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TEXT: Psalm 5

SUBJECT: Falsely Accused

Have you ever been lied about? Have you ever been falsely accused? Have you ever been the object of hateful gossip? You don't need to answer me because I already know the answer: of course you have! Everyone has been lied about, falsely accused, and the object of mean and hurtful gossip. The experience is uniform and universal.

What's not uniform is how you respond to being lied about, falsely accused, and the object of gossip. Some people take vengeance: if you lie about me, I punch you in the nose, or I sue you in court, or I spread rumors about you, making you look worse than you made me look. This is one response, likely the most common way of responding to gossip.

A second response is less common: the stoic's. He's too good to get down in the mud with his accusers, and so he sneers at them while patting himself on the back for being the bigger man.

A third response is the one I'm prone to: you go all to pieces. There's some anger and pride in the mix, but mostly, what you feel is sad and hurt, and insecure, thinking 'Maybe what they said about me is true'.

The Psalmist chose a different path. Before we see what it was, let's observe the place of Psalm 5 in the worship of Israel, and David's state of mind when he wrote it.

THE PLACE

The caption says it's a Psalm of David, to the choirmaster, for the flutes. David is the king of Israel, but he's not like the kings of Philistia, or Syria, or the other countries in that part of the world. As the King of Israel, he is the Lord's Anointed, and, as such, he is responsible for his people's spiritual welfare, and not just their political and military needs. This means memorizing and singing and meditating on the Psalm is good for them-and for us as well.

See also, it's a public resource, not private. It assumes that betrayal is a universal problem. Everybody has to deal with it, and dealing with it in public is part of the solution. Alone, we dwell on the wrongs done to us and let them fester as sores on the soul. In public, though, we can speak honestly and openly about what's been done to us and find sympathy, moderation, and hope that things will be set right in God's good time. We don't have to go it alone!

The word, flutes, is also worth a moment's notice. The Psalm wasn't hurried though, sung double-time, so we can get to the praise chorus as soon as possible. Musical interludes were put into the song giving us time to really pour out our troubles to God and to let His healing Word sink into our hearts.

THE STATE OF MIND

No one knows when David wrote the Psalm, whether it was composed in the heat of battle, or later, when he had had time to think about things and to come up with the rhyming scheme.

The more I read it, though, the more I believe it was written in the moment; there's an intensity a passion, a pleading in the Psalm that sounds like a man who's angry and scared and hurt, and wants the Lord to act without further delay!

Why is David so upset?

Because people are lying about him, and the liars are not his open enemies, but his fake friends. He calls them-

Wicked, evil, boastful, workers of iniquity, bloodthirsty, deceitful, and unfaithful men.

Unlike Goliath, they don't have the guts to mock David to his face; they're talking behind his back, all the time, smiling at the king and flattering his wisdom and goodness and courage and power and all the rest. They seem to be his friends, colleagues and allies, but, in their hearts, they're his worst enemies.

David knows what they are, and he's enraged!

Is it always wrong to be mad, really mad, I mean? Silly mothers say it is, and sillier pastors support them. But, if David is a hero of the faith, and if Jesus Christ is the perfect example of holiness, why do we feel this way?

David was a mighty man of valor, and that means he killed people, lots and lots of people. Jesus didn't kill anyone, of course (though James and John hoped He would!), but you cannot read the Gospels and find a Milquetoast, a Man always meek, mild, and sensitive; in touch with His feminine side, you might say.

We should not be angry people, but there's a time for anger, and David (who wrote the Psalm), God (who inspired it) and Jesus (to whom it points) felt the anger, and acted on it.

THE INVOCATION

The Psalm opens in the customary way, with God's name invoked. In vv.1-3, David calls Him, LORD, the God of the Covenant, always faithful to His Word; My King, Israel's Shepherd, responsible for the safety of His flock, and God , the Strong One. If God is true, loving, and powerful, He is sure to hear David's prayer and to set things right.

For a long time, the innocent have been trampled under foot and the guilty have been put on a pedestal. David is sick and tired of an upside-down world, and he believes God is too. David can't do much about it; he can't make the world right-side-up, so he pleads with the Lord to do it.

This is not a one-time prayer and then given up. No, he prays this way every morning; every time the sun rises, David lifts his eyes to Heaven hoping the Lord will act in justice and mercy before it goes down that night.

GOD'S CHARACTER

Why does he think this way? Why does he believe God will come in judgment over His enemies? It is not because he thinks the Lord is in a hurry, that He always brings swift justice on His enemies. David is no fool; he knows better than that. Like his son, he knows-

The sentence against an evil work is not [always] executed speedily.

He knew his share of mockers, like the men in Peter's day, who kept on laughing at the Christians and daring God to judge the world-

Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.

David knows the wheels of Divine justice often turn slowly, but he also knows, sooner or later, God will act to save His people and destroy His enemies! He knows this because He knows God Himself. The Lord is patient with everyone, and He fills the bellies of bad men with good food. But we should never equate His patience and goodness with His approval of their evil ways! God hates sin with a hatred indescribable, and when sinners will not turn from their evil ways, He will punish them without apology or regret! He-

Takes no pleasure in wickedness.the boastful shall not stand in His sight.hates all workers of iniquity.abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.and will destroy those who speak falsehood.

Before I move on, I should say: This is why we need Christ. We are chosen by God, loved by God, and accepted by God, but only in His Beloved Son, Jesus our Lord! Outside of Him, God has nothing for sinners but justice and wrath, banishment-

The worm that does not die, and

The fire that is never quenched.

Foolish men think, when God doesn't stop them in their evil ways that either, there is no God, or if there is, He's okay with them. After listing some of their sins, the Lord says, in Psalm 50-

These things you have done,

And I kept silent;

You thought that I was altogether like

You.

That is, that He approved of them, or if He didn't, He didn't know what they were up to, or if He did, He couldn't do anything about it. Wrong on all accounts! He knew what they were doing, He could do something about it, and when the time is right, He will do something about it-

But I will reprove you,

And set them in order before your eyes.

GOD'S GOODNESS

If God is just in punishing His enemies, He is also just in vindicating His friends. David wasn't a perfect man, but he was loyal to the Lord. That loyalty was the fruit of God's grace, of course, and the Lord recognized it, and gave David what He didn't give his accusers. God throws them out of His sight, but David will-

Enter His house, and

Bow down in His Holy Temple.

In other words, while the Lord expels the wicked, He welcomes the righteous, not because they have earned His favor, but out of the-

Abundance of His steadfast love.

THE PLEA

In vv.8-11, the Psalmist asks God to bring the Rule of Heaven to earth. This means, to bless the righteous and curse the wicked. If this sounds vindictive, it isn't. For the wicked he has in mind are not primarily his own enemies, but rebels against the Lord. That's his beef with them: not that they didn't invite him to their Christmas party, but that they're dishonoring God and oppressing the people He loves.

If they don't turn to God, He has to stop them! If they won't be saved, they have to be damned. I have never understood the squeamishness Christians feel about Hell. We all prefer men to be saved from their sins, of course we do! But if they won't be saved from their sins, what would we have God do with them? Let them get away with it forever? Give them a place in Heaven so they can turn it into another Hell? If God does not come in judgment, the bad guys win-

The wicked shall inherit the earth.

They won't. Because the prayers of the Psalmist and other saints--including Jesus-will be answered in full some day. God's people will be completely and forever saved from their enemies!

CHRIST IN PSALM 5

David was not the only man to be lied about, falsely accused, and be the object of hateful and cruel gossip. We've have all shared in these things, to some degree, and no one more than David's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Remember the false and hateful things people said about Him. Though He's the Son of God, they called Him 'illegitimate'. Though He's the Seed of Abraham, they called Him a Gentile. Though He's the sanest of all men, His brothers called Him mad. Though He's the King of Israel, Israel said they have no king but Caesar!

The cutting words hurt Him, hurt Him more than malicious lies hurt us, because Jesus, unlike us, is not jaded, not hardened to sin.

Now in glory, He still suffers when His people are called names and lied about and testified against in court. We deserve our share of criticism, of course we do. But what does the world criticize us for? Not for our faults, so much (they merit criticism), but for our loyalty to Christ and His Word!

In His Body, the Church, Jesus still suffers the slings and arrows of a cruel fate. And, like David, He did something about it. Rather than taking personal revenge, He committed Himself to God as a Righteous Judge.

That God, who loves righteousness and hates sin, will make His enemies answer for what they've done to His servants, and His Servant, the Lord Jesus.

THIS MEANS.

This means we can forego revenge. We can forgive and forget the wrongs done to us, and serve our enemies in love. Not because what they did to us wasn't wrong, or because, even if it was, they didn't mean to do it, but because God is just judge, and in His own good time and manner, He will set things right.

APOLOGETICS AND EVANGELISM

When critics fault us for being unconcerned with the evils of this world, and doing nothing about them, we can say we are concerned, and we are doing something about them. Giving to causes, voting for candidates, and so on are valid options, but they're not for everyone. Good as they may be, we have something better than giving to Greenpeace or Occupying Oakland! We have a just and merciful God who hates corruption, hates oppression, hates injustice. And we can pray to Him to act to eliminate them in His own time and way.

When people tell us our God doesn't care, we can tell them He does; He cares far more than we do. You see, He did more than posture, more than 'get involved'. He sent His Son to a world rife with injustice and oppression, and let Him live in the mess for more than thirty years.

Then, after letting corrupt and cruel men do their worse, He raised Him from the dead to begin a New Creation, a world without political corruption, without domestic violence, without child abuse, without hunger, without disease, without the evils we have come to accept-but He hasn't and never will!

This God invites us to enter His Kingdom and join His cause through repentance and faith. Then to spread it through prayer and works of love.

Let's not lie to ourselves: We're not doing all we can or should. We ought to do better, but, in the end, salvation is God's Work, and He will do it through the likes of you and me.

LET US

Let us, therefore, praise God for His great love and certain justice. Let us live lives content and hopeful-

Looking for and hastening the coming of the Day of God.

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