Daily devotion

Praise that pleads

Bring a ‘sacrifice’ of thanksgiving and praise to God,even as you are aware of the problems you face and the suffering of the world.

Psalm 5

The setting of the psalm is not clear, but it could easily have been used as a night vigil or to accompany the morning prayers and sacrifices in the temple. It blends both the assurance of faith and the plea of the sufferer in a beautiful alternating structure of praise and prayer. The psalm reflects both confidence in God and the problems faced. The enemies could be the psalmist’s inner thoughts, personal opponents, or even David’s political and national foes. The writer’s honest and heartfelt cry is for them to get what they deserve. For modern readers with sensitive dispositions, this does not seem right. Didn’t Jesus command us to love our enemies? Didn’t he forgive them?

The psalmist does not hide his deepest feelings. His call for judgement comes from the pain he feels, of rejection and plotting against him. He offers this to God in prayer, and knows that God is available to hear him, loving enough to understand him and just and powerful enough to do what is right. If we really believe God is in control, we can trust him to deal with our enemies and all that is wrong and evil in the world.

Confidence in God comes in the times of trial as much as in the times of peace. The test of faith is not when we face not stress, pressure or trial but when we live in the midst of them. That is why our ‘morning sacrifice’ of prayer, praise, confidence and trust is even more necessary. To live our lives in the service of God and his people, we need to be tested by circumstances, people , and our own personal struggles. How will you combine the challenges you face today with an attitude of trust and praise?

List out the reasons to praise God, the qualities of God that give you confidence in his love, and your own personal needs for help. How do they balance out?

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