While reading Psalm 5, I see that David is down in the dumps . . . just plain discouraged. Whatever his pressures were, they prompted him to compose an ancient hymn. Unless I miss my guess, he composed it in a minor key.
I seriously doubt that there is any subject more timely than discouragement. Especially for those of us in ministry! So many pastors I meet are playing out their entire lives in a minor key. There is the grinding discouragement that follows unachieved goals or failed relationships. Some are discouraged over their marriages which began with such promise but now seem weak, borderline hopeless. Lingering ill-health can discourage and demoralize its victims, especially when the pain won’t go away. And who can’t identify with those ministers who gave it their best shot yet took it on the chin from a few self-appointed critics? The discouragement brought on by several back-to-back criticisms cannot be exaggerated. It could be that David was just picking himself up off the mat when another stinging comment knocked him back to his knees . . . hence the birth of Psalm 5.
Many a discouraged servant of God has identified with this song down through the centuries. Frequently, the words just above the first verse (which comprise the superscription) set forth the historical backdrop of the song.
Check this out—glance just above verse 1 in the King James Version of the Bible, you will see that David desired this song to be played “upon Nehiloth.” A nehiloth was an ancient woodwind instrument, something like today’s flute or oboe. An oboe is a double-reed instrument giving a sad-sounding whine as it is played. Its penetrating tone causes it to be used frequently as a solo instrument.
David refused to stumble about stoop-shouldered, carrying his burdens throughout the day. On the contrary, he took his needs to the Lord each morning. When we think of “placing an order,” we remember one thing that is essential: We have to be specific. Are you specific when you place your morning order? If there is one thing that plagues our prayer meetings and personal petitions it is vagueness. Prof Howie Hendricks calls this “the slimy ooze of indefiniteness.” Could it be our generalities are keeping us from witnessing direct results and specific answers?
After David placed a specific order each morning, he anticipated answers. Expecting God to “fill his order,” he looked forward to that throughout the day. When our outlook is dim in the morning, when discouragement worms its way in and drags us down, a good remedy is to turn our attention upward.
What a difference that makes in our day!