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This Psalm is peculiar in setting forth the characteristics of prayer in general.
I. In the first and second verses we have a suggestion of the variety of prayer. (1) "Give ear to my words " formal prayer; (2) "Consider my meditation " unexpressed prayer; (3) "Hearken unto my cry " ejaculatory prayer.
II. The second verse directs our thoughts to the appropriating power of prayer. God is addressed as " my King," " my God."
III. By the third verse we are pointed to the statedness and decency of prayer: "My voice shalt Thou hear in the morning."
IV. Expectancy is suggested by the third verse: "I will watch" or "look up."
V. A fifth element of true prayer appears in the seventh verse confidence. The Psalmist speaks as one who has a right to come to God's house.
VI. This confidence by no means excludes humble reverence: "I will come in the multitude of Thy mercy."
VII. Such an approach must involve joy: "Let them that love Thy name be joyful in Thee."
M. R. Vincent, Gates into the Psalm Country, p. 39.
I. Taking this Psalm as an example of personal waiting upon God, what may we learn of personal worship? Mark (1) the directness, (2) the earnestness, (3) the intelligence, of the speech. The Psalmist shows intelligence ( a ) by his conception of the character of God, and ( b ) by his view of the character and deserts of the wicked.
II. If this is the kind of prayer which the Lord will hear, then let us gladly learn that one man will be heard; that every man will be heard in his own way; that no man who loves wickedness will be heard; that those who are heard and answered should be enthusiastic in their joy.
III. Regarding this as an acceptable prayer, we may correct some modern notions of worship; for example, (1) that we may not tell God what He already knows; (2) that we may not make a speech to God; (3) that in prayer we should be continually asking for something. Our worship should distinctly express our personality of sin, trouble, and necessity; then it will be always new, vigorous, and profitable.
Parker, The Ark of God, p. 130.
References: Psalms 5:0 I. Williams, The Psalms Interpreted of Christ, p. 126. Psalms 6:2 . Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xx., p. 87.
Worship a sight of God.
Belief in God is the great regenerating force in the world. Not to believe in God is to be without the grandest idea which can exalt the mind and the noblest motive for moral attainment. But faith in God depends upon culture. We are born capable of believing in God, but we are not born believers in God. When a man begins to neglect his church or his place of worship, he loses one of the things which keep faith in God alive within him. The man who attends, even if it be but as a matter of form, cannot so much resist the influences around him but that he will be more refined and less sordid as well as being in the way of something still higher than if he did not attend. But if faith in God is to be a power elevating and ennobling a man's life, it must have some finer education than can be had from mere formal attendance at church; it must, in very fact, be a sight of God.
I. By worship I do not mean all sorts of religious services. There is one particular state of mind which is properly called worship. There are states of mind and feeling which primarily look within upon self, and there are other states which primarily look without upon something which is not self, something which attracts the mind by its own intrinsic worth or worthiness. And this is the real meaning of the word "worship." In worship the prime thought is not the profit or pleasure which may come to me, but the worth or worthiness of that which I see.
II. Of the self-regarding states we may take as illustrations the different appetites and passions with which we are endowed. Prayer as we understand and practise it belongs to the class of self-regarding states. It looks to God, but it does not seem to stay fixed upon Him, but comes back upon itself with the answers to its petitions. Prayer looks to God that it may get something from Him; worship looks to Him, and is entranced, and fascinated, and spell-bound by what He is in Himself. Thus worship implies a sight of God.
III. Such rare moments of worship are not to be had without effort. We cannot drop into a grand view of God as we drop into our seats at church. To such an elevation we must climb, and not until this high communion is reached can the full ravishment of worship hold fast in its attraction the self-forgetting soul.
W. Page-Roberts, Law and God, p. 27.
Reference: Psalms 5:8 . Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 257.
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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Psalms 5". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany