Meaning of Psalm 5 – A Morning Prayer for Protection

The meaning of Psalm 5 is a cry to the Lord for protection. Once again, King David was surrounded by his enemies. These scriptures record the prayer of a man who was fully dependent upon God for deliverance and protection.

I was reading a Psalm 5 sermon outline from David Guzik and he shared the following story:

When Martin Luther was on his way to face a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church to answer for what they said were his heretical teachings, one of the Cardinal’s servants taunted him saying, “Where will you find shelter if your patron, the Elector of Saxony, should desert you?” Luther answered, “Under the shelter of heaven.” – David Guzik

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Meaning of Psalm 5

David was called the man after God’s own heart. This Psalm is one of many that shows us why.

Psalm 5 is divided into 4 sections:

  • Psalm 5:1-3
  • Psalm 5:4-7
  • Psalm 5:8-10
  • Psalm 5:11-12

Let’s take a look at what Psalm 5 means, verse by verse.

Psalm 5:1-3

“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.” – Psalm 5:1-2

We see three times in these first two verses that David is longing for an audience with God. The words “give ear”, “consider”, “heed”, all portray the cry of David’s heart. 

His reference to God as “King” shows that he understands the Lordship and sovereignty of God. David calls out to God knowing that his help and defense come from Him.

“In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.” – Psalm 5:3

I love this verse!

The word “order” is the same word used for ordering and arranging the wood on the altar for sacrifice. It’s also the word used for arranging the shewbread upon the table in the tabernacle/temple. 

If you have seen the movie, “War Room”, or read the related book, “Fervent”, you know the importance of intentional and strategic prayer! This is what David is referring to here. David had a prayer strategy! He knew the different areas that needed heavenly intervention. So he brought these specific circumstances and people before the King of heaven.

If we really believe that prayer is powerful and connects our circumstances to heaven’s resources, then we need to have a plan and a strategy for implementing it.

Verses 4-7

Here we see a vast contrast between the righteous and the wicked and how God relates to each of them.

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. You destroy those who speak falsehood; the Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit. But as or me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house, at your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You. – Psalm 5:4-7

David begins this section by remembering the character of God. God is righteous. Evil cannot even exist in His presence.

The word “not stand” is the same term in Psalm 2:2 that is used to describe those who set themselves against God. These people will not stand before the holiness of God.

Then, we see the difference between those who practice iniquity and those who fear the Lord. David has placed his confidence in the mercy of God. 

It is not according to our own righteousness that we can enter into the presence of God, but by his lovingkindness and grace.

Also, I love how David says that he bows in reverence to worship the Lord. While our feelings should and will be engaged as we present our offerings to the Lord, our worship should not be guided by them.

Our praise and worship springs from the Truth of God’s character and what He has done for us. Our feelings waver. God’s character does not. 

Verses 8-10

Bible Study Printables

“O Lord, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes; make Your way straight before me. There is nothing reliable in what they say; their inward part is destruction itself; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue. Hold them guilty, O God; by their own devices let them fall! In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out, for they are rebellious against You.”

This verse shows us David’s desire to follow the Lord. He was fully aware of his dependence upon God to keep him on the right path.

We then see a description of David’s enemies. The words ‘throat’ and ‘tongue’ are poetic ways to illustrate speech. The Bible is full of warning on how we use our words.

Lies and deception are the native language of our enemy, Satan. 

He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. – John 8:44

The Bible is full of other warnings about the proper use of the tongue. The book of James is one great example:

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. James 3:7-9

Words are powerful. We must be careful in how we use them. 

Verses 11-12

But let all who take refuge in You be glad, let them ever sing for joy; and may You shelter them, that those who love Your name may exult in You. For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield.

This verse highlights God’s protection for those who put their trust in Him. The righteous aren’t made so by their words. However, their words are proof of their righteousness. They sing for joy and exult in the Lord.

The term “favor” means “delight, goodwill”. The word “shield” referred to a large shield that covered the entire body.

As we find our refuge in God, not only do we find protection but we also find the fullness of joy and delight.

We can exchange our cares and fears for the joy of the Lord.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. – Psalm 28:7 ESV

Psalm 5 Devotional

meaning of Psalm 5

What stood out to me the most in this Psalm was David’s heart to follow the Lord. He knew that it would be difficult and that he would struggle to remain faithful to the Lord, but he also knew the blessing that is found for those who make the Lord their delight.

There is no other source that can provide the peace and joy that comes from knowing God and knowing that we are walking rightly with Him. 

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