There are times when we feel like we need to have it out with God. Sometimes we feel like Lieutenant Dan (Forrest Gump) atop the ship’s mast, demanding that God listen to us, hoping to come to an agreement.
However, that’s not how we are to approach God. In Psalm 5, God showed me that how I approach him is a reflection of my overall attitude. He also showed me that my attitude has a direct impact on my relationship with him.
Here’s the passage:
5 Give ear to my words, O Lord;
consider my groaning.
2 Give attention to the sound of my cry,
my King and my God,
for to you do I pray.
3 O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
4 For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil may not dwell with you.
5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
you hate all evildoers.
6 You destroy those who speak lies;
the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
7 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.
8 Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
because of my enemies;
make your way straight before me.
9 For there is no truth in their mouth;
their inmost self is destruction;
their throat is an open grave;
they flatter with their tongue.
10 Make them bear their guilt, O God;
let them fall by their own counsels;
because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out,
for they have rebelled against you.
11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.
12 For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
you cover him with favor as with a shield.
– Psalm 5 (ESV)
It’s clear in this passage that David was going through a difficult time. As such, he turned to God for help. He needed a divine intervention, a divine encounter with his Lord and Savior.
I’ve been there, dealing with difficulty, depression, and heartache. Over the last few years I’ve struggled with personal and family hardships, some of it of my own making. Sometimes I prayed; sometimes I felt like there wasn’t really much point in praying that day.
I understand how David felt.
But God didn’t just point out David’s situation, he taught me about David’s attitude. As I read and re-read the passage, God made it clear that there are two ways to approach the heavenly throne: with arrogance or with confident humility.
An Arrogant Attitude Leads to Judgment
You read that right. Arrogance, pride, egos — they will be judged by God.
This is an attitude some have with God on a regular basis. All of us, I believe, have come to God with a chip on our shoulder more than once.
Coming to God with an arrogant attitude doesn’t necessarily mean we’re angry at God and pointing our fingers at him. Arrogance can be seen when we come to God convinced that he’ll answer according to our desires, expecting God to bow to our wishes.
In this psalm, David points out that God will not tolerate this type of attitude. He will give the prideful a much-needed attitude adjustment. It may not come immediately, but it will come.
So, let’s not approach God in pride, with an over-inflated ego. Let’s follow David’s example instead.
Confident Humility Leads to Comfort
Confident humility. Humble confidence.
Six of one.
Call it what you will, this is the attitude David had and the one we should adopt. In verse 1, David indicated that he wanted God to listen to him. However, instead of demanding God’s attention, David remained extremely humble, realizing that God is, well, God, and that he, David, was a mere man.
God is creator; David was creation.
David repeatedly used terms such as God, King, and Yahweh (LORD, all caps in most translations). In other words, he remained humble before the divine throne.
Now check out verse 3: “in the morning you hear my voice.” David was absolutely certain that God was not only hearing him, but that God was attentively paying attention. In other words, David was confident.
Notice that David used Yahweh, God’s personal name, five times. This indicates that he had a personal relationship with God. He wasn’t just God-out-there-somewhere. He was, and is, a personal God who has personal relationships with his children.
David was humble. David was confident.
How does God respond to this? While he judges the arrogant, he lifts up those who have humble confidence. So how do we get that attitude?
Humble Confidence comes through Christ
Take a look at the cross. Think about what it means. Jesus laid down his life as the ultimate, perfect sacrifice for sin. Why? Because we are sinful. We are guilty. Yet, Jesus died for the guilty, for the sinful.
This should humble us.
Now look at the empty tomb. Think about it for a bit. Jesus rose from the grave, defeating death and giving new life.
This should give us confidence.
All those who have faith in Christ alone should approach God with humility, realizing that we are sinners and he is perfectly holy. However, we can approach God with confidence because we have a new life in Christ.
This is not a lesson we learn then move on, though. It’s a daily lesson. It’s something of which I’m still needing constant reminder.
So what about you? How will you approach God in your life? What is your attitude?