1 Listen to my words, Lord,
consider my lament.
2 Hear my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.
4 For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
with you, evil people are not welcome.
5 The arrogant cannot stand
in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;
6 you destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful
you, Lord, detest.
7 But I, by your great love,
can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
toward your holy temple.
8 Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness
because of my enemies—
make your way straight before me.
9 Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
their heart is filled with malice.
Their throat is an open grave;
with their tongues they tell lies.
10 Declare them guilty, O God!
Let their intrigues be their downfall.
Banish them for their many sins,
for they have rebelled against you.
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.
12 Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield.
This psalm opens with a heart cry. This king, David, professes that he is praying to his King, God. He sets the tone that he is unable to change what lies ahead of him, and by crying out with acknowledgment of the Lord’s Kingship, David submits. Verse 3 is a beautiful example of the patience and expectations we should have as Christians. We must wait on God. We must have faith that He hears our prayers and will answer them according to His will in His time. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6
Verses 4 – 6 are a reminder that God will not hear the prayers of those who are wicked, or those that are not His. He detests people that openly oppose Him, and who throw off the inner cry to do right, so they might do things their own way. David includes this in his prayer as a reminder to himself that it is important to wait upon God, and not take matters into our own hands. By ignoring God we become arrogant, thinking that we have the power to create our desires, which, apart from God, are sinful.
David recounts his knowledge of belonging to God openly before Him. He knows that he is set apart to the Lord by His mercy, and he knows that he is able to come boldly before God, being loved by Him. David expresses his willingness to come humbly before God as one of His chosen people in remembrance of what God has done for him, as opposed to coming before God in the thinking that God owes him something. He pleads with God in verse 8 to lead him down the path of righteousness, and to keep him from conforming to the ways of the unrighteous.
Again David speaks of those who are unrighteous in the way that what they say leads only to destruction. The tongue is their downfall, and they are constantly digging their graves deeper and deeper by what they do and say. Their entire lives are filled with sin. David cries out to God for deliverance from the evils surrounding him. He pleads with God to bring judgment upon the wicked. And in the breath that follows, David finds comfort in knowing that the righteous belong to God and can find peace in Him, even a midst the wicked.
- Is there a promise or principle to remember?
Being a child of God, we can find protection and strength in our Savior. He is our shield and our very great reward (Gen. 15:1).
- Is there an example to follow or a command to obey?
David’s prayer is an example to us of how we should come before the Lord. We should not think highly of ourselves, but remember that it was of no work of our own that we now belong to Him. He took away our sins by His account. We have done nothing to deserve this righteousness that now covers us.
- Are there attitudes that needed changing, or an error to avoid?
When we come before God we must acknowledge that He saved us, and ask out of reverence for Him the things we desire. By doing this, we will surely ask for the things God wills, and not what we find pleasurable in this world.
- Is there a sin being revealed?
God desires that we pray to Him, asking and seeking His will. When we pray, we should be anxiously awaiting His answer, even if it does not coincide with what we would want. God knows the plans He has for us, and they are way better than anything we can imagine.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.” – James 1:2-7
- Does this make you want to pray for someone or yourself?
Lord help me to be mindful of you when I pray. I want my soul to be in line with your Spirit. I want the prayers of my heart to be the desires you have for me. Thank you for choosing me, by your great mercy, to be your child. Thank you that I am numbered among the saints. Lord grant that I may be a bold witness for you, winning those around me to Christ.