Some psalms are difficult to outline; others easily lend themselves to an organized layout. Psalm 5 falls in the latter category. It begins with a plea (Psalm 5:1-3) directed to the Lord, whom David addresses, "O LORD . . . my King . . . my God . . . O LORD." It concludes with a promise (5:12). Sandwiched between the plea and the promise are four descriptions.
I observe three things in David's introductory plea.
First, it was a "morning" prayer. Twice in verse 3 David mentions that it was "in the morning" that he met with his Lord.
Second, it came from one who was becoming increasingly discouraged. Look at the first two verses and notice how they grow in intensity: "Give ear to my words . . . consider my groaning . . . heed my cry!"
David is pleading: "Give ear!" Next, he becomes more burdened: "Consider!" He then grows stronger in his plea with the request that the Lord "Heed the sound of my cry for help!" To enter into the depth of this hymn, you cannot afford to miss the growing discouragement in the writer's heart. Let yourself imagine his inner groaning. Picture his intensified misery as you mentally relive his situation.
Third, the psalmist anticipated God's intervention. By faith, he counted on the Lord's help. I see two statements in verse 3 that reveal this: (1) "I will order my prayer to You," and (2) "I will eagerly watch."
The Hebrew verb translated "order" means "to make an order." The statement could read, "In the morning I will place my order with You." While that might sound presumptuous at first, maybe even a little bossy, it's said in the spirit of someone holding a menu. He's merely choosing something the Lord has offered. David looked upon the morning as the time to "place his order" from the Lord's menu of blessings.
He then said, "I will eagerly watch" (literally, "look forward"). After placing his order, he eagerly anticipates an answer from his Lord. David refused to stumble about stoop-shouldered, carrying his burdens throughout the day. On the contrary, he took his needs to the Lord each morning.
When we think of "placing an order," we remember one thing that is essential: we have to be specific. Too many prayers suffer from timidity and vagueness. God invites us to pray with bold expectation when we ask for what He has promised or anticipate what we know to be His will.
After David placed a specific order each morning, he anticipated answers. He expected God to "fill his order" and then looked forward to that throughout the day. When our outlook is dim in the morning, when discouragement worms its way in, a good remedy is to focus our attention upward. And what a difference it makes in our day! Throughout Scripture, spiritual turning points occur at morning time. Darkness gives way to light as contemplation yields insight.
David's cries became more desperate as he continued to suffer and continued to seek God's intervention. Then, he prayed with confidence in the Lord's sovereignty and goodness. In fact, he decided to begin each morning this way; he greeted each new day by "placing his order" and resolving to wait with confidence for God's response.
From Living the Psalms by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
In Embraced by the Spirit, we step away from the heat of theological battle that analyzes and criticizes and move quietly and closely to the One who has been sent alongside to help.