On the altar
Thoughts from Psalms 5 & 6 in the Passion Translation
King David does not ask anything from God before taking action himself. Verse 3 tells us that he prepares a sacrifice, not just once, but over and over again. “Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life on the altar and wait for your fire to fall upon my heart.”
First he acts, then he waits on the Lord. The Hebrew word for “prepare” is arak, a priestly term for lighting the altar fire, preparing a sacrifice, and laying it out in order upon the altar to be consumed. King David is saying to the Lord, “Here is everything I have. Here’s my agenda, everything I want, everything I think I need to be happy and successful. I’m laying it all on the altar in order for it to be consumed in exchange for all that You have for me - because I trust that Your ways are higher than mine, and I want You more than I want what I want.”
Sometimes easier said than done, right? King David was so focused on becoming undone daily in order to walk with, worship, and intimately know the Father. In Chapter 5, he continues to recognize the multitude of mercy on his own life, the multitude of sins of unbelievers, and the multitude of blessings for those who hide themselves in God. King David speaks from a place of confidently knowing who he is, and an awareness that vengeance is the Lord’s for all who seek destruction and darkness.
Notice in Chapter 6, King David’s focus starts to shift. He begins to cry out to God in a begging plea, and in verses 6-7 he says, “I’m exhausted and worn-out…my eyes of faith won’t focus anymore…” Exhausted and worn-out is the very definition of done, and the complete opposite of being undone. It is a sign of throwing in the towel, to stop trying, give up. When we choose to be done, our focus starts to be about us. We become a victim of our very circumstances, and begin believing the lie that it’s us against the world. But we can lay these thoughts and fears on the altar in exchange for the mindset of Christ, which can only lead to a place of thankfulness and abundant living. I can’t help but be convinced that David, the overlooked and lonely shepherd boy, made a practice of daily sacrifice; the daily ritual of becoming undone. Because he honored God from a posture of surrender, God honored his obedience, and he himself became a king.