Short Meditations in Psalms: 5.4 God the Holy One
Psa 5:4 You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell.
As David starts to pray he does what so many do, wonder about the nature of God and therefore how God might respond to him – and why he might respond to him. For many people God is just “out there” and unknown and because they either never read the Bible or read it so little, they are largely ignorant about God. Perhaps they have heard that He is holy and that is scary.
Yes, it is scary because holy simply means utterly different, good, and perfect. How can we take pleasure in One who is utterly good and perfect and, even more, how can such a One take pleasure in us? The answer is found in that other attribute of His, love. As the apostle John says much later in the Bible, “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8,16)
Nevertheless we ponder on this and think, “He may be love but does that mean He winks at my imperfections, my indiscretions, my weaknesses, my failures, my sin?” The answer of course is no, but He has done something about it so that the punishment for all those things which, deep down, we inherently believe should be punished, has been taken by His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus’ death on the Cross is the one and only reason for us being able to approach this holy God with any thoughts of any possible ongoing relationship.
David didn’t know about the coming Saviour but he did know that God had established laws of sacrifice for dealing with personal sin and enabling a re-establishing of relationship with God, and within that he knew that God had standards, laws that he had spoken and that God had said, “the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” (Ex 34:6,7) Yes, there love was balanced with forgiveness and forgiveness was about receiving back repenting sinners and repenting sinners meant there were standards that had not been kept.
Which thus brings us to David’s comments in this verse, “You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell.” There are those God is pleased with – His faithful ones – and there who are those in whom He has no pleasure and they are the ones who do wrong, who reject Him and His ways and who do not repent. Such people displease God (even though He is love), so be quite clear on that, and such people cannot enter His presence without severe censure (not that they would want to!) In marking out these people, David distinguishes himself from them. The implication is, “I will not be like these people, and thus I can be heard by Him.”