David says his tearful goodbyes to his friend Jonathan and leaves to go into hiding. The two friends will never meet again.
As he grieves his situation - and the absence of his friend - David also has critical decisions to make. While he now knows for sure that Saul intends to kill him, what he should do next is far from clear. Should he raise an army and fight? Challenge Saul to single combat? Leave Israel forever? Go into hiding?
Psalm 5 reflects David’s indecision about the future. “Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness / because of my enemies / make your way straight before me” (Ps. 5:8) David pleads with God to show him the way forward. His enemies have muddied things with their deceit and lies (v. 9), and so he turns to God for truth and guidance.
Like David, we are often plagued by uncertainty. We don’t know what the future holds, and are often confronted with choices that don’t have obvious answers - “Where should I go to college?” “What should I study?” “What do I want to do with my life?” “Who should I marry?” “Should we have kids?” As we grow and mature, more and more of the decisions we are presented with don’t come with scripted answers. Deciding what to do - and deciding how we will decide - is a challenge that will follow us throughout our lives.
How does David deal with difficult decisions? Notice that this psalm - like many of David’s psalms - is a prayer. David begins by asking God to hear him (v.1-2). David isn’t merely hoping for wisdom or advice, he is asking God directly for it and he “waits expectantly” for an answer (v. 3). He has spent a lifetime trusting and relying upon God, and knows that the Lord loves him and will show him where to go next.
The same God that David prayed to is still listening, still answering. He is still a refuge for those in times of trouble, and He is still the Good Shepherd who will lead us if we are willing to follow.
When was the last time you went to Him for help with an important decision? When you pray, do you wait and listen for His answer? Do you live your life confident that God will show you the way forward in difficult times, or do you assume that you’ll have to figure it all out for yourself?
Speak to God today about a decision you have to make and ask for His guidance. Work on trusting that He will provide what you need - including answers.