Psalm 5: 1-3
Give ear to my words, O Lord,
Consider my meditation.
Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and my God,
For to You I will pray.
My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up.
Seeing the Psalmist’s repetitions and other repetitions elsewhere in the Word, I look carefully at the series. What are the subtle changes from one phrase to the next? Is there a movement, a progression, a direction expressed in such repetitions? I find that there often is.
Some examples of what appear, at first glance, to be repeated phrases that have captured my attention include:
– Ask, seek, knock….Matthew 7:7 To ask may simply be a casual, curious inquiry. To seek is to diligently pursue something that is desired. To knock is to arrive at the place where one may claim that which is earnestly sought.
– Trust in the Lord…delight yourself in him… commit your way to him……. Psalm 37:3-5 We are called to trust in the Lord. Our trust is reflected in our delighting in doing his will and in committing our way to him.
– Purge me with hyssop… wash me…. create a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit…. Psalm 51:7,10 The cleansing process begins with the ritual cleansing of oneself and one’s environment with hyssop, progresses to one’s own body being washed, and ends with the cleansing work within one’s heart…..leading to a renewed and steadfast spirit. From communal effort, to external personal effort, to innermost effort in cooperating with the Holy Spirit.
In Psalm 5:1-3, we find another example of repetition that compels us to look deeper.
Give ear to my words……. The Psalmist calls attention to his calling out and asks that God hear him.
Consider my meditation…….The Psalmist asks God to go further and consider the heartfelt communication being laid before him.
Give heed to my cry…… The Psalmist implores God to give his full attention to his cry, an act of desperate longing that seeks a response.
As I listen to the words spoken in the Twelve Steps with women in Titus 2’s life recovery program. They start out early on in Steps 1, 2, and 3 asking God for help….feeling unworthy and less than confident of his willingness to be present and hear them, much less respond to them.
As they progress in their growing relationship with Christ, they begin to come more boldly before the throne and are spending more time in study of God’s Word, his character and interactions with his people. This is especially the case in Steps 4,5,6,7, 8, and 9. Gaining confidence, they also spend more time in prayer and become more specific in their requests and desirous of seeking and being obedient God’s will.
Finally, they know that God is present, that he is compassionate, hears them, even the silent depths of their spirits, and that God will respond….He will “give heed” and act on their behalf. The attitudes with which one approaches Steps 10, 11, and 12 are reflective of one who has learned to cry out to God and know that God hears and is ready and willing to act, like a child who knows that a parent will come quickly, knowing the sound of urgency in his child’s voice!
When we are trust that the “effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous person availeth much” , we give ourselves over to deeper and more earnest prayer, trusting God’s responsiveness!