The world can be a very ugly place. When I think about all that my children will face, the dangers that lurk in the shadows and the evil waiting to do harm to their souls, it frightens me terribly. Whether by accident or design, the news constantly reminds us of the horrors of crime, the deceit online, and the conflict that rages all around us. When they report good news, it often turns out to be the glorification of some sin or a positive thought based on religious error. Yes, the world can be a very ugly place.
Unfortunately, we sometimes convince ourselves that this is something new—an aberration. As a result, we sometimes act as if we can wait it out (or vote it out). Instead, we must realize that the world has always been filled with evil and always will be. Only then will we have the mindset necessary to address it as we should: turning to God and trusting Him. As long as we think we can battle the evil in this world on our own, we will struggle and find ourselves losing ground and losing hope. However, when we trust God, all of this changes. That does not mean that the world is any less evil. It means that now we can understand the world for what it is and take comfort in this simple fact: God is greater than the world.
David understood this. Throughout his life he faced constant danger, family problems, political conflict, and personal struggles. But in all of this he also knew God, as the many psalms he wrote give evidence. In Psalm 5 the shepherd king of Israel takes up this familiar theme but does so in a way that keeps God at the center. He is facing problems in life, but he knows God listens (Psa. 5:1-2). He sees evil all around, but he knows God is good (Psa. 5:3-4). He witnesses the successful ventures of the wicked, but has peace knowing that God will judge (Psa. 5:5-6, 9-10). But he also sees God beyond these problems and realizes his need for God not only through problems but for everything else. Indeed, when we realize not only the world’s sinfulness but also our own we really appreciate what God’s mercy means (Psa. 5:7a). It is when we are brought to our knees by our own inability that we can see the grandeur and glory of God and see just how worthy of worship He truly is (Psa. 5:7b). It is when we do not know what to do that we most realize what it means for God to provide guidance (Psa. 5:8). And when we see God from this perspective, we can handle all of life’s problems. This is what it means to trust. And what a blessing it is. “But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield” (Psa. 5:11-12).