An Old Song

Hovering over the opening verses of Psalm 5 this morning. Familiar and yet, thanx to the Spirit, surprisingly fresh this morning.

In 1975 a guy by the name of Bill Sprouse Jr. put the first three verses of Psalm 5 to music. (I know, David had done that a few years before then, but David didn’t have the Authorized Version to work with.) A few years after that, the guy in this chair was regularly singing Bill’s version of Psalm 5 with a group of “young people” whenever they gathered. I’m guessing that, next to John 3:16, probably among the first portions of Scripture I ever memorized.

Meditating on it this morning and I realize (I think for the first time since switching from the NKJV to the ESV in 2011) that the translation I’m reading now is different than the lyrics I sung years ago.

Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto Thee will I pray. My voice shalt Thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up.

(Psalm 5:1-3 KJV)

Give ear to my words, O LORD; consider my groaning. Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to You do I pray. O LORD, in the morning You hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.

(Psalm 5:1-3 ESV)

It’s that last phrase that I’m chewing on. Directing my prayer vs. preparing a sacrifice. Looking up vs. keeping a watch.

I do a bit of e-enabled comparison of translations and some e-enabled Hebrew lexicon work and am thinking the ESV is probably the more accurate translation. And it’s got me thinking again about the importance of morning prayer when it comes to setting things up for the rest of the day.

Asking God to consider our meditation or groanings in the morning; petitioning Him to hearken or give attention to our words; believing that our God is a God who desires to be engaged in our lives and is ready, willing, and able to hear our voice; should compel us each morning to lay out the pieces of our lives on an altar in His holy presence and then watch closely for His interaction with those pieces.

More than just looking up and directing our prayers heavenward, so often feeling like they never really get past the ceiling, we instead set forth our praise and petitions for God to descend upon and make contact with as He wills. Rather than trying to force things up, we simply arrange our stuff before Him–all our stuff, the good, the bad, and the ugly–and ask that His fire come down and envelope it.

And then we watch. We look out for. Like a watchman we set ourselves to observe closely. We lean into the day, peering into what is yet to transpire, expectantly looking for how the God who hears our prayers will interact with our pieces.

We watch. We wait. We trust. Having entered His house again through the abundance of His steadfast love (5:7), the love manifest in and through His Son. Taking refuge in His promised protection (5:11). Blessed as we rest in the covering of His all-sufficient, shield-like favor (5:12). Rejoicing as, under our breath, we sing again that old song, if even in the old way . . .

O Lord, in the morning, will I direct my prayer. Unto Thee and will look up.

By Your grace. For Your glory.

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