Reading: PSALMS 5-7
Click on the link for the reading to read the Psalms for this week. As we read, let us not do so in haste. Take time to read each Psalm at least three times: once to understand the content, once as a poem or song to feel the meaning, and once as a prayer to appropriate the Psalm into your life. There will often be a hymn attached at the bottom of the page that helps bring meaning to one of the Psalms for the week.
PSALM 5: Lead Me, O Lord
In Romans 3:13, Paul quotes verse 9 of Psalm 5 in a series of descriptions of the conduct of the wicked taken from the Psalms. He uses the quotations to argue that “all, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin.” We should never hear the declaration that wickedness contradicts the will and way of God without trembling at our own need of repentance and dependence on grace. We must also recognize from this Psalm that righteousness does not go unopposed. The psalmist is threatened by violent schemes and is already the victim of deceit and lies. Faced with these lies, the psalmist’s final appeal rests with God. We see that faith underlies all prayers for help. Our place is to ask in faith and then wait patiently for whatever outcome is in God’s will. For Jesus, it was the cross.
PSALM 6: O Lord, Heal Me
This psalm may have originally been composed by a sick person as a prayer for healing. The vocabulary of sickness and healing was also used metaphorically in the Old Testament for social and theological conditions, so the psalm probably came to be used as a general prayer for the restoration of the community. Sickness in the Old Testament speaks of the experience of being sick; what a person can express in words of feelings, emotion, and meaning. The psalmist looks to God as both the cause of his sickness and the solution. We today would reject attributing illness to an act of God. Nevertheless, the psalmist’s insistence that his plight be understood in relation to God has relevance to modern readers. Psalm 6 encourages us to understand sickness, suffering and death as the conditions of creatureliness that should make it obvious to us that the ability to secure our lives lies ultimately beyond our control. Relinquishment of self-control in dependence upon the grace and love of God has the liberating effect of allowing us to accept sickness, suffering, and death as the inevitable realities of being mortal, finite, fallible.
Psalm 7: In You I Take Refuge
Psalm 7 is a prayer for deliverance from enemies. Taking refuge in the Lord or making the Lord one’s refuge is a frequent metaphor in the psalms for the act of trusting one’s life to the care of God in uncertain and threatening situations. A prayer made on the basis of one’s own righteousness and integrity raises serious questions. How can anyone possibly ground prayer on such a basis with honesty? Part of the answer lies in the fact that such psalms are not intended to be a litany of self-righteousness before God. The psalms know that there is no autonomous independent righteousness upon which we can base our dealings with God. Such prayers were composed for a person who was in the right in comparison with an antagonist. They are the expression of a good conscience before hostility and opposition. They are a profession of faithfulness to the Lord. In Psalm7, the psalmist prays for the triumph of truth. In doing so, like Jesus, the psalmist “entrusted himself to the one who judges justly” (1 Pet. 2:23 NRSV).
This is the Psalm in hymn form. Read or sing it through with melody to give the Psalm another dimension.
We’ve attached a video clip for a different version of a musical adaptation of Psalm 5 below.
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