Short Meditations in Psalms: 5.8 David the Righteous Follower
Psa 5:8 Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies– make straight your way before me.
It is all well and good to be at peace for the moment but the thing about life is that there are always tomorrows. David has acknowledged his relationship with the Lord, he is a worshipper for he knows the Lord’s greatness and he knows that the Lord is worthy of his worship and that is all he can bring (v.7). But he’s also touched on the Lord’s holiness (v.4) and, within that, the fact that the Lord has standards, how He has created things to work best, and that He wants us to follow those ways and He will deal with those who do not (v.5,6)
So there are these two clear paths in life, the path of the righteous and the path of the unrighteous. Now David is on the path of the righteous but he is aware that it is so easy to step off that path when difficulties come and we have choices to make – to love our enemies (Mt 5:44) or hate then and get all worked up about them.
For us ‘enemies’ may be people in the office or the school or neighbourhood who seem against us, but for David they were literally those who were out to take his life, enemy neighbours who, given half a chance, would invade the land and plunder and destroy (e.g. the Philistines) and that destruction would include David if they could. So, yes, he is confronted by very real difficulties, especially so when he is seeking to remain righteous. How can he keep a righteous outlook in life when he is confronted by this sort of thing? How can we remain righteous in outlook, in thoughts, in words and in deeds, when we are faced with those who are out to get us?
David’s answer to this dilemma is to ask the Lord to lead him: “Lead me, O LORD.” Only as the Lord shows him the way ahead can he do this properly. He is aware of the problem: “because of my enemies.” While they are there, there is always the possibility he will start to act unrighteously and so he needs the Lord to show him the way. Indeed, he says, “make straight your way before me.” Just another way of saying, show me the way to go, show me a straight and direct path that I can walk that keeps me on this righteous path. We missed out the heart of his request: “in your righteousness.” Because the Lord is always righteous, any guidance He gives will be righteous and that will mean when David follows it, he will be righteous as well.
We are reminded of James’ counsel: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (Jas 1:5) This applies when it is people or just general circumstances that make life difficult. Lord, please, how do I handle this and remain righteous?