Meditations in David’s Psalms : 3 : Living with Liars – Psa 5
Psa 5:9 Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongue they speak deceit.
Meditating on the psalms of David can appear to be a somewhat dismal experience because so many of the psalms of his are cries for help. This is, as we’ve commented before, because David is best described as a warrior as he spent much of his time fighting. But then we might wonder, did people such as Genghis Khan or Attila the Hun have such anguishes as we find in David, and the answer almost certainly was no. This is what makes David so distinctive, that he was a warrior yet still a man after God’s own heart and it is this heart that so often cries out.
Again we find here a prayer: “Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.” (v.1,2) There are stresses and strains in David’s life and the heart after God means that he takes them to the Lord. Sometimes my wife will suddenly say to me, “That was a big sigh,” and I realise that I had expressed by means of a sigh the heaviness that I was feeling about something. David was sighing with the heaviness he felt and he feels he needs the Lord’s help.
David is obviously a ‘morning person’: “In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” (v.3) If you wake up with a burden on your heart you don’t wait until the evening to pass it on to the Lord. What a good practice it is to take time out each morning to spend with the Lord, thinking on His word, sharing your heart with Him and listening to what He has to say.
He ponders on the Lord’s holiness: “You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong. You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men the LORD abhors.” (v.4-6) God may be a God of love but that doesn’t mean He tolerates all that is wrong. He doesn’t take pleasure in what is evil and so wicked people will not live with Him or commune with Him. Those who are arrogant (and proud and boastful) are not able to stand in His presence and, indeed, the Lord hates that part of every person that does wrong. Those who live a life of lies and deceit will end up being destroyed (if they will never come to repentance). So often that deceitfulness is linked with blood thirstiness and these things the Lord cannot stand. It is interesting to note that although David speaks of the wicked, the arrogant, wrong doers and the bloodthirsty, it is liars who receive the greatest censure for lies and deceit are the enemies weapons that keep us from God and those who refuse to turn from such a way of life will end up destroyed.
David compares himself by contrast to these people: “But I, by your great mercy, will come into your house; in reverence will I bow down toward your holy temple. Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies– make straight your way before me.” (v.7,8) They may be arrogant, but he will humble himself and come and bow before the Lord. They may insist on doing their own thing, but he asks the Lord to lead his life. He appeals to the Lord’s righteousness, the Lord’s desire to always do the right thing, to deal with the ungodly and lead him in the way the Lord wants him to go.
He speaks again of these liars: “Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongue they speak deceit.” (v.9) Their words – what we hear from them – are lies and cannot be trusted and so their heart – what is on the inside, hidden from us – only desires destruction. The truth leads to life, lies lead to death. Their throats – from which come their words – are like a grave, places of death and so their words come out of death and bring death, their words speak deceit, lies designed to lead astray and to destruction. The condemnation of these people, whoever they are, is strong and what follows is the logical follow-on from a righteous heart: “Declare them guilty, O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against you.” (v.10) Let the Lord judge them and declare their guilt, let all their intrigues and scheming be their downfall, may they be cast away for their sins and their rebellion.
Thus the guilty are condemned but to finish, David contrasts the righteous: “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.” (v.11) These schemers and liars seek the downfall of the righteous but we may take refuge in the Lord’s presence, and there we find security and are glad and can sing for joy. He calls to the Lord to bring His protection to cover the righteous, those who love the Lord, so that they may be able to rejoice in Him. He concludes, “For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” (v.12) Yes, the Lord blesses the righteous and His favour surrounds them and acts as a shield. The ungodly and the unrighteous may still be there, but we remain at peace and are able to sing for joy in the protection that we have in the wonder of the Lord’s presence. Hallelujah!