“Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning…For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.” Psalm 5:1,4,5 (ESV)
“God, you’ve gotta do something!” Perhaps you have awakened with this intense passion for justice. We want the right things to happen. We want good, not evil.
Yes, we can tend to judge the others wrongs while overlooking our own faults. But we do identify with the Psalmist’s deep passion for goodness and justice. What is the problem that wakes our thoughts and bothers so much? We live in a world of evil, lies and deceit. The prevailing motivations often move in destructive selfishness and not toward another person’s good. And, people hurt me! Now I should note, people seek good for others and do good deeds all the time. So why am I so negative with this extreme description? Yes, as humans created in the image of God, we often show that which is beautiful and good. But we live in a world where people choose evil and cause deep pain.
The Psalms of Lament give us permission for our hearts to struggle when humanity’s worst shows up and causes this pain. What do we do about this evil? We must imitate the Psalmist, King David. We watch with prayer and in hope for God to act in His righteousness. It is not enough for us to dig deep inside of ourselves and muster our strongest resolve. We must turn to our loving God. In other words, it is not our best self that is the answer, it can only be the love of Jesus who gave His life for us and defeated evil.
When we depend on God’s loyal love, we find the protection we need to overcome the injustice of this world. “Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me” (vs 8, ESV). You may have wondered as I have, when have I prayed enough? Certainly, the Apostle Paul instructs us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Yet there will be times when we continue to have a heavy heart that cannot yet be relieved. But may I offer a challenge to all of us today that I see in Psalm 5? Let us keep praying until our hearts come to the place where we “sing for joy” (vs 11, ESV) because we have moved from pain to trust. “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17. ESV).
Prayer: Father, thank you for the gift of prayer and Word. We come into your presence in humility and the fear of the LORD. Please, deliver us from the enemy, make your righteous way plain to us, and surround us with your shield of love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.