Friday, August 08, 2008
Praying and Eagerly Watching
I've always loved Psalm 5. It might be partially due to hearing and singing a musical arrangement of it back in the days when Christian coffeehouse ministries were the rage (and yes, I am talking about the days before Starbucks kiosks invaded the narthexes of evangelical churches).
Let's review the first few verses for a moment . . .
Give ear to my words, O LORD, Consider my groaning. Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, For to You I pray. In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with You. The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity (Psalm 5:1-3).
Now, some like to focus on the imprecations later on in King David's psalm, but as usual, I take a bit of an alternate route. Verse 3 is what grabbed my attention today. In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. Do you note the confident expectancy in David's words? He begins the psalm by crying out to God in distress, beginning the morning by ordering his prayer to the Lord. And then he watches and waits for the Lord's response with an eager, expectant heart.
Of course, King David's prayer is not of those "amiss" prayers, asking for frivolous things. David again is under attack by his enemies, which we can see in reading through the entire psalm. Under attack, but not despairing. He is hoping ultimately in God's goodness and justice, and certain that God's favor will not be with those who despise Him, or His people. And in that certainty, he asks God to intervene, certain -- eagerly certain -- that God will be faithful and act.
Verse 8 is also interesting. O Lord, lead me in righteousness because of my foes. If David is walking in righteousness, his foes will have no grounds upon which to justly accuse him.
There's an interesting parallel to that in II Peter 2, where the Apostle discusses those who follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned. It's easy to point to the excesses of some televangelists (and believe me, plenty of them set my teeth on edge), but we all need to be careful how we walk. It's one thing if we get slapped around for bad behavior on our part, but it's much better -- if we HAVE to get slapped around -- to be the blameless party.
I know how I often stew and resent it if I am treated badly. I find it hard to suffer injustice. When I think of King David with enemies galore out to kill him, all of a sudden I realize that I've really had a fairly easy time of it. Thankfully, no one has tried to kill me yet that I know of.
Regardless, we know what the Lord expects of us, after suffering Himself at the hands of sinners. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God (1 Peter 2:20).
Of course it's not easy. But we aren't in it alone. We have the example of our Master Himself. And He promised to never leave or forsake us. We have the promise of His sure judgment in His own good time.