These articles are the product of a labor of love. I write these in the fear of God and the love for the church. Since God has spoken and acted in history and has left us the inspired record of these events, it is our solemn duty and pleasure as His children to study to be diligent to present ourselves approved to God as workmen who do not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth (cf. 2 Tim 2:15). Find more resources at www.fbcroxana.com.
God’s people are marked by prayer. We appeal to Him based on who He has revealed Himself to be and on what He has done for us. He is the almighty God. He is perfectly holy and righteous. Those who love God are being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ, His Son so that they love the things that God loves and hate those things that God hates. Therefore, we groan on account of the sin that fills this world, because we long for the day when the earth will be filled with His righteousness. This is why the Lord’s prayer begins with the petitions that God’s name would be hallowed, His Kingdom come, and His will be done.
Thus, this prayer is a prayer that every believer should pray. For this reason, it was used by the choir director for corporate singing.
For the choir director; for flute accompaniment.
A Psalm of David.
First, David writes of his determination to pray.
1 Give ear to my words, O LORD,
Consider my groaning.
2 Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God,
For to You I pray.
We can be assured that God hears prayer. Jesus and the apostles assured us over and over that God hears and answers the prayers of His people. Who are the ones that He hears and answers? Here, it is those who have sworn their allegiance to Him as King and who bow to Him alone as God. Believers come into His presence with confidence that He will give ear to their words and consider their groanings and heed their cry for help. For He is a great King and a powerful God. He knows all, and will deal kindly with those who trust in Him.
Since God is the sovereign King to whom believers appeal, David determines to persist in prayer and wait for the answer:
3 In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.
Morning by morning, David said that his prayer would rise up to the LORD. And morning by morning, he would eagerly watch for God’s answer. This is the pattern that the Bible sets for trusting prayer: persistence and expectation. We pray and we watch. And we continue to do so, for the more that we do, the more we demonstrate to God, ourselves, and the watching world, that we depend on God and trust Him to answer prayer.
Why does David turn His prayer to God so persistently?
First, because of God’s character:
4 For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness;
No evil dwells with You.
5 The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes;
You hate all who do iniquity.
6 You destroy those who speak falsehood;
The Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit.
Biblical prayer is also according to the will of God, and God’s will is consistent with who He is. The Scripture reveals God as holy. He is light, and in Him no darkness dwells (1 John 1:5). He cannot tolerate wickedness, for no evil dwells with Him. Because of that, the boastful and doers of iniquity and liars and murders are abhorred by Him. They will not live before Him. David persists in His prayers, for He is praying that God’s holiness, righteousness, and justice would be brought against the wicked. He earnestly desires that those who rebel against God would be judged. David sees the wickedness and iniquity of the world as they persist in doing those things that God hates, and he is agitated in his spirit, for He loves God’s character and cannot bear to see sin and iniquity persist.
Second, David turns His prayer to God so persistently because of God’s grace:
7 But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house,
At Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You.
God bestows His lovingkindness upon those whom He chooses that they would enter into His presence to worship Him. He recognizes that it is only because of God’s lovingkindness that He is able to bow before God. David knows that he is not righteous in himself, but that righteousness bestowed by God through faith. We know, with the fullness of revelation, that righteousness comes from God on the basis of the propitiation of His Son, Jesus Christ, who died for the sins of the world. Through faith, we are justified, declared righteous before God, so that we may approach Him and serve Him. It is because of this that David determines to persist in prayer and eagerly wait.
Now we move from the determination to pray to the contents of the prayer.
There are eight petitions that David makes to the LORD.
8 O LORD, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes;
Make Your way straight before me.
How we must pray this prayer: to be kept in the ways of the LORD and to not succumb to temptation or the wiles of the evil one. When we are surrounded by the wicked, we must petition the LORD to keep us from their ways and to protect us against their actions. For:
9 There is nothing reliable in what they say;
Their inward part is destruction itself.
Their throat is an open grave;
They flatter with their tongue.
In their speech, they seek to entrap the godly. But David prays,
10 Hold them guilty, O God;
By their own devices let them fall!
In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out,
The basis on which David makes these petitions is God’s holiness:
For they are rebellious against You.
They live in contradiction to the perfection of God, and though they know His ways, they do those things which are wicked in His sight.
11 But let all who take refuge in You be glad,
Let them ever sing for joy;
And may You shelter them,
The purpose that David asks that those who take refuge in God be made glad and joyful through His shelter is:
That those who love Your name may exult in You.
12 For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord,
You surround him with favor as with a shield.
Because God is who He is, He loves the righteous and surrounds them with His favor and blessing. All of those who love Him as He is and trust in Him will be saved, for He sent His Son to die for their sins. But the wicked will receive condemnation. He will hold them guilty, let them fall, and thrust them out in the multitude of their transgressions and by their own devices, since they are rebellious against Him.
When the people of the LORD cry out to Him, He hears them and knows their groaning. God heeds the sound of their cries for help, for He is their King and their God. What a great King He is, for He hears the prayers of His saints. May the church commit herself to lift up their prayers to Him in the morning and eagerly watch. O that the church would be devoted to knowing who God is, and what He desires. O that the church would know God’s holiness and His abhorrence of evil. Would that the church would despise sin and yearn for the day when it is eradicated. And O that the church would have its eyes set upon the blessed hope that God will protect and bring them into His eternal Kingdom.