A Psalmist’s Urgent Request
Psalm 5 begins with an urgent request (vv.1-3) directed to the Lord, whom David addresses, ‘O Lord… my King … my God… O Lord.’ It concludes with a promise (v. 12). Sandwiched between the urgent request and the promise are four descriptions.
- What is the Lord like? (vv. 4-6)
- What is the psalmist like? (vv. 7-8)
- What are the enemies like? (vv.9-10)
- What is the righteous like? (v. 11)
Let’s take a look at David’s urgent request:
Listen to what I say, LORD!
Carefully consider my complaint!
Pay attention to my cry for help,
my king and my God,
for I am praying to you!
LORD, in the morning you will hear me;
in the morning I will present my case to you and then wait expectantly for an answer.
Psalm 5:1-3 (NET Bible)
I observe three things in this urgent request.
- First, it was a “morning” prayer. Twice in verse 3 David mentions that it was “in the morning” that he met with his Lord.
- Second, it came from one who was becoming increasingly discouraged. Look at the first two verses and notice how they grow in intensity: “Listen to what I say, LORD! … Carefully consider my complaint! … Pay attention to my cry for help!” Next, he becomes more burdened: “Carefully consider!” He then grows stronger in his urgent request that the Lord “Pay attention to my cry for help!” To enter into the depth of this hymn, you cannot afford to miss the growing discouragement in the writer’s heart. Let yourself imagine his inner groaning. Picture his intensified misery as you mentally relive his situation.
- Third, the psalmist anticipated God’s intervention. By faith, he counted on the Lord’s help. I see two statements in verse 3 that reveal this: (1) “I will present my case to you,” and (2) “then wait expectantly for an answer.”
While this might sound rude or arrogant at first, maybe even a little bossy. David is merely choosing something the Lord has offered. David looked upon the morning as the time to “present his case” from the Lord’s menu of blessings.
He then said, I will “wait expectantly for an answer.” After presenting his case, he eagerly anticipates an answer from his Lord. David refused to stumble about stoop-shouldered, carrying his burdens throughout the day. On the contrary, he took his needs to the Lord each morning.
When we think of “presenting our case,” we remember one thing that is essential: we have to be specific. Too many prayers suffer from timidity and vagueness. God invites us to pray with bold expectation when we ask for what He has promised or anticipate what we know to be His will.
After David presented his case each morning, he waited expectantly for answers. He expected God to answer his prayers and then looked forward to that throughout the day. When our outlook is dim in the morning, when discouragement worms its way in, a good remedy is to focus our attention upward. And what a difference it makes in our day! Throughout Scripture, spiritual turning points occur at morning time. Darkness gives way to light as contemplation yields insight. For example:
For His anger lasts only a short time. But His favor is for life. Crying may last for a night, but joy comes with the new day. (Psalm 30:5)
But I have cried to You for help, O Lord. My prayer comes to You in the morning. (Psalm 88:13)
The faithful love of the LORD never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
Then Jesus got up early in the morning when it was still very dark, departed, and went out to a deserted place, and there he spent time in prayer. (Mark 1:35)
David’s cries became more desperate as he continued to suffer and continued to seek God’s intervention. Then, he prayed with confidence in the Lord’s sovereignty and goodness. In fact, he decided to begin each morning this way; he greeted each new day by “presenting his case” and resolved to wait expectantly with confidence for God’s response.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
What has you most discouraged right now?
How has discouragement affected your prayer life?
Perhaps, like David, you might pray with confident expectation and complete trust in the Lord’s sovereignty and goodness. That’s hard to do at first but, eventually, your attitude will become like your prayers.
|Living the Psalms: Encouragement for the Daily Grind
By Charles R. Swindoll / Worthy Publishing“I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live…” -Psalm 104:33
Through twenty-six engaging weeks in the Word, Charles Swindoll will help you not just to read the Psalms but to live them–reminding you of a grace that never fails and a God who is constantly at work to transform the daily grind into a daily miracle.