¨ Here David makes the malice and wickedness of his enemies an argument to enforce his prayer for the divine favor towards him… His reasoning is grounded upon the nature of God. Since righteousness and upright dealing are pleasing to Him, David, from this, concludes that He will take vengeance on all the unjust and wicked. And how is it possible for them to escape from His hand unpunished, seeing He is the judge of the world? This passage is worthy of our most special attention. For we know how greatly we are discouraged by the unbounded insolence of the wicked. If God does not immediately restrain it, we are either stupified and dismayed or cast down into despair. But David, from this, rather finds matter of encouragement and confidence. The greater the lawlessness with which his enemies proceeded against him, the more earnestly did he supplicate preservation from God, whose office it is to destroy all the wicked, because He hates all wickedness. Let all the godly, therefore, learn, as often as they have to contend against violence, deceit, and injustice, to raise their thoughts to God in order to encourage themselves in the certain hope of deliverance. JC
¨ The basing of the prayer [is] on God’s holiness… [and] the light of the divine holiness is to sinners a consuming fire, which they cannot endure. K&D, Franz Delitzsch
¨ [This is] the ground of his hope. Deliverance from his enemies is the object of his prayer. His enemies are wicked therefore God will deliver him, as being a sincere worshipper, from them. JFB, A.R. Fausset
¨ And now the Psalmist having thus expressed his resolution to pray, you hear him putting up his prayer. He is pleading against his cruel and wicked enemies. He uses a most mighty argument. He begs of God to put them away from him, because they are displeasing to God Himself.
¨ Sin, ungodliness; it is contrary to His nature, who is holy, just, and good; and to His will revealed in His law, which is the same with His nature; and sin is a transgression of it. God is so far from taking pleasure in sin, that it is the abominable thing which His righteous soul hates; though this hinders not His voluntary permission of sin, or His decree of it; which He has willed, though He does not delight in it, in order to magnify the riches of His grace and mercy in the salvation of His people: nor is this contrary to the delight and pleasure which He takes in the persons of His elect in Christ, though they are sinners in themselves, and were so when He so loved them as to give His Son for them, and who died for them while they were yet sinners; and when He sends His Spirit to regenerate and sanctify them, and are after conversion guilty of many sins: for, though He delights in their persons, He has no pleasure in their sins; nor is it consistent with the holiness of His nature to take pleasure in wickedness, let it be committed by whomsoever. JG
¨ Seeing that God of nature hateth wickedness, He must needs punish the wicked, and save the godly. 1599 GB
¨ David [takes notice that God is a sin hating God and is encouraged in his prayers] against his enemies; they were wicked men, and therefore enemies to God, and such as He had not pleasure in. See… the holiness of God’s nature when he says, thou art not a god that hath pleasure in wickedness, he means, “Thou art a God that hates it, as directly contrary to thy infinite purity and rectitude, and holy will...” God has no pleasure in wickedness though covered with a cloak of religion. Let those therefore who delight in sin know that God has no delight in them… MH
“[…] neither shall evil dwell with thee.”
¨ Again, we may infer from this passage the common doctrine, that God, although He works by Satan and by the ungodly, and makes use of their malice for executing His judgments, is not, on this account, the author of sin, nor is pleased with it because the end which He purposes is always righteous; and He justly condemns and punishes those who, by His mysterious providence, are driven whithersoever He pleases… David declares simply, that there is no agreement between God and unrighteousness. JC
¨ […] neither shall evil be received by thee as a pilgrim, to sojourn even for a time in thy tabernacle. He who would dwell with God must be holy, as God is holy. JFB, A.R. Fausset
¨ Deeply ingrained in
¨ That is, the evil man, who continues in a course of wickedness, and lives and dies in his sins. He has no communion with God here, nor shall he dwell with Him hereafter; but shall be bid to depart from Him, whether he be a profane sinner openly, or secretly a wicked professor of religion. The sense of the psalmist is, that since they were evil and wicked men, that were risen up against him, and gave him trouble, he entertained a strong confidence that God would hear him, for himself and his friends, whose cause was righteous; and appear against his enemies, who were wicked and ungodly men; and this he grounded upon the purity and holiness of God. JG
How important this Psalm is for us to know and to understand. How often have we made our plea to God when assaulted by the world, perhaps even assaulted by the Church, based upon our own merits and on the merits of our individual case? Yet when left alone, when judged by ourselves, we are just as guilty as the men against whom we are bringing before the Lord. It is our relationship with Christ and the fact that He has died on the cross for our sins and justified us that allows us to approach God and plead our case. It is on the merits of Christ that we rest and on the holiness of God that we make our plea. We are not comparing these men who persecute us to ourselves for therein they have good standing; we are pleading our case by comparing them to God. These men are not justified sinners such as the saints are; they are guilty sinners worthy of God’s wrath and that is the case that must be made.
God hates sin and He hates the sinner. Without Christ each and every man on the earth will pay a just punishment for their sin. When they have wronged us we have a right to take our complaint before God and expect that the sin they have committed against us is an affront to His holy nature and as such must and will be dealt with accordingly. In Christ our cause is righteous; but theirs can never be even when cloaked in the guise of Christianity. Cast your cares upon the Lord, share with Him the concerns of your heart, plead your case before him openly and often, but do so with the deciding factor resting with His character and never your own. The greater offense is not that they have sinned against you but that in so doing they have sinned against God and evil cannot dwell with Him. It is in this fact that we may entertain and rest in the blessed hope that we will be delivered from our troubles and the wicked will answer for their sins.
When we are assaulted it is natural to feel hurt, to feel the sting of the occasion. But let us discipline ourselves and train our hearts to be so firmly fixed on heaven and the glory of God that personal injury may be laid aside and the greater consideration will always be the sin they have committed against our Lord. And then when we come before Him we may say with David that we are making our case for the sin they have committed against us in light of the greater offense it is against a holy God who cannot suffer sin to be left unpunished.
I will leave you with the pious prayer of Martin Luther in dealing with Ps. 5. “Lord Jesus Christ, you are the light of the world and alone the way to eternal life. Restrain the corrupters of your word and all the enemies of your truth. Preserve the truth of your Gospel in these latter days and in faithful teachers who will lead us in the way everlasting. Grant us to serve you in steadfast faith and a good conscience to our end. Amen.” May it be so and may our end always be the glory of God no matter what the price. Soli Deo Gloria!