To the chief Musician upon Nehiloth, A Psalm of David
1 Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.
2 Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto Thee will I pray.
3 My voice shalt Thou hear in the morning, O LORD: in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up.
4 For Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with Thee.
5 The foolish shall not stand in Thy sight: Thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
6 Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.
7 But as for me, I will come into Thy house in the multitude of Thy mercy: and in Thy fear will I worship toward Thy holy temple.
8 Lead me, O LORD, in Thy righteousness because of mine enemies: make Thy way straight before my face.
9 For there is no faithfulness in their mouth: their inward part is very wickedness: their throat is an open sepulchre: they flatter with their tongue.
10 Destroy Thou them, O God: let them fall by their own counsels: cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions: for they have rebelled against Thee.
11 But let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because Thou defendest them: let them also that love Thy name be joyful in Thee.
12 For Thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous: with favour wilt Thou compass him as with a shield.
God doesn’t love evil-workers, but He is merciful to those who fear Him.
We have a reverent fear towards the holiness of God. Not only do we accept God’s destruction of the wicked, but we also ask Him to do it. We share God’s holy indignation against those that work iniquity and will not repent. Finally, the emotion of joy follows the expressions of fear and indignation in this psalm. Even as the ground soldiers in a battle whoop and holler for joy when the Air Force drops armaments and wipes out the enemy, so we rejoice in God’s salvation from our enemies (the world, the flesh, and the Devil).
Verses 1–3. David begins this morning prayer with a plea for God’s ear but follows up quickly with a confident assurance that God will hear him. Even in our prayers we express faith in God, believing that He can hear us and will respond to our prayer. Note that David approaches God as his King. Remember that David is the most powerful man in all of Israel, so this confession is a significant insight into the heart of a God-fearing man. The heart of a godly man is one who is willing to bow to the authority of the King over all the earth. There are many who would say they believe in God, but they are unwilling to give Him the right to tell them what to do.
Verses 4–6. Now comes the familiar contrast between the wicked and the righteous, and how God’s perspective differs between these two groups. Whereas God hears the prayers of the one who looks up to Him in faith, He has no pleasure in wickedness. The foolish cannot stand in His sight and He hates all workers of iniquity. God does not enjoy wickedness and sin. He cannot stand the sight of sin. Not only does He hate sin, but He hates those that are characterized by the rebellion of sin. What would you do if you were lying in bed and suddenly you noticed an extremely large, dead rat lying there at your side? Of course you would recoil from it in utter abhorrence. This is how God views sin and the wicked man who refuses to repent of his sin. You may have heard the commonly used phrase, “God loves the sinner and hates the sin.” This statement has no basis in the Bible. For God is so holy that He cannot cuddle up to the dead rat of sin or that which has been corrupted by sin. Of course, those that are in Christ are covered by the righteousness of the Son of God and therefore are accepted by God. They are regenerated and sanctified by God’s power and they are objects of God’s love. But those that remain in their rebellion toward God are characterized by lying and violence. They are objects of God’s intense hatred and God will most certainly destroy them.
Verses 7–8. Now we express our relationship with this all-holy God who hates sin so much. This further accentuates the contrast between the godly and the ungodly. The godly man always recognizes himself to be the recipient of the great mercy of God. We are bathed in God’s mercy and this, in itself, is an admission that we are sinners. Indeed, the difference between us and the ungodly is that God has poured out His mercy on us. Yet another difference is found in the fact that we worship in reverence and fear of God.
Our enemies—the world, the flesh, and the Devil—are out to destroy us, and if they could do it, they would take us down to hell. David prays for God’s guidance in the way of righteousness. We have seen many who started out right but were taken by these enemies, “having loved this present world.” This real danger is ever before the true Christian and he prays for God’s ever-present guidance, that God may give rich clarity and light to his path.
Verses 9–10. Now the Psalmist turns back to the wicked. They are utterly corrupt in their heart and speech (depicted by the mouth, throat, and tongue). This is how they tempt men of God—through communication in newspapers, television, and universities. They lie about sin, about God, and about judgment. How does the man of God address such rebellion? Either he will accept these lies or wish for the wicked men’s destruction. Here the Psalmist asks God for their destruction only because they are steadfast in their rebellion and will not repent. If these men come to Jesus Christ, He will destroy the flesh, or the old man, that stands in rebellion against God. Otherwise, He will destroy them forever in hell fire. Verse 10 speaks of their rebellion. Thus, the wicked are defined as those that remain in rebellion against God until the end. It is important to point out that we do not know who these people are—God knows.
Verses 11–12. Again, David turns back to the righteous, defined as those who trust in God and “love His name.” Of course, those of us in the camp of the righteous are not perfect, but we are still recipients of God’s mercies, and we trust and love Him. These are the sharpest distinguishing characteristics of the righteous. We are not set in rebellion against God as are those that reside in the camp of the wicked. Rather, we rejoice in God’s salvation. We shout for joy, knowing that He will save us from our sins.
Whose side are you on? Many of the psalms ask this question by outlining the differences between the righteous and the wicked. Do you trust God, love Him, and rejoice in Him? If you are on God’s side, you will wish for the destruction of all that is wicked.
1. Worship may include this back and forth descriptive contrast between the godly and the ungodly—how they perceive God, how they walk, how they worship God, and how God perceives them. Worship is contrast.
2. We must worship in the fear of God. In the face of God’s terrible justice and pure holiness, we approach God with reverent fear. If our music, our prayers, and our confessions do not express a reverent fear of God then we are not worshiping God rightly.
3. To call for the destruction of all that is wicked and of those that refuse to repent is a legitimate form of worship. Indeed, God is destroying our own flesh and one day He will utterly destroy our other enemies: the world and the Devil. But we also rejoice in His salvation, His blessing, and His protection over us.
1. Give an example of a Didactic psalm.
2. What psalm begins with “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?”
3. What is contrasted in Psalm 5?
4. What does it mean to say that God abhors the wicked and deceitful man?
5.How can we say that God hates the wicked?
6. Give an example of an Imprecatory psalm.
7. What does the righteous man want to see happen to the wicked?
1. What is your perspective of your sin? Do you abhor your sin as you would abhor a dead rat in your bed?
2. Do we ever express indignation against the things that God hates? How do you think righteous indignation differs from self-centered anger?