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Psalm 5 and Puritan Meditation by Matthew Henry

What the Bible says about Godly Meditation through the Word
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The psalm is a prayer, a solemn address to God, at a time when the psalmist was brought into distress by the malice of his enemies. Many such times passed over David, nay, there was scarcely any time of his life to which this psalm may not be accommodated, for in this he was a type of Christ, that he was continually beset with enemies, and his powerful and prevalent appeals to God, when he was so beset, pointed at Christ’s dependence on his Father and triumphs over the powers of darkness in the midst of his sufferings. In this psalm, I. David settles a correspondence between his soul and God, promising to pray, and promising himself that God would certainly hear him (v. 1–3). II. He gives to God the glory, and takes to himself the comfort, of God’s holiness (v. 4–6). III. He declares his resolution to keep close to the public worship of God (v. 7). IV. He prayed, 1. For himself, that God would guide him, (v. 8). 2. Against his enemies, that God would destroy them (v. 9, 10). 3. For all the people of God, that God would give them joy, and keep them safe (v. 11, 12). And this is all of great use to direct us in prayer.

To the chief musician upon Nehiloth. A psalm of David.

Verses 1–6

The title of this psalm has nothing in it peculiar but that it is said to be upon Nehiloth, a word nowhere else used. It is conjectured (and it is but a conjecture) that is signifies wind—instruments, with which this psalm was sung, as Neginoth was supposed to signify the stringed—instruments. In these verses David had an eye to God,
I. As a prayer-hearing God; such he has always been ever since men began to call upon the name of the Lord, and yet is still as ready to hear prayer as ever. Observe how David here styles him: O Lord (v. 1, 3), Jehovah, a self-existent, self-sufficient, Being, whom we are bound to adore, and, “my King and my God (v. 2), whom I have avouched for my God, to whom I have sworn allegiance, and under whose protection I have put myself as my King.” We believe that the God we pray to is a King, and a God. King of kings and God of gods; but that is not enough: the most commanding encouraging principle of prayer, and the most powerful or prevailing plea in prayer, is to look upon him as our King and our God, to whom we lie under peculiar obligations and from whom we have peculiar expectations. Now observe,
1. What David here prays for, which may encourage our faith and hopes in all our addresses to God. If we pray fervently, and in faith, we have reason to hope, (1.) That God will take cognizance of our case, the representation we make of it and the requests we make upon it; for so he prays here: Give ear to my words, O Lord! Though God is in heaven, he has an ear open to his people’s prayers, and it is not heavy, that he cannot hear. Men perhaps will not or cannot hear us; our enemies are so haughty that they will not, our friends at such a distance that they cannot; but God, though high, though in heaven, can, and will. (2.) That he will take it into his wise and compassionate consideration, and will not slight it, or turn it off with a cursory answer; for so he prays: Consider my meditation. David’s prayers were not his words only, but his meditations; as meditation is the best preparative for prayer, so prayer is the best issue of meditation. Meditation and prayer should go together, Ps. 19:14. It is when we thus consider our prayers, and then only, that we may expect that God will consider them, and take that to his heart which comes from ours. (3.) That he will, in due time, return a gracious answer of peace; for so he prays (v. 2): Hearken to the voice of my cry. His prayer was a cry; it was the voice of his cry, which denotes fervency of affection and importunity of expression; and such effectual fervent prayers of a righteous man avail much and do wonders.

From, Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (pp. 749–750). Peabody: Hendrickson.

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