33 God’s Salvation (3)

Beatrice was running across the street once she got off the bus. From afar she could see that Jacqueline, Sasha, Marcus and Ernie were already standing at the front entrance of the SilverCity. She tried to wave them but they seemed to be too involved in a heated discussion and did not see her. “What’s so excited, buddies?” Beatrice yelled and tapped their shoulders from behind. They were all shocked and stopped chatting right away. Beatrice raised her eye brows, “What are you guys talking about? What’s going on?” Jacqueline said, “Let’s talk about it after the movie.”

After the movie, they were chilling in the Aloha Tea House. “Honestly, can you guys tell me what was going on?” Beatrice was sipping her bubble tea and asking. “You have to promise to stay cool and will not fly off the handle.” Ernie said seriously. “Go ahead, you know I can take anything!” Beatrice spoke with pride and confidence. “OK, we were at Bowling Alley last night and met Eleanor, Jessica and their gang. They were talking behind your back.” Jacqueline said. “What did they say?” Beatrice was intrigued. “They said you flirted around in order to get the position of the Valedictorian, Jessica should have got it since she was better than you. Also, you got the scholarship because you tried to impress Mr Blackman by volunteering in everything so that he could write you the best recommendation. You deliberately joined the GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) to canvass for more votes so that you could become the president of the Student Council last year. They suspected you might be a lesbian as well….” Sasha just kept on yapping insensitively to Beatrice’s feelings. “Well, I think I am really a bisexual, I could flirt and be a lesbian at the same time.” Beatrice smiled bitterly. However, deep down inside, she was really hurt; Jessica was one of her best friends, why did they talk behind her back? She has treated her with genuine friendship and had helped her out many times in the past. Why did she turn her back on me and slander me? Beatrice just could not get it.

“Beebe, are you OK? I did not see you online for a couple of days. Just wondering how you are doing.” Ernie called Beatrice. “I guess I am fine, just could not sleep for the past three days…” Beatrice responded feebly. “Do you want to hang out with my youth group tonight? We are having a music event, you might love some of the cool songs.”

“Who am I that the Lord of all the earth would care to know my name, would care to feel my hurt…Not because of who I am, but because of what you’ve done, not because of what I’ve done, but because of who you are….” Beatrice was deeply touched by the lyrics while Ernie and his friends were singing the song “Who am I.” Somewhere out there, someone cares to feel my hurt, someone understands my pain, someone knows who I am and my struggles, someone could answer my cry for help…..the youth pastor kept on speaking about the love of Jesus Christ, how he was betrayed by his friend and died for his enemies, and Jesus still prayed for them asking the Heavenly Father to forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing….What a forgiving love! “Lord, I want to follow you, please give me the same kind of forgiving love and protect me from further pains and hurts….” Beatrice whispered a little prayer sincerely.

Your Initial Response

Did anyone hurt you in the past? Have you cried out to God for help? How did you extend God’s forgiving love to them?

Psalm 5:1–12

1Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament. 

2Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. 

3In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. 

4For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with you, evil people are not welcome. 

5The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong; 

6you destroy those who tell lies. The bloodthirsty and deceitful you, Lord, detest. 

7But I, by your great love, can come into your house; in reverence I bow down toward your holy temple. 

8Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies— make your way straight before me. 

9Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with malice. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongues they tell lies. 

10Declare them guilty, O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against you. 

11But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. 

12Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield. (Psalm 5:1–12 NIV) 

1) “Eye” (“i=Eye”)

iEXP Bible Study Method

1 Draw a question mark at the place where you have difficulty of understanding.

2 Circle all of the names that David used to address God and number them in ascending order.

3 Circle all the attributes of God and number them in ascending order.

4 Underline the keynotes of David’s prayer and number them in ascending order.

5 Circle all the acts of the ungodly people and number them in ascending order.

6 Refer to other translations and come up with some new insights.

2) “Expound” (E)

iEXP Bible Study Method

Facing the provocations of numerous enemies were unspeakable sufferings to humankind. David seized the opportunity and told God about his adverse situation in the early morning. As we face our daily challenges and difficulties, praying in the morning is a worthy lesson that we should learn.

1 What was the attitude of the poet as he drew near to God?

2 Why did the poet call God his “King” (Psalm 5:2)?

3 Wasn’t the temple built in Solomon’s times? So why did David use the term “temple” (Psalm 5:7)?

Based on what reasons could the righteous people rejoice and have security (Psalm 5:11-12)?

Psalm 5 was written by David. Perhaps a short time before the revolt of Absalom was the background of writing this Psalm. Most probably, a bloodthirsty and treacherous chief led a rebellion against David.

This Psalm was called a “morning hymn” throughout the ages. In David’s times, he had already arranged singers and musicians to praise God (cf. 1 Chronicles 15:16). This psalm was accompanied by an orchestra of flutes.

Psalm 5 was an individual lament psalm. A Bible scholar entitled it “A Morning Prayer (in Anticipation of God’s Presence)” and another called it “Morning Prayer before Going to the House of God.”

Psalm 5:1

Essentially, the meanings of “words” and “meditation” (NKJV) are the same. In the usage of the Hebrew language, the latter is an intensification of the former word. The translation of English Standard Version has a closer resemblance to the original language: “Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning.” “Words” and “groaning” are audible sounds; as the poet was being oppressed, he cried out to God for help. When the poet received unjust treatment, he cried out to God intensely; thus a paraphrased version renders it as “Listen to what I say, Lord! Carefully consider my complaint!” (The NET Bible First Edition)

Psalm 5:2

David was the king of the Israelites but he addressed God as his personal God and King, implying that he has an intimate relationship with the Lord. When he was sunk in an unjust circumstance, David firmly believed God was the most righteous king on earth.

Psalm 5:3

The Israelites offered morning and evening sacrifices on a daily basis; also, morning and evening are the appropriate times to pray to God. After the night was over, a new day began to dawn, the poet grabbed the opportunity to pray in the early hours of the morning. “Lord, in the morning you will hear me; in the morning I will present my case to you and then wait expectantly for an answer.” (NET)

Psalm 5:4-6

God’s Attributes

The Israelites was greatly blessed for they were chosen by God, thus they receieved divine revelations, knowing God’s attributes, standard and intention consequently. There are three groups of words that described God’s attributes: “not a God who delights in wickedness”, “you hate all evildoers” and “the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man” (ESV). The poet stated clearly that God was absolutely holy; thus, He abhors unrighteous evildoers.

God’s responses

“Dwell” can be interpreted as sojourn, stay, live. Therefore, a paraphrased version translated it as “evil cannot be Thy guest.” In other words, God does not fellowship with evil people. “The boastful shall not stand in Your sight” (NKJV) means evil people cannot stand before the Lord of holiness. As God saw the acts of evildoers, emotions of hatred and abhorrence were produced in Him accordingly. Owing to the evil acts of those who oppose God, they will receive the punishment that they deserve. Finally, God’s judgment will come and He will destroy the evil ones.

Psalm 5:7

The temple is not the actual temple, but the worship centre of the Israelites, that is to say, the tent of meeting (cf. Samuel 1:9; 3:3). David was different to the evildoers; he was shown to be a godly person through his own aspiration and practices. Although David was a layperson, he still desired to enter the tent of meeting to worship God. David was convinced that he could fellowship with God, not out of his personal piety, but based on wholly the abundance of His lovingkindness (“the abundance of Your faithful love” (HCSB) and “great mercy” (NIV). Furthermore, David was willing to lie prostrate on the ground, worshipping God with a humble and respectful heart. The spiritual conditions and acts of the poet and the evildoers produced a strong contrast.

Psalm 5:8-9

The poet saw the enemies who surrounded him were people who liked to flatter, and their words were not trustworthy. The most horrible thing was that, their words were very destructive (Psalm 5:9). Based on the above reason and the poet also knew God was the only righteous one, thus he asked the Lord to lead him to walk the path of righteousness (the right path).

Psalm 5:10

The evildoers regard themselves as clever and thought their schemes were most perfect. Essentially, the minds and acts of the evildoers were against God. Therefore, the poet earnestly asked God to execute righteous judgment and punish them accordingly.

Psalm 5:11-12

The last two verses is a portrayal of a righteous person. The righteous not only took refuge in God, but they were also people who loved God, thus they could receive God’s blessings and protections, receiving joy and security as a result.

Conclusion

All people have to face great and small problems and difficulties in life; however, people who trust and love God will be blessed, they will have adequate strength and joy to face these challenges.

3) “Exercise” (X)

iEXP Bible Study Method

1 As godly people, when we are entrapped in difficulties, we should pray to and depend on God with faith.

2 Memorise Psalm 5:2-3.

2Give heed to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, For to You I will pray. 3My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up. (Psalm 5:2-3)

3 Resolve to experience God so that we will have a heart to admire Him more (Psalm 5:11).

4 Resolve to depend on God by means of prayers, thus having joy and strength to face our daily challenges (Psalm 5:11).

5 God is willing to listen to the prayers of His children; let’s learn to claim this promise.

6 Believers should have a heart of humility and reverence to minister and worship God (Psalm 5:7).

7 We should learn to bring the problems of human affairs that we encountered to God and asked him to defend for us (Psalm 5:8-10).

4) “Proclaim” (P)

By applying the biblical truths to their lives, believers would experience God. When the Bible students experience God and His truths, they should follow the example of the early Christians of testifying to non-believers and believers boldly. By means of speech, we witness to non-believing friends and to edify believers alike. The fourth step of the iEXP Bible study is “Proclaim”.

iEXP Bible Study Method

After finished studying the text, try to apply the truths to your daily living, family life and church life, and pray that you will experience the truthfulness and power of God’s Word. Grab the opportunity to share your experience with non-believers and believers, in family altar, small groups and social gatherings, as a way of witnessing the power of the gospel to non-believers and edification of believers. 

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