Saturday, February 22, 2014

Outcry - Psalm 5

Give ear to my words, O Lord; 
give heed to my sighing. 
Listen to the sound of my cry, 
my King and my God, 
for to you I pray. 

O Lord, in the morning 
you hear my voice; 
in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch. 

For you are not a God 
who delights in wickedness; 
evil will not sojourn with you. 

The boastful will not stand 
before your eyes; 
you hate all evildoers. 
You destroy those who speak lies; 
the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful. 

The writer of the psalm is crying to God, asking for help. Facing the threat of violence, he begs God to destroy those who are telling lies. Perhaps he has been accused of wrongdoing himself, and is now pleading his case to God. The psalm can be used today by anyone being threatened by wicked, evil, boastful, bloodthirsty or deceitful people.

You know them: Friends who are really enemies -- "frenemies." High school gangs. Street thugs. Unfaithful spouses. Unethical co-workers. Substance-abusing relatives who lie to you. Put-down artists. Adversaries who try to undermine and destroy you. Sleazy salespeople and unscrupulous loan officers. Anyone who lies, cheats and steals, showing no regard for the welfare of others.

In short, the people who make you want to scream. All of us have them in our lives, every one of us. But yelling at such people face to face is not always an appropriate or productive thing to do.

That's why Psalm 5 encourages us to make an open outcry first to God.

"O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice," says the psalmist; "in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch. For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil will not sojourn with you."

Believe it or not, we can gain relief simply by speaking honestly about our troubles. "Talk therapy" is the technical term, and it can do a lot of good for people feeling depressed, stressed or anxious. Professional therapists all agree that talking, articulating, voicing, speaking or otherwise expressing our ideas, thoughts and feelings is a good thing.

So why not talk about your feelings with God, who is the Ultimate Listener? In the morning, plead your case -- ask for help with friends, enemies, spouses, co-workers and relatives. Pray for strength to face the challenges of the day.