Lectionary Calendar
Monday, June 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
Take your personal ministry to the Next Level by helping StudyLight build churches and supporting pastors in Uganda.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries
Psalms 5

Preacher's Complete Homiletical CommentaryPreacher's Homiletical

Verses 1-12


“A morning prayer of David, appealing to God as his king, against whose sovereignty his own enemies were really in rebellion.”—Kay. “This psalm must have been composed at Jerusalem, since David had access to the house of God (see Psalms 5:7); probably a short time before the open revolt of Absalom, when the king was aware of the machinations of conspirators under a bloodthirsty and treacherous chief (Psalms 5:6). Like Psalms 3:0, it is a morning song (Psalms 5:6).”—Speaker’s Commentary.


(Psalms 5:1-4.)

We are taught here some great truths concerning prayer.

I. True prayer is personal

My words,” “My meditation,” “My cry,” “My King,” “My God.” David was a king, yet was he his own chaplain. We must pray for ourselves. A parent’s prayer, a minister’s prayer, will not do for us. No one can become deputy for us before the throne of grace. And in prayer we must realise our personal relation to God. He is “My Father,” “My King,” “My God.”

II. True prayer is profound and passionate.

1. It begins with words. “Give ear to my words.” Many have an idea that words are not necessary to prayer, that the finest prayer does without words. When Curran asked Grattan if he ever prayed; “No,” said Grattan, “but I have aspirations all the day long.” There is a subtle danger here. True prayer cannot indeed fully express itself, but it will labour to do so. If our sense of need is real and intense, we shall speak out in broken, burning words. Robert Hall, in his private devotions prayed aloud, lest his prayers should become vapid and wandering. If there is no audible, verbal prayer, the “aspirations” will become ever more shadowy and vague. “None of God’s children are possessed with a dumb devil.”—Spurgeon.

2. True prayer deepens into sighs. “O Lord, consider my sighs.” “Understand my sighing.”—Horsley. “Meditation—moanings of that half-uttered form to which deep feeling gives rise—groanings,” as Romans 8:26-27.—Jamieson. If language could express all we feel, ours could hardly be a true prayer; language breaks off into groanings.

3. True prayer rises into cries. “Hearken unto the voice of my cry.” It rises into a cry, and a cry has a voice which pierces heaven. Prevailing prayer comes from the profound of the bosom and is heard in the high places of the firmament.

III. True prayer is resolute.

“For unto Thee will I pray.” “There is a holy boldness here. God, as the King of His people, could not deny them His protection, and they asked no other. For to Thee, and Thee only, will I pray. As if he had said, it is in this capacity that I invoke Thee, and I therefore must be heard.”—Alexander.

IV. True prayer is obedient.

Psalms 5:3. “In the morning will I set in order for Thee, and will look out.”—Kay. David speaks of himself, figuratively, as a ministering priest, setting in order the altar wood and the morning sacrifice. Now the Levite acted according to the law of God in presenting the sacrifices, and they were accepted only as they were so offered. In prayer we must recognise the word and will of God. Prayer is not, as some suppose, a wild, arbitrary, lawless overriding of Divine law; but, on the contrary, it profoundly consults the mind of God; it regulates its petitions by the revealed will of God, and seeks to conform all life to the purpose and plan of God.

V. True prayer is expectant.

“And will look up,” or look out. “Look out expectantly for the thing prayed for.”—Kay. Alexander says: “The image presented is that of one looking from a wall or tower in anxious expectation of approaching succour.” Horsley says: “I will watch for Thee—i.e., watch for some usual signal of God’s favour, some appearance in the flame of the sacrifice, or a ray of the Shekinah issuing from the sanctuary.” Let us look for answers to our prayers. When a man has lodged his prayers with God he may look up, he ought to look up, and God will not disappoint him.

Let us then each morning thus draw nigh unto God. We cannot tell what a day shall bring forth, but if we greet the morning sun with prayer, we shall see the setting sun with praise.


(Psalms 5:4-6.)

It is a relationship of direct and passionate antagonism. Observe the gradations of the text.

I. God has no pleasure in wickedness.

Psalms 5:4. The Psalmist seems to say, There are such gods in other nations, gods delighting in blood and lust; but Thou dost not delight in iniquity. The gods of Greece and Rome found pleasure in licentiousness; but, however Christianity may be a ‘civilised heathenism,’ it sets before us Deity in another light than that.


II. God does not tolerate wickedness.

“Neither shall evil dwell with Thee.” Many would teach us that God does tolerate evil—that He employs it to perfect man, to develop the universe. No; He cannot dwell with it, cannot tolerate it. Remember this in the Church. History relates that Redwald, King of East Anglia, built a church, at one end of which was an altar for the sacrifice of the mass, and at the other end an altar for sacrifice to the old British idols. How frequently the Church is in danger of making analogous compromises, allowing certain evils to exist within its borders for the sake of gold, or popularity, or peace. It must not be, or God will not dwell with us. And we must remember this in our personal life. “Rest assured, Christ will not live in the parlour of our hearts if we entertain the devil in the cellar of our thoughts.”—Spurgeon. God does not tolerate wickedness. It is no part of His pleasure, no part of His policy, that evil should be found in the human heart or in the world.

III. God hates wickedness.

“Thou hatest all the workers of iniquity” (Psalms 5:5-6). “The Lord abhors the wicked.” He “will destroy them.” It is unspeakably repugnant to Him. “God perfectly hateth wickedness and wicked persons. God hateth sin worse than He doth the devil; for He hateth the devil for sin’s sake, and not sin for the devil’s sake.”—Trapp.

We see here the condemnation of whatever speaks lightly or tolerantly of sin. Of the philosophy which does—the philosophy which pleads for evil as necessary to effect God’s purposes; as one of our poets speaks of the devil—

“Existing for some good,
By us not understood.”

Of the morality which does—the morality which regards sin as an inconvenience or impolicy, rather than as damnable in its essence. Of the Christianity which does—Antinomianism; Roman Catholicism, with its division of sin into venial and mortal; and that general Christian experience which has no burning hatred to evil.

In our personal life, in the Church, in all departments of worldly action, we must look upon foulness with horror, or with horror God will look upon us “Ye that love the Lord hate evil.”


(Psalms 5:7-12.)

“Throughout the psalm there breathes a strong feeling that God is pledged by His very character as a righteous God to defend and bless the righteous.”—Perowne.

I. God is their Shepherd.

Lead me, O Lord,” &c. As a shepherd leads his flock. “Make Thy way straight,” &c. “Do not let me choose my own way, but Thine; and do Thou make Thy way level and manifest before me.”—Wordsworth. Is God your Shepherd? Are you following obediently in His way? Then you need fear no pit or wolf.

II. God is their Shield.

In the 12th verse the Psalmist recognises that God is a shield. In the 9th and 10th verses we see the greatness of the Psalmist’s peril. His enemies are profoundly depraved. “Their inward part is an abyss.” They are altogether corrupt. And yet his enemies are most plausible. “They flatter with their tongue.” “I have my doubts whether ‘flattery’ be the thing meant by the Hebrew words. Is it not rather that the persons in question, by plausible arguments and an ensnaring eloquence, contrived to set a fair appearance upon mischievous maxims and pernicious practices? Libertines, in all ages, have not wanted excuses for their riot and debaucheries. The idolaters of antiquity contrived to give an air of mysterious sanctity to the idlest fables and the foulest rites; and the philosophical atheists of modern times throw an air of wisdom over the most absurd doctrines and the most wicked principles. Thus the words of the wicked are fair while their practices are abominable, and they promise well with the worst intentions.”—Horsley. The enemies of the Psalmist were vicious and guileful, and he felt the need and blessedness of God’s shield. So the opposition which the saints have to overcome is similar to that encountered by David. Corrupt and plausible—such is the world, such the devil, such the flesh. God is our Shield, let us press close to its shelter!

III. God is their Song.

Psalms 5:11-12. Enemies throng, but the saints can sing.

1. It is the privilege of the saint to rejoice. “Rejoice.” “Shout for joy.” “Be joyful in Thee.”

2. It is the privilege of all saints thus to rejoice. “Let all those who trust in Thee rejoice.”

3. It is their blessed privilege always to rejoice. “Let them ever shout for joy.”

Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Psalms 5". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/phc/psalms-5.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.
Ads FreeProfile