May 19, Psalms 5, 38, 41-42

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Psalm 5

The Refuge of the Righteous

For the choir director: with the flutes. A psalm of David.

Listen to my words, Lord;
consider my sighing.
Pay attention to the sound of my cry,
my King and my God,
for I pray to you.

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I plead my case to you and watch expectantly.

For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil cannot dwell with you.
The boastful cannot stand in your sight;
you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who tell lies;
the Lord abhors violent and treacherous people.

But I enter your house
by the abundance of your faithful love;
I bow down toward your holy temple
in reverential awe of you.
Lord, lead me in your righteousness
because of my adversaries;
make your way straight before me.

For there is nothing reliable in what they say;
destruction is within them;
their throat is an open grave;
they flatter with their tongues.
10 Punish them, God;
let them fall by their own schemes.
Drive them out because of their many crimes,
for they rebel against you.

11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them shout for joy forever.
May you shelter them,
and may those who love your name boast about you.
12 For you, Lord, bless the righteous one;
you surround him with favor like a shield.

Psalm 38

Prayer of a Suffering Sinner

A psalm of David to bring remembrance.

Lord, do not punish me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.
For your arrows have sunk into me,
and your hand has pressed down on me.

There is no soundness in my body
because of your indignation;
there is no health[a] in my bones
because of my sin.
For my iniquities have flooded over my head;
they are a burden too heavy for me to bear.
My wounds are foul and festering
because of my foolishness.
I am bent over and brought very low;
all day long I go around in mourning.
For my insides are full of burning pain,
and there is no soundness in my body.
I am faint and severely crushed;
I groan because of the anguish of my heart.

Lord, my every desire is in front of you;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
10 My heart races, my strength leaves me,
and even the light of my eyes has faded.[b]
11 My loved ones and friends stand back from my affliction,
and my relatives stand at a distance.
12 Those who intend to kill me set traps,
and those who want to harm me threaten to destroy me;
they plot treachery all day long.

13 I am like a deaf person; I do not hear.
I am like a speechless person
who does not open his mouth.
14 I am like a man who does not hear
and has no arguments in his mouth.
15 For I put my hope in you, Lord;
you will answer me, my Lord, my God.
16 For I said, “Don’t let them rejoice over me—
those who are arrogant toward me when I stumble.”
17 For I am about to fall,
and my pain is constantly with me.
18 So I confess my iniquity;
I am anxious because of my sin.
19 But my enemies are vigorous and powerful;[c]
many hate me for no reason.
20 Those who repay evil for good
attack me for pursuing good.

21 Lord, do not abandon me;
my God, do not be far from me.
22 Hurry to help me,
my Lord, my salvation.

Psalm 41

Victory in spite of Betrayal

For the choir director. A psalm of David.

Happy is one who is considerate of the poor;
the Lord will save him in a day of adversity.
The Lord will keep him and preserve him;
he will be blessed in the land.
You will not give him over to the desire of his enemies.
The Lord will sustain him on his sickbed;
you will heal him on the bed where he lies.

I said, “Lord, be gracious to me;
heal me, for I have sinned against you.”
My enemies speak maliciously about me:
“When will he die and be forgotten?”
When one of them comes to visit, he speaks deceitfully;
he stores up evil in his heart;
he goes out and talks.
All who hate me whisper together about me;
they plan to harm me.
“Something awful has overwhelmed him,[a]
and he won’t rise again from where he lies!”
Even my friend[b] in whom I trusted,
one who ate my bread,
has raised his heel against me.

10 But you, Lord, be gracious to me and raise me up;
then I will repay them.
11 By this I know that you delight in me:
my enemy does not shout in triumph over me.
12 You supported me because of my integrity
and set me in your presence forever.

13 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and amen.

BOOK II

(Psalms 42–72)

Psalm 42

Longing for God

For the choir director. A Maskil of the sons of Korah.

As a deer longs for flowing streams,
so I long for you, God.
I thirst for God, the living God.
When can I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
while all day long people say to me,
“Where is your God?”
I remember this as I pour out my heart:
how I walked with many,
leading the festive procession to the house of God,
with joyful and thankful shouts.

Why, my soul, are you so dejected?
Why are you in such turmoil?
Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him,
my Savior and my God.
I[c] am deeply depressed;
therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan
and the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your billows have swept over me.
The Lord will send his faithful love by day;
his song will be with me in the night—
a prayer to the God of my life.

I will say to God, my rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about in sorrow
because of the enemy’s oppression?”
10 My adversaries taunt me,
as if crushing my bones,
while all day long they say to me,
“Where is your God?”
11 Why, my soul, are you so dejected?
Why are you in such turmoil?
Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Who is in charge of your vengeance?

In Psalm 41 we find that David knows where his satisfaction and purpose lie – in Verse 1 he declares “Happy is one who is considerate of the poor”. Later David continues in this psalm speaking of horrible hurts done to him, and how his closest friends have betrayed him. David considers two ways of thinking in Psalm 41. There is concern for helping others and preoccupation with vengeance. When we get to verse 10 David asks for God’s grace and help. The help God gives David can be read in two different ways. 1) That God’s grace gave strength for David to destroy his enemies or 2) That God’s grace for David caused others to be ashamed for betraying him. There may be no exact answer for you here but look again at the opening context of Psalm 41 and also remember that God rebuked David for his blood stained hands as king (1Chronicles 22:8).

Today you can answer the opening question of vengeance like this: “When God is in charge of my vengeance I will keep my integrity.” Consider Psalm 41:12 “You supported me because of my integrity and set me in your presence forever.” If there were ever a time for giving way to God it is in times of personal vengeance, and if you want to keep your integrity leave it in God’s hands.

Romans 12:19 Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for God’s wrath, because it is written, Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.

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