Short Meditations in Psalms: 5.11 The Community of God’s People
Psa 5:11 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.
The first thing that strikes me as I look at this verse is the plural sense – all, them, them, those. It may sound a fairly obvious thing but in writing like this David has a community of people in mind, those who are related to the Lord, those who rely upon the Lord. First and foremost I am reminded I am part of a community of like-minded people, people like me who are indwelt by the Spirit, children of God. He says a number of things about this group of people.
We first of all take refuge in the Lord. The cynical atheist says we use religion as a crutch but the truth is we know the reality. I need a refuge, I need somewhere to run to in the face of the things that go wrong in this world, in the face of hostilities that sometimes come against us in this world. I am not ashamed to acknowledge that and, even more, I think you are in denial, whoever you are, if you say you don’t need this!
David has his own way of putting this: “But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.” The fact that we have this refuge, the Lord, is a cause to be glad, it is a cause to sing and rejoice, it is a really good thing, a truly wonderful thing that the Lord God Almighty makes Himself available to us to guard, protect and keep us safe in this world. How often do we take it for granted I wonder?
But as he so often does, David not only states the situation but he then goes on to ask the Lord for it: “Spread your protection over them.” That may seem strange because it already happens, so why ask for it? So that we do not take it for granted, we take it as a gift from God, something that is not automatic. We may go running to Him for help but it is His grace and mercy that gives it, and so when David asks for it – after having recognized that this is what God does – he puts himself in the form of one who is smaller, not deserving, but needy, who needs to ask for this blessing.
But then he adds an outcome of which the Lord would approve: “Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” These Lord, he is saying, these people who would run to your for protection, are those who love you and they are coming to put their reliance in you, to trust you, and to find protection in you, so when you give it they will have cause to rejoice in you. Why should the Lord want that? He is a God who is love (1 Jn 4:8,16) and therefore He wants good things for His children – and this would be good. Amen!