an ear with hand next to it

Psalm 5 – Give Ear

 January 2, 2024

Where Psalm 4 asks for an answer, the first line of Psalm 5 – Give ear to my words, O Lord – only asks God to listen. What does the writer want God to hear?

Psalm 5 – Give Ear

Psalm 5 – Give ear to my words, starts out like a sigh. The writer isn’t making demands of God. He just asks that God listen.

Consider my groaning,” (1b) he cries, “Attend to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to You I pray.” (2)

It is a morning prayer. “In the morning, O LORD, You hear my voice; at daybreak I lay my plea before You and wait in expectation.” (3) Perhaps the writer is laying in bed during the wee hours of the morning, thinking about his troubles and praying to God.

We get a hint about those troubles in verse 6 – “You destroy those who tell lies; the LORD abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit.” It appears that someone is spreading lies.

This is clarified in verse 9 – “For not a word they speak can be trusted; destruction lies within them. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” (Some translations are “their heart is destruction.”)

He then asks that they get what they deserve. “Declare them guilty, O God; let them fall by their own devices. Drive them out for their many transgressions, for they have rebelled against You.” (10)

Confident Assurance

The Psalm ends in confident assurance of God’s protection:

“But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them ever shout for joy. May You shelter them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You. For surely You, O LORD, bless the righteous; You surround them with the shield of Your favor.” (11-12)

All those who trust in God have reason for rejoicing. They are sheltered by God and surrounded by God’s shield. Not so the wicked. God doesn’t protect the wicked, nor does he protect us from our poor choices.

The writer is aware of the lies being spread around about him but puts his trust in his God.

Imagery in Psalm 5

I love the imagery in this psalm. The use of body parts throughout the psalm brings pictures to mind, starting with the ear. Rather than saying listen, the writer says, give ear. To me this brings to mind an old man bending over with a hand to his ear to listen to what the speaker has to say.

Their throats are open graves! What an image. The words coming out of their mouths lead to death. I can see those words marching out of a whitened throat. Their mouth and tongue spreads lies. Their corruption lies deep in their gut or their heart. All of their internal organs are involved in the deceit. The end result? They will not be welcomed into God’s temple or find shelter under God’s shield.

Psalm 5 – Listen more than you Speak

Sometimes, all we need is for someone to listen to us. We don’t need advice or words at all. We may know what we need to do. Maybe we know the answers to our questions already. The old adage, God gave us two ears and one mouth, to listen two times more than we speak, continues to apply. Listen beyond the words others say. What’s behind them? Pain, fear, regret, guilt? All may lead someone to say something they might not ordinarily say.

Still, sometimes we need to vent, to speak to someone who listens without judgment. Thus, the writer speaks from his heart, confident that God is present, surrounding him with love.

What better person to vent to than our God?

Have there been times in your life when you needed someone to listen and instead they rushed in with words? Have you done that yourself?


This post is part of a series of blog posts on the Psalms. Sign up to follow this blog and receive a free copy of  Still Dancingthe second book in my Dancing through Life Series.      click here to sign up

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