Naboth’s widow and children could have written Psalm 5. The psalmist praises God as the one who takes no delight in evil, greed, dishonesty, or treachery. The psalmist’s God is the arbiter of justice and the strength of the oppressed. We can imagine Naboth’s survivors praying this psalm of lament, pleading for God to execute divine justice on Ahab and Jezebel.
Verse 3 refers twice to the psalmist’s coming before God in the morning. This reference suggests a particular context for the psalm. In Exodus 29:38-42, God instructs Moses to institute daily morning and evening sacrifices. Our psalmist has perhaps spent the night in the Temple as an act of devotion and prayer. Now awakened by the rising sun, he asks God to answer a personal plea for deliverance.
The reference to prayer in the morning challenges us to start each day with God. The psalmist’s first thought in the morning is of prayer and relationship. Mine is usually, What e-mail arrived since last night? Or, What’s for breakfast? Caught up in the busyness of the day, I later realize that I have done everything except spend time in prayer.
Psalm 5 reminds us that our morning and evening sacrifice is the offering of our praise and prayer to God. We are invited to sacrifice our own time and agendas in order to bring our praise and prayer before God. How different would each day be if, like the psalmist, we anticipated “early in the morning” spending time with God? How might our day change if early in the morning we looked at the shape of our day and asked for God’s guidance? Or if we anticipated the day’s rough spots and surrendered them to God? What might change for us if our first prayer in the morning were this: [fill in the blank with your prayer] ?

Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness . . . ; make your way straight before me. Amen.

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