Psalm 5

Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong. You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men the LORD abhors.

But I, by your great mercy, will come into your house; in reverence will I bow down toward your holy temple. Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies-make straight your way before me.

Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongue they speak deceit. Declare them guilty, O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against you.

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Years ago I acquired the habit of daily prayer while driving to work. Each morning I thanked the Lord for the blessings of yesterday, asked forgiveness for the sins I had committed and thanked Him for granting it, and prayed for safety for my family and for guidance for the day. The twenty minutes or so it took to get to my office was just long enough and since I went to work early traffic was light and there were few distractions. I arrived at work feeling energized and ready to meet the day. It seemed that my morning prayer time gave me a spiritual cleansing just like my daily shower had made me physically clean.

Then I affiliated with a group whose office was only five minutes from home. Not enough time for prayer. Within a few days I knew something was wrong. I just didn’t feel the same. By getting up a few minutes earlier I was able to take a short walk before going to work and used that time for my prayers. Immediately I felt better.

Sure I know that all my sins, past present and future, were forgiven at the cross. And believing in eternal security I know I can’t lose the salvation that was purchased for me there. But I also know that 1 John 1:9 was written to believers years after the resurrection.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

This verse has been called the Christian’s bar of soap with good reason. Our unconfessed sins can’t make God change His mind about saving us, but it can and does hinder our current relationship with Him. David was right, the Lord is not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with Him the wicked cannot dwell. That has never changed, but here’s what has. David had to go through an elaborate ritual that included slaughtering a lamb every time he sinned. Our Lamb was slain once for all time. And because God is faithful to the promise He made to His Son, forgiveness is ours just for the asking. Once we ask, we’re immediately purified from all unrighteousness; we again become as holy as God is, our relationship is restored to intimacy and we are blessed. For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

As it was with our salvation, so it is with our relationship. It’s free for the asking, but we have to ask. David wrote that he chose the mornings to ask. Believe me, it’s a great way to start each day.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for this day.  Thank you for this new opportunity to work and learn, and to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Please forgive me for the sins of yesterday.  Cleanse me and purify me from all my unrighteousness, and grant that I might spend today basking in the warmth of Your presence.  Amen