Psalm 5 Commentary – 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 Old Testament 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

For the chief musician. For pipes. A psalm of David.

“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

This Psalm of David opens with an invitation to pour out our hearts before Him, knowing that He hears our every word. Just like David, we can rise each morning with confidence, knowing that God is not only willing but eager to listen to our cries for help. 

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

In the first part of this Psalm, 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 wicked people; no evil dwells with You. The boastful shall not stand before thy sight; 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 thy house, at your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You. – Psalm 5:4-7

David, the king of Israel, shifts his focus to the reality of evil and deceit in the world. Yet, amidst the chaos, he finds solace in the assurance that God does not delight in wickedness. It’s like a reassuring pat on the back, reminding us that even when the world seems to be spinning out of control, God remains steadfast in His righteousness. David acknowledges that those who thrive on deceit are fools of their own making, while those who seek refuge in God will find shelter under His wings. It’s a reminder that no matter how loud the voices of deceit may shout, the voice of truth, of righteousness, will always prevail. 

The Hebrew 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. We must be led by the Holy Spirit.

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 prayer to follow the Lord. He was fully aware of his dependence upon his Heavenly Father to keep him on the right path. David understands that God’s ways are higher than his own, so he surrenders his plans, own counsels, and desires to God’s perfect will. He seeks refuge in the Lord, knowing that His guidance will lead him on the path of righteousness and safety. And in the face of adversaries, David finds confidence in God’s protection, trusting that His shield of favor surrounds those who seek Him. It’s a reminder for us to lean not on our own understanding but to trust in the Lord with all our hearts, knowing that He will direct our steps and shield us from harm. 

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 as we see in this New Testament passage:

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 as we see in the following verse:

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.

David concludes his prayer with a powerful declaration of trust and praise in God’s heart and His unfailing love and protection. This verse highlights the protection for the people of God. 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.

It’s a reminder that no matter what challenges we face, God’s love and protection are constant and unwavering. So let’s join David in praising the Lord for His faithfulness and goodness, knowing that as we trust in Him, He will surround us with His love and lead us in paths of righteousness.

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

David starts by pouring out his heart to God, acknowledging Him as the one who hears the “voice of my cry.” Isn’t it amazing to know that the God of the universe listens to our every word, even the ones we can’t express aloud?

In the midst of David’s struggles, he turns to God, knowing that He is his refuge and strength. 

David also talks about the “deceitful man,” those who try to trip him up with lies and deceit. But instead of getting tangled in the web of these workers of iniquity, David chooses to trust in God’s help and His great mercy. It’s a reminder that no matter how convincing the lies may seem, the truth of God’s word and Christ Jesus will always prevail.

As we journey through life, we’ll encounter our fair share of challenges and obstacles, just like David did. But like him, we can develop the habit of prayer, knowing that He hears us and will guide us through every trial.

So, my friend, let’s take a cue from David’s playbook today. Let’s start our days with morning prayer, laying our hopes, fears, and everything in between at the feet of our loving Father. And as we face the day ahead, let’s hold fast to the truth of God’s word, trusting in His righteousness to see us through. The most encouraging principle of prayer is the fact that we serve a prayer-hearing God!

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