Context For Psalm 5
Psalm 5 says, morning by morning, he’s involved in watching this. I suspect in my sanctified imagination, he could smell the smoke of the sacrifice. The Tabernacle is not the Temple in David’s time. Remember, David spends the last years of his life assembling this huge amount of material so that Saul can build the Tabernacle Complex that David couldn’t build because of his hands.
So he gives it to his son Solomon to build. Solomon can build the Temple Complex that David was not allowed by God to build. But God said build yourself a house which he did. Let’s move on. Verse 3, you’ll see the phrase where he says, “Eagerly watch.” Let me read the verse again, in the morning O Lord, you will hear my voice. So David is saying, you are going to hear a prayer from me. You’re going to hear my voice of praise every morning and in the morning I will order. If you look at the NASB, the words my prayer are in italics, meaning the translators are leading you to a conclusion that’s not there in the Bible.
Anytime you read an italic phrase in the New American Standard, it’s a suppletion, meaning the New American Standard Allotment Foundation translators put that in there to smooth the reading.That’s another reason why I like the NASB. It’s a very wooden text; a little harder to read than some other Bibles, but you know those words aren’t in the Hebrew text. “In the morning, I will order to you and watch. That’s what it literally says. It doesn’t have the eagerly watch part. What’s David saying? Every single morning, this is so consuming to me, (We’ll get a hint later on, that it’s his enemies,) that I’m waking up and I’m going to pray to you.
Now the phrase, eagerly watch. We get the word eagerly probably from the word watch. It’s an anticipation. We know there was a watchman on the wall. A watchman who falls asleep isn’t much help. A watchman who stays awake and is looking is a very difficult job. When I wake up in the morning, I need two things. I need caffeine and oxygen, and usually in that order. I’m pretty good at the Bible study part; I’m crummy at the eagerly watching part. Really crummy at it. F.B. Meyers writes, We miss many answers because we get tired of waiting on the dock because we get tired of waiting for the returning ships.
The Psalmist Cries For Help
The Psalmist asks God: You’re supposed to be just and you’re not right now. I’m consumed with this prayer request. Every morning I get up and I’m ordering it and I’m putting it in front of you. If it was the sacrificial system, we can see David worshipping, watching the Levitical Priest carrying out the sacrifice, and he’s begging God for help. Number one: the Psalmist cries for help.
You Can’t Stand, But You Can Bow
I would suggest he’s saying, you can’t stand, but you can bow. When you come before Yahweh, Elohim, you can’t stand in front of Him, but you can bow. Number one: his cry for help and God be just. Number two: he is going to bow. I think the text gives us enough information somebody is after him. The Psalmist declares a core principle here. God’s character cannot abide with evil. What David is arguing here is: because of who you are; because you are holy and you demand a proper approach, you can’t just come mel pel in here with sin on your mind, on your conscience, on your hand.
God’s character cannot abide evil. One of hte most interesting phenomenas in the last decade has been the cry for tolerance, and the accusation of intolerance. We hear this all the time! Christians are intolerant people and that gets us even more angry. This passage is going to teach you and me a little bit about our intolerance with tolerance, and part of it has to do with your condition and mine as we come before Yahweh: we are completely intolerant in that He can’t deal with us. He cannot hoodwink sin. He can’t overlook and say, “Oh, that’s a small sin. That’s a insignificant one. That’s a big one. That one we’re going to have to talk about.” This principle that He cannot abide evil.
Now we’ve had a litany that David gives us. Scripture says evil’s evil and Yahweh’s good. There’s amalgamation of spiritual powers here in one big pond and you can use it for good or for bad. The Israel God, the Yahweh Elohim, the one true monotheistic God, says, “No, there’s me and there’s everybody else. I’m holy and I’m righteous and man is in a sinful condition.” Peter Craigie writes, “ Ultimate destiny of destruction for a life lived in direct contradiction to those who are opposed to God.” In other words, we all come in the same situation and David will associate himself with this in a moment.
God Can’t Tolerate Evil
Look at it carefully. Look at it: you are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness. He can’t tolerate it. No evil dwells in you. There’s no compartment of you. You don’t draw on the dark side of the force. Then he lists this litany: the boastful won’t be there, those who are iniquity, those who lie, those who commit bloodshed, those who are men of deceit; you can’t tolerate those people.
The core difference of these two groups of the evil and those who are not so evil, is one word: arrogance. It has to do with the heart of the person. Evil is characterized by these kinds of terms. The righteous is characterized with a person whose undone, with a person who knows he has no right before Yahweh Elohim. Again, we have the King of Israel saying, “I can’t even approach you.” Sure, we can easily compartmentalize those other people and be tolerant of the wicked and the evil, but verse 7 is the hinge.
But as for me, in contrast to the litany of evildoer, but as for me, by my righteousness I can approach you? By my good deeds? By the sacrifice I just performed in verses 1, 2, and 3. No, by your lovingkindness. This is the contrast, if this is the Tabernacle Complex beside him, not the temple complex. We do have a little bit of a problem here. Why does David call it the Holy Temple where he will bow in reverence?
I believe that as the Psalm was used over time, when David first wrote it, they all understood it was the mobile tabernacle unit. But once it was built, in Solomon’s day, the word probably became a field of meaning. It doesn’t mean that it was the mobile one and that every time they were supposed to set it up. So now we have established, this is the worship center of Israel and they built it under Solomon’s’ name. It’s the same word; the word didn’t change in the Hebrew, but it came to mean the Temple Complex.
Equal At The Foot of The Cross
Let me give you a lesson on this. The difference between self righteousness and righteousness is the acknowledgement of self. Bob Tolson used to say a phrase all the time, “There were no losers at the foot of the cross and no winners anyplace else.” I’m not any better than anybody. Calvary’s level ground. The most heinous, evil, sinner that David perhaps has depicted over against the self righteous Jew is just the same in God’s sight.
And the truth is, what? You nor I are any better than anyone else. Sure, in our gradiant view of sin, we might view some sins worse than others, but the truth of the matter is, the ground at Calvary is level; meaning, there’s no better sinner or worse sinner when it comes to the work of Jesus Christ. The good news is because the ground is level the opportunity is for all. For those of us that have some righteous indignation, and our hearts were angry towards those that hate us, ask God to do a work in your life; that you’d see them as confused, as deceived, as hurt people that need a Saviour.
For those of us who may have not yet come to know who this Christ is, He loves you; He cares about you; He took your sin and mine; He died in our place, on our behalf instead of us, and by trusting in Christ and Christ alone, you can know a relationship with the eternal God who loves you more than you can imagine.
If you miss Part 1 of Psalm 5 click here.