Inverted Psalm

Book of Psalms, 1882
Book of Psalms, 1882

Monday morning. Psalm 5.

Sometimes it’s just too early and too soon and too messy to wrestle with all the nuances of David’s lyrics. The Almighty’s intolerance, destruction, and declarations of guilt – are these really the point of this song, or merely reflections of David’s emotional circumstances? Are these things upon which to build a doctrine, or simply the cry of a creative and wounded heart? Are these descriptions that saturate all of the sacred Word, or rather one poet’s attempt to wrap in human language that which is spiritually unknowable?

God’s infinite grace, love, and forgiveness – as demonstrated through creation, incarnation, and resurrection – sweep aside all doubts about His nature.

But still there is this Psalm (and many others) that lie before us – words that must be read, chewed, digested.

On this particular Monday, I find that the verses of Psalm 5 are best considered and consumed when inverted from ancient poetic statements into modernly personal queries. Soul-baring queries. Uncomfortable queries. Convicting queries.

1. Are my prayers intensely honest to the point of groaning?

2. Do I look to God alone for my soul’s help?

3. Do I pray daily with patient expectance?

4. Do I foolishly assume that God overlooks and tolerates my sin?

5. Does my pride keep me from drawing near to God?

6. Am I truthful and honest in all things?

7. Do I enter God’s presence in awe of myself or in awe of him?

8. Do I invite God to lead me on His chosen path?

9. Are my words untruthful, destructive, foul, or falsely flattering?

10. Have I been caught in my own trap of rebellion?

11. Do I love the Lord’s name and take joyful refuge in it?

12. Do I pursue a godly life and rest in His shield of love?

Suddenly Psalm 5 is my Psalm, for these are questions my heart needs to face and my soul needs to answer.

These are questions that bring me to a narrow place of reflection, a focused point of confession, a singular place of desire –

to rely only on God (not the things of this world)

to rely always on God (not just when I am confused and wounded)

to rely wholly on God (not also on myself)

and to rely humbly on God (acknowledging my selfish helplessness and his loving grace).

Welcome to Monday. Welcome to Psalm 5. Welcome to life. Welcome to divine love.

For the chief musician. A Psalm of David.
For the chief musician. A Psalm of David.