Generally speaking, we can’t go wrong if we make David one of our Biblical examples.  Of course, the man was a sinner, and especially while standing in God’s spotlight, we see his flaws and sins.  But twice in God’s Word we are told that he was a man after the Lord’s own heart.  First, it was when Saul was being told that God was laying him aside as king of Israel – I Samuel 13.  And then Paul referred to that day, saying, God gave this testimony, “I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will” – Acts 13:22.  Using a little discretion, we can learn a lot about godly living by studying the life of David.  To have a heart after God is to be the very best we can be.
Here in Psalm 5, we have the privilege to hear this man of God in prayer.  It is definitely worth our time to consider what he says to the Lord and how he says it.  If this is a good step toward it being said that we are people after God’s own heart, then we need to study these words and implement these precepts.
I don’t know if my outline is logical, but I’d like us to consider David’s attitude, approach and appeal.  When I use the word “appeal,” I am not thinking about his specific requests.  David says, “Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels.  Cast them out.  “But let all those what put their trust in thee rejoice.”  I am not thinking so much about his reference to foolish people and those who work iniquity.  He prays about bloody and deceitful men, but it’s not this appeal which concerns me.
Rather than the judgment and destruction of the enemy, I’d rather we thought about their salvation.  That abusive and hateful relative of yours would be better “destroyed” by grace than by wrath.  North Korea and China may be dangerous enemies, but the best way to pray for them is for the Holy Spirit to sweep over them with life-giving grace.  And this evening, let’s not consider your depression and emotional distress.  David was certainly not unfamiliar with these things, but they weren’t his theme in Psalm 5.   And he had certainly experienced the dulness of spirit which infects us all from time to time.  I don’t know if he had thorns in his flesh the way Paul did, but let’s not think about them for the moment.  How did David approach the throne of grace?  What was his attitude and appeal?
What was David’s ATTITUDE as expressed in this Psalm?
He uses a word in verse 7, which actually permeates the entire Psalm – “worship.”  “I will worship toward thy holy temple.”  What is it to worship?  There is a long list of synonyms.  Some of them speak suggest physical action and posture – like kneeling and genuflecting.  Others refer to matters of the heart – like adoration, homage and devotion.
What do think about applying the word “appreciation” to worship?  Isn’t it true that you appreciate being appreciated?    Every once in a while your husband likes to hear: “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”  And even after fifty years of marriage, every wife needs to know that she is appreciated.  The truth is: the Lord yearns for that same approbation, but on an infinitely higher level.  It sounds stupid to actually say it, but the Lord deserves our worship, adoration, adulation, and appreciation.  And if we would like to enjoy more of the Lord’s blessings then we need approach Him in thankful worship.
Like you and me, I’m sure that David had his regular prayer list.  For example, we often hear his pleas for deliverance from his enemies.  But before, during and after presenting those burdens to the Lord, he bows his heart; he prostrates himself before God.  And while we may come to the Lord with our old list of requests, augmented by a couple new additions, we need to come with thanksgiving and with an acknowledgment that we know  who it is we are approaching.
And verse 8 suggests a submissive attitude to go along with that worship.   They travel hand-in-hand.  “Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness…” not only in our walk but also in our prayers.  We may think we know exactly what should be done to those who are our enemies, but the fact of the matter is we have no idea what it best – for either them or for ourselves.  David prays, “Lord, make thy way straight before my face.”  And it has to be immediately before my face, because I am horribly myopic – terribly near sighted.  Unless we are willing to be used by the Lord… unless we are willing to be lead of the Lord… we have no right to be asking for His intervention in our lives or in the lives of others.  “Not my will, but thine be done.”  Sure we pray about our relative’s cancer and the need of a new job for our friend who lives 500 miles away.  These are things over which we have no control, so we plead with the Lord to intervene.  But if we are not willing to do those things which God would have us to do “straight before my face,” then we have no right to ask Him for the things which only He can do.
And of course, God has no pleasure in wickedness, and evil will not be permitted into His presence.  The foolish shall not stand in his sight, because he hates all workers of iniquity.  So our worship needs to follow the washing our hands in the blood of the red heifer.  We need to sacrifice our foolishness, before we begin to appeal to His grace.
Notice how David APPROACHED the Lord in this worshipful prayer.
For example, to whom did David pray?  First, he addressed Jehovah, “O LORD” – Yahweh.  Sadly, this is in contrast to the prayers of so many people.  David wasn’t using his shotgun, spreading the pellets of his requests throughout the spirit world.  He was addressing the one true God, not the multitude of Baalim, not the pantheon of heathen Gods.  I don’t understand how Hindus can pray at all when their religion says there are 330 million gods.  David was as specific in his prayers, as Peter was in Acts 4 when he said, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” In another place Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go, for thou hast the words of eternal life;” and Lord, you have the words we need for comfort, for direction, for wisdom and for truth.  Three times in this Psalm and many, many other times, David specifically addressed “Jehovah.”
But it needs to be pointed out that he also called the LORD his God and even his King.  I have no idea at what time in David’s life he penned this Psalm.  Was it when he was fleeing from Saul, or was it when he was fleeing from Absalom?  Some other time?  Was he anointed king of Israel but not yet crowned, or had the coronation already taken place?  I tend to think this Psalm came later in David’s life.  I would like to think that the king of Israel looked toward Jehovah and called Him his “King.”
This goes back to an earlier point: David, a man with great authority, surrendered his scepter to the true King.  To David, Jehovah was not just the sovereign power over all creation; He was his sovereign.  The LORD did not just have control over David’s executioners and murderers, and over your detractors and evil contractors…  But the Lord has JUST as much authority over His own people – over us.  There are plenty of workers of iniquity who need to be put in their place.  But there are also plenty of Christians who are not as submissive to the will of their King as they ought be.  More often than not, David wanted the Lord’s will to be done in his life and in his nation.
Also, in regard to David’s APPROACH, notice another set of terms he uses.
Lord, “Give year to my words.”  Of course, David was not one of these Joel Osteen type, “name and claim it,” people.  He didn’t believe, as many foolish people are being taught today, that there is divine power in words – words which people pray and words which they simply say – over and over again.  And yet David did verbalize what was on his heart.
Did you ever as a parent say, or did you ever hear someone say to a child, “Use your words.”  God wants us to use our words.  Crying has its place, and tears speak their own special language, but David used his words in prayer.  It is not enough to wish that the Lord would bless His missionaries throughout the world.  It is not enough to hope that God would strengthen our church.  It is important, to ourselves if nothing else, to verbalize our prayers – praying for specific missionaries and specific church blessings.
“Give ear to my words. Harken unto the voice of my cry.”  This word “cry” doesn’t refer to tears, moaning, and unrestrained sobbing.  It is speaking about calling out to the Lord from that position of emptiness and grief.  It is crying out to God from the bottom of the well, not necessarily through a tear soaked pillow.  This is not an uncontrollable outburst of emotion; David was very much in control.  He was fervent; he was in earnest when he prayed.  I know that James was thinking of another Old Testament saint, but he could have been referring to  David’s emotion when he said, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
In addition to his prayers, words and cries, David also came to the Lord with his meditations.  I was surprised to learn that this use of the word “cry” is unique.  No where else in the Bible is that precise word used.  And furthermore, this word “meditation,” is used in only one other verse, and there it is translated differently.  Psalm 39:1 – “I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.  I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred.  My heart was hot within me, while I was MUSING the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue,  LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.”
I think that among other things, this word tells us that David mulled over the things about which He prayed.  He may have even thought about whether or not these things should be brought to God’s throne.  Is this a selfish request?  Is this something which will glorify the Lord, or is it mostly about me?  Not that there is anything word with brief,  immediate, and ejactulatory prayers, but our most beneficial periods of prayer should come out of our devotions.  Our prayer lives should flow out of meditation on God’s Word, and our meditation on the Lord Himself.  To pray in the will of God necessitates spending time listening to Him, reading His word, meditating on Him.  David’s prayers were a part of his spiritual meditations.
And think about David’s APPEAL.
Again, this evening let’s not consider the specifics of his requests.  He does mention some items two-thirds of the way into this Psalm.  But initially, he appeals to the Lord without laying any specific burden before Him.
Again, I’m not trying to dissuade anyone from casting all your cares upon Him.  He does care for you.  But do we really know for sure what our greatest needs really are?  Isn’t there a lesson on the general nature of prayer in verses 1 and 2?  “Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation.  Hearken unto the voice of my cry.”  There aren’t any specifics mentioned here.  “O my God, I am simply laying myself out before you.  You know what is best for me.”
“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”    “And will look UP.”   I am undoubtedly stretching this point too far, but may we say that David wasn’t coming to the Lord with his eyes cast down as a beggar?  Wasn’t his approach more like that of a son?    There was no arrogance in it, but still he was only a prince in the family of the great King.  But he was a child of the King’s family.
Let the last two verses of this psalm wash over you like a warm mineral bath.  “Let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice:   let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them:   let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.  For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.”
David refers to his enemies and some of the problems of his life.  But in his meditations and in his worship, with his eyes set on the Lord above, he begins his day with joy.  How can our hearts be cast down living under the peaceful reign of Jehovah?