Psalm 5 Sermon From February 2012 Prayer Service
Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Rev. Ted A. Giese / Wednesday February 1st 2012: The Season of Epiphany Psalm 5. “Begin the Day with Prayer”
Give ear to my words, O LORD;
consider my groaning.
Give attention to the sound of my cry,
my King and my God,
for to You do I pray.
O LORD, in the morning You hear my voice;
in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for You and watch.
For You are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil may not dwell with You.
The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes;
You hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies;
the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
But I, through the abundance of Your steadfast love,
will enter Your house.
I will bow down toward Your holy temple
in the fear of You.
Lead me, O LORD, in Your righteousness
because of my enemies;
make Your way straight before me.
For there is no truth in their mouth;
their inmost self is destruction;
their throat is an open grave;
they flatter with their tongue.
Make them bear their guilt, O God;
let them fall by their own counsels;
because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out,
for they have rebelled against You.
But let all who take refuge in You rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread Your protection over them,
that those who love Your name may exult in You.
For You bless the righteous, O LORD;
You cover him with favour as with a shield.
(Psalm 5 ESV)
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord. Amen.
Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends. “O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.” You may remember in the section of the catechism entitled Daily Prayer that Dr. Luther suggests a way to begin your day,
In the morning, when you get up, make the sign of the Holy Cross and say:
In the name of God the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord's Prayer. If you choose, you may also say this little prayer:
I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray Thee to keep me this day also from sin and all evil, that all my doings and life may please Thee. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.
Then go joyfully to your work, singing a hymn, like that of the Ten Commandments, or whatever your devotion may suggest.
Your Morning Prayer time might not be as elaborate as what Dr. Luther suggests or it might be more elaborate, either way having a moment to prepare for the day ahead is always helpful. Psalm 5 is a Psalm of David, and when David writes, “O LORD, in the morning You hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for You and watch.” We are being taught an important thing, we aren’t just saying words out into the universe hoping that someone somewhere will hear us, rather we can be confident that our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ, His dear Son, does in fact hear our voice: That when we thank Our Father for a peaceful night and protection for the day, that He hears us.
On many nights David lay down to sleep in danger and there were many mornings when David would have looked at his day and anticipated danger. Yet this is his prayer in Psalm 5, David was king and yet David says, “Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to You do I pray.” He trusts that our Heavenly Father will “give ear to [his] words” and that God will, “consider [his] groaning.” When we read the rest of his prayer and consider why David is “groaning” an image of a morning calm before the storm rises up before us. Like a quarterback waiting for the snap, looking over the shoulders of his linebackers at the opposing team, knowing that every one of them want to see him laid out, tackled to the grown, that each one wants to see an incomplete, a fumble, a reversal. Like that quarterback in the calm before the snap David in the morning prays; and while we may not wake from sleep each morning with eyes to the dangers before us, it does not mean that those dangers aren’t there. They are as real for us as they are for David. Be Alert: Sin crouches at the door desiring to control you, Death sets it snare to trap you, the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking to devour you, the World looks to enslave you to its fallen nature. These are your enemies; David says that they and those aligned with have “no truth in their mouth” that “their inmost self is destruction” that “their throat is an open grave” and that “they flatter with their tongue.” Your enemies are crafty and clever and they are seeking to outwit you, out play you and out last you.
In our Psalm this evening, David prays for protection from evil and from evildoers, from the boastful and from the bloodthirsty and the deceitful. Luther wraps all these up into the Wicked Foe in his morning prayer. In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus teaches us to pray “deliver us from evil”
Just like the quarterback who requires protection in his work, we need protection in ours. The quarterback cannot take revenge for the times he is tackled. Protection and retribution for the quarterback are in the hands of the rest of the team, and this is where our analogy breaks down because we are not charged with making vengeance on behalf of others, vengeance belongs to the Lord. Saint Paul writes “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
You have no weapons of your own making, no internal goodness capable of defending yourself against your enemies; Just as David was given all his victories by God you too receive all your victories in Christ Jesus, it is Jesus who will come to judge the living and the dead and it is God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) who answers David’s call for protection, vengeance and judgment in all things. In the same way your prayer is answered too. In Christ Jesus this same gift is yours, God given humility reaches out to grasp it: St. Paul encourages you to, “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” In the morning, by faith, grasp these precious gifts and in prayer arm yourself for the day, putting your whole trust in the LORD.
It is the foolish quarterback who takes to the field with no helmet and no pads, or worse it is the self proud and arrogant quarterback who takes to the field naked believing he can defend himself against the opposing linebackers set against him. It is Foolhardiness, Pride, Arrogance and Self-centeredness that seeks to protect the itself with its own power, which seeks to exact personal vengeance, which seeks to judge friend and enemy alike. David wisely takes up the gifts of the LORD and places his enemies into the LORD’S Hand; trusting in God David takes refuge in the LORD: and you can too! The same shield of the LORD’S Favour is your shield too!
“Seek the LORD where He may be found [!]” Where is Jesus found most obviously in this Psalm? “Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness” David prays, who is the righteousness of God? Jesus the Christ is the righteousness of God and in Baptism, because of His death and resurrection, we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus. Prophetically, David prays what amounts to “Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness [Who is Christ Jesus],” “because of my enemies;” David prays, “make Your way straight before me.” Does this ring a bell? What does John the baptizer says of himself when asked if he is the Christ, quoting Isaiah John says that he is “the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’” Who’s Path: Jesus the Christ’s path. Prophetically, David prays in Psalm 5 what amounts to “Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness [Who is Christ Jesus],” and “because of my enemies; make [Jesus’] way straight before me.” Jesus is David’s shield and Jesus is your shield; Jesus is your Offence and Jesus is your Defence against all who would seek to harm you. In your baptism, return daily to Jesus, always be aligned with Him, in repentance confront your sin, asking Jesus for forgiveness by His blood; rest assured that He knows every play in the playbook of the evil one and that He will hear your cry for help, your groaning for delivery, your morning prayer and all the prayers you offer up to Him.
Jesus will not just hear your morning prayer, Jesus will act in the will of God on your behalf; when you with David pray for deliverance from your enemies know that Jesus has acted on your behalf! He has entered into the game, He has taken the field and holds it; in His incarnation, in His birth, life, death and resurrection He dealt the final blow to your enemies and all those forces that oppose you. Now we pray with confidence when the morning comes.
I have a great little book called Reading the Psalms with Luther, and in it, accompanying Psalm 5, is this little prayer; let me leave you with this prayer as our sermon concludes this evening:
“Lord Jesus Christ, You are the Light of the world and alone the Way to eternal life. Restrain the corruptors of Your Word and all the enemies of Your truth. Preserve the truth of Your Gospel in these latter days and in faithful teachers who will lead us in the way everlasting. Grant us to serve You in steadfast faith and a good conscience to our end. Amen.”
Let us pray: LORD, have mercy on us; Christ, have mercy on us; LORD, have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.”
 Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation, Concordia Publishing House, pg 32-33.
 Genesis 4:7
 Proverbs 13:14
 1 Peter 5:8
 Galatians 4:3
 Romans 12:19
 Ephesians 6:10-18
 Isaiah 55:6
 Mark 1:3
 Reading the Psalms with Luther, Concordia Publishing House 2007, pg23.