Psalm 5 (1)


Psalm 5 with which we begin today is a psalm of the morning, with its fresh appeal to the mercy and protection of God for the day that lies ahead.  It also has a contemporary (and indeed universal) feel in that the writer appears to believe that he is being lied against and accused of things of which he is not guilty, and as a result is being aligned with many who are being brought down through the wickedness and direct manipulation of “the bloodthirsty and deceitful” (verse 6), whom the writer acknowledges that God, “abhors”. Human judges may be deceived by the clever words of the wicked, but God will not be fooled.  

So, going back to the beginning of the psalm, we experience the author’s cry of appeal.  It is the desire for justice, no doubt, but it is also the exposure of an attitude that sees God’s role including that of granting release in finding refuge, and providing a shield and shelter from the storm that has been stirred up.  All of which we can heartily echo.

However, I am also reminded of a line from a deeply touching poem in Margaret Atwood’s 2020 collection Dearly about her mother, entitled Blizzard: “Let’s go out and fight the storm, she used to say….”  The reflection is from a moment of glimpsing weakness and frailty in her mother in old age, and her apparent inability to do anything, but in the knowledge that the human spirit is actually strong and resilient - and she admired those qualities in her.  The ability to, “fight the storm” is one that we are not always able to find, but, at times it is actually what is needed.  And it can be hard, so hard……

John Mann