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Monday, January 11, 2016

Psalm 5
 
Let the cream rise to the top, and pour it in your coffee...

 
Like the previous hymn was an evening song, this is the morning song.  When I taught preschool, we would often begin the day singing the song I taught them just as I had to my children when they were little: "Good morning, good morning, good morning it's time to rise and shine.  Good morning, good morning, good morning, I hope you're feeling fine.  The sun is just above the hill, another day for us to fill with all the things we love to do, so can't you hear it's calling you doodle do, doodle do, doole do!  Good morning, good morning, good morning, it's time to rise and shine."  If you aren't a morning person, it would not be a song for you.  Sometimes I wasn't that morning person either, but when you are facing a class of three year olds, that doesn't matter: you get it sung and done!

 
But this morning song sounds at the beginning that it is one that begins before the coffee...

 "Give ear to my words, O Lord, Consider my groaning. 
Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God."
(verse 1) 

But Adam Clarke says, "We have seen from the conclusion of the last psalm that David was very happy, and lay down and slept in the peace and love of his God. When he opens his eyes on the following morning, he not only remembers but feels the happiness of which he spoke; and with his first recollections he meditates on the goodness and mercy of God, and the glorious state of salvation into which he has been brought." I must confess that when I awake and say my stumbling prayer before I get out of bed, it is not as glowing as the one Adam Clarke describes, but more of the groaning part for coffee. 

 
Then he goes on to sing,
 
"In the morning, O  Lord, Thou wilt hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch...

 
 
This part of the song has been put to music in the last decade or so and echoes a little in my head.  But I like how Adam Clarke describes this: "He finds it good to begin the day with God, to let divine things occupy the first place in his waking thoughts, as that which first occupies the mind on awaking is most likely to keep possession of the heart all through the day.  Truth. 


 
But as for me, by Thine abundant lovingkindness I will enter Thy house,
At Thy holy temple I will bow in reverence for Thee..
But let all who take refuge in Thee be glad,
Let them ever sing for joy;
(verse 7)

 
The word in the Old Testament for lovingkindness is "hesed," which is the inward churning of love from the deepest part, covenant faithfulness wanting intimacy.  This kind of love is given by Him in abundance, that makes it an invitation to enter His house.  Our response to this lovingkindness is to eagerly bow in reverence, to find refuge, to be glad, to sing for joy.  Wouldn't it be great if every morning we could squeeze out just a moment with the lover of our soul to do just that in response to what He desires to give us before we go out into that harsh world that is described in all the other parts of the Psalm.  If nothing else from this Psalm sticks, (like throwing the pasta up to the ceiling to see if it's done and it is when it sticks instead of falling on your head), is this, the "lovingkindness, hesed of God.  Just to go through the day knowing that's how God loves us is wonderful.  Accept it.  Believe it.  Be loved.

 
Adam Clarke says that "David considered it an inexpressible privilege to be permitted to attend public worship; and he knew that it was only through the multitude of God's mercy that he, or any man else, could enjoy such a privilege.  He who takes David's views of this subject will never willingly, be absent from the means of grace.  'In thy fear.'  Duly considering the infinite holiness of Thy majesty 'will I worship,' 'will I bow and prostrate myself' in the deepest self-abasement and humility."  Since the temple had not been built yet, David must be referring to the Tabernacle.  "But temple here may signify the holy of holies before which David might prostrate himself while in the house."

 
In contrast, going back to verse 4, "Neither shall evil dwell with Thee."  "As Thou art holy, so Thou hast pleasure only in holiness; and as to evil men, they shall never enter into Thy glory, not even to sojourn with Thee."  That's why there is no evil in heaven.  It's not heaven with evil.  The cream will rise to the top.

 
The verse following speaks of evil men.  "The foolish shall not stand." (verse ) "He is a fool and a madman who is running himself out of breath for no prize, who is fighting against the Almighty.  This every wicked man does...Some sin now and then, others generally; some constantly, and some labor in it with all their might...Such even the God of infinite love and mercy hates." (Adam Clarke)

 
And mayest Thou shelter them,
That those who love Thy name may exult in Thee.
For it is Thou who doest bless the righteous man, O Lord,
Thou doest surround him with favor as with a shield."
 
Oh, good!  There's that shield surrounding me again.  I like that, being sheltered by God, given favor.  It makes me want to exult in God and count the blessings of God.

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