This week we have looked at Psalm 5, and it is a cry to the Lord for his help, and for justice for those against God and his ways. But the thing that was most striking was the basis for all he said.
David composed these songs carefully, and in this psalm he uses an ancient literary structure which we don't really use today. We call it a chiastic structure. Based on the Greek letter 'chi' which is an X.
Stick with this, because if you get it, it reveals the heart of the psalm!
Just as the letter X is all connected through the centre, when someone writes in a chiasm, everything is connected through the centre. All the other sections mirror one another, as you move out from the centre.
So in Psalm 5 is like this:
Section 1 (verses 1-3)
Finding a confident hearing in the LORD
Section 2 (verses 4-6)
Against the enemies
Section 3 (verses 7,8)
Because of your unfailing love
Section 4 (verses 9,10)
Against the enemies
Section 5 (verses 11,12)
Finding joyful refuge in the LORD
So what's at the centre of all David's confidence and hope and desire for justice?
verse 7,8: God's unfailing love. And that is the translation of the old Hebrew word 'hesed':
The 'Jesus Storybook Bible' for kids takes the 'hesed' idea and describes God's 'never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love'. That's about as good a description as you can get. And the ultimate fulfilment of this covenant love? The coming of Jesus Christ. God's love and his forgiveness and his mercy for us in Jesus Christ, as he gives us a new life, and a new hope and destiny. Now that is something to have at the heart of your prayers to God; a rock solid confidence in God's covenant love for us. Meditate on that and have that at the heart of your prayers.
Here's the psalm:
For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be accompanied by the flute.
1 O Lord, hear me as I pray;
pay attention to my groaning.
2 Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God,
for I pray to no one but you.
3 Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.
Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.
4 O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness;
you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked.
5 Therefore, the proud may not stand in your presence,
for you hate all who do evil.
6 You will destroy those who tell lies.
The Lord detests murderers and deceivers.
7 Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house;
I will worship at your Temple with deepest awe.
8 Lead me in the right path, O Lord,
or my enemies will conquer me.
Make your way plain for me to follow.
9 My enemies cannot speak a truthful word.
Their deepest desire is to destroy others.
Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.
Their tongues are filled with flattery.[a]
10 O God, declare them guilty.
Let them be caught in their own traps.
Drive them away because of their many sins,
for they have rebelled against you.
11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them sing joyful praises forever.
Spread your protection over them,
that all who love your name may be filled with joy.
12 For you bless the godly, O Lord;
you surround them with your shield of love.