find a word that most likely, you read right over (if you’re reading along with these studies). That word is “Nehiloth”.
The original Hebrew word that Nehiloth comes from means “to perforate” or “bore through”, which leads most scholars to believe that it means a flute. There are various interpretations, however, I won’t delve into all of them here. We’ll get right down to the marrow of the Psalm.
An Audience with God
When you take time to consider the words used in verses 1-3, you’ll see a desire of David to actually have an audience with God. Words like “give ear”, “consider”, and “hearken”. In addition to the words used, the fact that he repeated the same idea in three different ways shows that this is a great desire.
“For unto thee will I pray” may sound entirely unnecessary, but it shows that David knew exactly what he was doing and backed it up by pointing it out. Of course, we pray TO God. But how often do we come to Him heaped with our own requests? Stuck in our own emotions, and never really and truly focusing on GOD as we should.
When David prayed, as we see in the evidence throughout the Word, he focused on God. This made him a great man of prayer and also caused God to call David, a man after My Own Heart.
To really and truly pray, whether in the bedroom or in the church house, one has to actually be conscious of the ACT of prayer. To pray in such a way that we actually feel Him bending low to take notice of what we’re praying.
An Early Start
David made sure that prayer was his first and most essential act of the day. It’s no secret that starting the day in conversation with our Creator is really the best way to start the day. It sets the tone. It focuses our thoughts and intents.
Early morning prayer can often change the course of the entire day by putting everything that happens after prayer in the holy glow that is left when we rise and move on about our business.
Morning also gives us the opportunity to follow in David’s footsteps as the directs his prayer, and then follows that up by looking up. You see, the first step in any prayer to to “direct” it. That doesn’t speak to the idea of aiming it, but rather arranging it.
You could liken it, as maybe David did, to the way a priest laid out a sacrifice in the morning, on the altar. First, he arranged the wood, and then the pieces of sacrifice. Or maybe by the way the shewbread was placed, in a specific arrangement, on the table.
Careful of the Way We Pray
It is said of many things that we can’t be “too careful”. But how much more does that saying stand when we think about our prayer life? We aren’t just talking to a friend, we are addressing the One True God, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. The Great I Am.
The truth is, we are far too random in our prayers, and never thorough enough. How often do we, as David did, come back to the things we’ve asked for multiple times? How often do we truly try to drive home the request, not with demands and fist-beating, but with the reverence due our Mighty God? With humility of knowing that we, the created, are addressing Him, the Creator?
Maybe if we “meditated” and then asked God to “consider” our meditation the way that David did, then perhaps the answers to our prayers might be bigger and more readily available.
Contrasting the Wicked and the Righteous
In prayer, David thinks deeply about the character of God and the righteousness found there. The first thing that caught my attention was that this was done during prayer. We all, no doubt, speak of God’s righteousness here and there. To those we’re talking with, to our children or our spouses. But how often do we speak God’s righteousness back into His own ears? And why did David?
One thing is clear: David’s close proximity to God gave all the more light to cast on the sinfulness of man. So it is when you find yourself in deep prayer, inching ever closer to the foot of the Throne. You will absolutely become more sensitive to the sin in your life. You might wonder what this is, why now, what do I do with it?
The answer is to continue to acknowledge and cast aside sin. Repent if necessary. Do everything possible to come boldly to the Throne of grace!
As David prayed, “I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy…”, it wasn’t that he was coming in great confidence of his own righteousness, but rather that his only confidence was in the mercy of God.
Furthermore, he worships in fear. Not the kind that stems from emotions, but rather from a reverence of a God that is righteous, but oh so merciful.
Describing the Wicked
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. Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressors; for they have rebelled against thee.Psalm 5:9-10, KJV
In these verses, David hones in on what the wicked say as the very proof of their wicked nature. You see, he already had the revelation of what Jesus spoke about in Matthew 12:34, that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”
There’s no doubt about it… whether we are righteous, or whether we are wicked, it will eventually make its way out through our mouths. The words we speak will always be a truthful representation of what we really think and feel, deep down inside.
Describing the Righteous
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.Psalm 5:11
David is quick to pray that rejoicing belongs to those that TRUST in GOD. They trust Him and love His Name and are joyful in Him!
C. H. Spurgeon had this to say, which seems fitting to include here:
A touch of entusiasm would be the salvation of many a man’s religion. Some Christians are good enough people: they are like wax candles, but they are not lighted. Oh, for a touch of flame! Then would they scatter light, and thus become a service to their families. “Let them shout for joy.” Why not? Let not orderly folks object. One said to me the other days, “When I hear you preach I feel as if I must have a shout!” My friend, shout if you feel forced to do so. (Here a hearer cried, “Glory!”) Our brother cries, “Glory!” and I say so too. “Glory!” The shouting need not always be done in a public service, or it might hinder devout hearing; but there are times and places where a glorious outburst of enthusiastic joy would quicken life in all around. The ungodly are not half so restrained in their blasphemy as we are in our praise.”Charles H. Spurgeon, May 25, 1890, From Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Volume 36, “Joy, Joy for Ever”
We Have a Joy Permit
Psalm 5:11 is a permit, giving permission for joy. You actually have permission in the same way you might have a ticket for an event. In fact, you can be as happy as you feel like you should be, even to the point of shouting!
You should pray, not just for your own joy, but for joy in other brothers and sisters. Because when we lose our joy, we are not very good witnesses, or Ambassadors, for His Kingdom. We don’t have a strong testimony. We can’t make it through hard times. And we can’t have a life filled with the power endued to us from the Holy Ghost.
But when we DO have joy, we become a light to the world, and our very darkness is turned into brightest day!
The Favor of God
By far, the greatest thing of all is to have God’s favor on our lives. To be able to know that when He looks at us, it is with favor… that is truly the greatest information in the world. That is when we stand in true grace before him.
A Plea & A Promise: Chapter 6
We can’t be sure, here in this first verse of chapter 6, what David’s sin was, but he felt that it should have brought down great chastisement from God. And so he prayed that he would escape this rebuke and chastening. But we must also consider this writing for the time frame under which it fell.
On that side of the cross, people didn’t have the Blood of Jesus, which made a way for the forgiveness of our sins, which are remitted in the waters of Baptism. On that side of the cross, David couldn’t be certain that his sins hadn’t brought him into a very dangerous place before God.
Twice the Trouble
David cried out that both his bones and his soul were vexed (troubled). So the physical aspect of the trouble… the weakness, the pain, and all that came with it, was driven deeper still by the same feelings in his very spirit. Being in physical pain was bad enough, but to have that compounded by feeling like God was mad at him… why it couldn’t have been easy.
How many times have we come to a place like that? It’s bad enough that we’re physically beaten down and utterly exhausted. But to feel like God’s love and mercy and grace are inaccessible makes it almost impossible to even think about.
Even though he could tell that he was going through a kind of punishment for his sins, David still took a chance in asking God to make the trial shorter. Sometimes, it’s best to yield to the discipline, but sometimes God has great intent for the lesson. If our yearning and heart cry for Him increases, then and only then can we truly be in right standing with Him.
A Heart-Cry for Deliverance
David pleads for God’s mercy to give him a means of escape from the burden he was under. It’s obvious that he realized the righteousness of it, but He also knew – first hand – that God was a merciful God, and with no shortage of it.
David knows that he, in no wise, deserves God’s mercy or deliverance at this time, but he also knows that to appeal to God’s abundant grace could be all it would take to get some relief.
In his own description of his agony, we can almost feel how deep the feeling went:
I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears. Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.Psalm 6:6-7
An Ample Description
Here we see that not only was David’s trial deep and harsh, but it was also three-fold. First, he thought God was mad at him. Then he felt that God’s presence had left him. And finally, he spoke to the fact that he couldn’t sleep.
When he said that his bed was made to swim, of course, he didn’t mean for us to believe it was actually floating. He used a wordplay to give deeper meaning to his grief.
He spoke also of his eye being consumed… Have you ever cried so hard that your eyes rapidly swell and seem to puff over until you can barely see through them? That’s a certain kind of crying that isn’t often accomplished with regular sadness.
No to produce an eye-wasting sadness, you’d have to be REALLY sad! And it’s obvious, reading through this chapter, that David is just that.
David’s Tone Changes to Confidence
Verse 8 here in chapter 6 leads us to believe that David’s sin might have had something to do with the ungodly company he’d kept. But instead of wallowing in self-pity or trying to shift the blame, he tells the ungodly to depart… to go and get away from him. Oh, how much better would our lives be if we had the confidence to say these things as well?
Instead of the Psalm ending on a sorrowful note, it actually ends on a good one. Of course, his weeping has endured for a time, but David knew that God would honor his cries, hear his prayers, and let all of his enemies be ashamed.
What comes to mind for you, when you read these chapters? David certainly didn’t mind admitting when he was wrong, did he? What are some ways that you’ve “come clean” before God? You don’t have to give details of course, but think about it. Were you encouraged by the time your crying was done?
Lord Jesus, I thank You that we are able to look in and catch such a private and raw glimpse of a man in the throes of sheer disgust in himself and in his sin. Thank You that we are on the OTHER SIDE of the cross, where mercy and grace abounds! Where there is the remittance of sins through repentance and the waters of baptism! Continue to guide me, Lord, into Your Truths, day by day. And reveal to me any false way in myself so that I can leave it at Your Throne once and for all! In Jesus Mighty Name I pray, Amen!