Psalms 17

Psalm 17

In the Shadow of Your Wings

A Prayer of David.

17   Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry!
    Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!
  From your presence let my vindication come!
    Let your eyes behold the right!
  You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night,
    you have tested me, and you will find nothing;
    I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
  With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips
    I have avoided the ways of the violent.
  My steps have held fast to your paths;
    my feet have not slipped.
  I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
    incline your ear to me; hear my words.
  Wondrously show your steadfast love,
    O Savior of those who seek refuge
    from their adversaries at your right hand.
  Keep me as the apple of your eye;
    hide me in the shadow of your wings,
  from the wicked who do me violence,
    my deadly enemies who surround me.
  They close their hearts to pity;
    with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
  They have now surrounded our steps;
    they set their eyes to cast us to the ground.
  He is like a lion eager to tear,
    as a young lion lurking in ambush.
  Arise, O LORD! Confront him, subdue him!
    Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,
  from men by your hand, O LORD,
    from men of the world whose portion is in this life.
  You fill their womb with treasure;
    they are satisfied with children,
    and they leave their abundance to their infants.
  As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
    when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.


Psalm 17 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

We face critical situations all the time. These trials batter our hearts and our minds. They trample our senses and destroy our hope. The psalmist describes such trials by repeatedly referencing the physical attributes which place him in a tough spot. He is asking for God’s all-encompassing divine power. Specifically, he references his lips, face, eyes, heart, mouth, feet, ear, hand, and belly. He is in the midst of threatening behavior. What will he do?

His prayer centers on justice and waking to see God’s face.

Come, LORD! Oppose my enemies and defeat them! Save me from the wicked by your sword; 14 save me from those who in this life have all they want. Punish them with the sufferings you have stored up for them; may there be enough for their children and some left over for their children’s children! 15 But I will see you, because I have done no wrong; and when I awake, your presence will fill me with joy.

Psalms 17:13-15 GNB

You know, many Christians today see their “relationship” with God as a one-time event. At best, it’s a relationship where we as humans only come to Him when times are tough. It’s true that Jesus came to earth once as a man, but it’s also true that His blessings of deliverance and love are needed continually. Those blessings are taken for granted daily. Think for a moment about how God has blessed you this day. Do you have shoes and clothing today? What about food, shelter, and transportation? How about divine hope, endless love, and forgiveness of sins?

The truth is, we are flawed humans who are hurt by other flawed humans. We need divine interaction on a daily basis. That call may be for material or physical needs, but the psalmist knows that the greatest treasure which is obtained in this life is the ability to see the fullness of God’s face. How amazing is it to awake to His presence which fills us with joy?

The warning here is to understand how horrifying your life would be if the Holy Spirit pulled Himself away. The encouragement is to seek God’s face in light of the fact that His grace and mercy are sufficient for any situation. Even in the most unbelievable crisis, we have a Father who continues to bless us and fill us with His characteristics. Whether you are experiencing good times or bad, take time to thank Him and seek Him this day!

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