Provocative Devotion: Psalm 5

Psalm 5:4-8

For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
    evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
    you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies;
    the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
    will enter your house.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
    in the fear of you.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
    because of my enemies;
    make your way straight before me.

So much depth and emotion in these words. Pain and anguish over the presence of wicked people who are doing harm to others, they are bloodthirsty and deceitful. Surely the Lord is grieved and angered over such wickedness. But how am I to respond? There is so much wickedness in the world today that is a small and quick step onto a path of retribution and anger and taking vengeance into our own hands, into my hands. Yet David pleads to God to keep him on a path of righteousness. David wants nothing more than to bow down in worship of God and live a life that is pleasing to God. The fate of those who are his enemies he leaves in the hands of the Lord. In fact it seems that the wickedness of those around him, even that of his enemies, is actually a motivator for David to live a life more righteous and more trusting of God.

When I see wickedness in another I must have the same motivation as David. Rather than feeling proud in my own righteousness or seeking retribution against another, I must instead look to my own heart and ask God to lead me more fully into righteousness for His sake. Jesus said that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be blessed. That thirsting must start in my own life, that I walk in the path of righteousness. Jesus said I must first take the log out of my own eye and then I can help my brother with the speck in his eye. When I see evil in the world i can either become depressed and paralyzed over it, bemoaning a sense that it has never been this bad, (a false assumption to be sure) or I can become indignant towards those who do evil and in my own power go after them. Neither of those options are very helpful. No, I must seek the Lord and His righteousness praying that God makes the path to righteousness a clear and straight one so that out of the abundance of my relationship with God i might see the world around me changed for His glory.

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