I used to be an amateur horologist and repair clocks. I mention this, because that is where my meditations on Psalm 5 led me, albeit by a circuitous route. You see, the more I considered what the psalmist was saying, the less it seemed worth saying. He seems to be mainly praying for God to listens to the righteous, but not the wrongdoer. This is surely a given. So I had to ask myself, what was going on?
The psalmist appears to be experiencing a disconnect. The truth he knows is being challenged by those who want to defraud him. So, he is praying that the realities of heaven would be manifest on earth. Which is all very well, but how does that effect me, where my reality of the Kingdom is also being confronted, not by fraud, but by my recent back injury and cold? Which is where clocks come in.
When I was (much) younger, I would go to jumble sales and buy broken clocks and watches, strip them down and rebuild them. Oddly, I thought that was fun. I got to be quite good with clocks, although, few watches survived. The parts of a watch must all be very carefully aligned before the back can be replaced, or the pins bend. Something that was all to easy to do. To function well, everything must be aligned and working as intended. Which seems close to the Hebrew idea of Shalom. It means more than peace. It conveys the idea of the right ordering of things. Everything in its proper place and working as God intended, peacefully. Like a clock, finely calibrated.
When we pray for God’s Kingdom to come, we are asking for God’s right order to be established – the blind seeing, the lame walking, of course. However, as Kingdom ambassadors, we are also called to show the way – which is what much of Jesus teaching was about. And, as in a clock, everything is inter-related. We can’t ask God to restore order, while we continue to bring disarray. So, the psalmist asks God to help him walk God’s path.
So, while we want the blind to see, that is only part of God’s wider shalom, a shalom that we cannot separate ourselves from. We need God’s help to allow us to act in ways that restore right order – by loving God and neighbour. I look towards the day when I see more healing, but, for today, I have enough to do with my part!