Daily Devotion: Pray Expectantly in the Presence of the Lord

“Listen to my words, Lord,
    consider my lament.
Hear my cry for help,
    my King and my God,
    for to you I pray.

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
    in the morning I lay my requests before you
    and wait expectantly.
For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
    with you, evil people are not welcome.
The arrogant cannot stand
    in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;
     you destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful
    you, Lord, detest.
But I, by your great love,
    can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
    toward your holy temple.” – Psalm 5:1-7

It is said often and with good reason, that David–the writer of this psalm and many others–was very imperfect. Despite his failings, he has strong words for wrong doers saying that they “are not welcome” and “cannot stand in [God’s] presence”.

Even though David had his fair share of sins, he was able to come into the Lord’s presence and pray “expectantly”. His sin did not keep him from God nor did it keep God from hearing his prayers and acting on his behalf.

So what was the difference between David–someone who committed adultery and murder–and those he proclaimed as “evil” and who were cut off from the presence of the Lord?

David tells us when he says,

“But I, by your great love,
    can come into your house”

David’s ability to go into the presence of God, lay his requests before the Lord, and expect God to act were all because of God’s “great love”, not because of David’s ability to be righteous.

It was because of God’s love that David was no longer defined by his sin. After David sinned, he repented and received God’s mercy, forgiveness, and grace. One powerful example of this is Psalm 51 which starts with,

“Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.” – Psalm 51:1

It’s not that David didn’t ever do what the wicked did. David fell into the same sinful actions. The difference was he received God’s forgiveness.

David’s forgiveness and righteousness depended wholly on God. In Romans, Paul uses David as an example that forgiveness from God and righteousness before God have nothing to do with our good works. We do not earn them, rather they are gifts from God.

“Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

‘Blessed are those
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” – Romans 4:4-8

Therefore, it is because of God’s great love, through the righteousness that He gives us as a result of the work of Christ, that we can come into the presence of God, lay our requests before Him, and wait expectantly for God’s answer in the same way as David.

“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
    in the morning I lay my requests before you
    and wait expectantly.”

Expectantly is defined as “with an excited feeling that something is about to happen, especially something good.” David is in the midst of crying for help and is bold enough to say that after laying his requests before the Lord he waits “expectantly”. He is in a difficult situation, but he is excited about what God is going to do. On his own he is unacceptable to God, but because of God’s love he is made righteous and he is in the very presence of God as he lays his requests before Him. He also knows that God is good (Psalm 34:8). So he is able to wait for God’s answer knowing that He has been heard and that it will be good.

Our confidence and excitement in waiting for the Lord’s answer to our prayers need be no less than that of David. We have the same righteousness from God, the same personal access to God through the Holy Spirit, and are loved with the same great love as David when he penned the psalm above.

In the words of another psalmist,

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.” – Psalm 136:1

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