Psalm 17

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Psalm 17 is not just a psalm calling for protection, but for purity and security. The tone of this psalm is that David felt like the world was against him.

In the Shadow of Your Wings

A Prayer of David.

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.

In verses 1-3, David calls out for the Lord’s attention because of his desire to honor God.

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.

David shows a lot of fidelity to the Lord in verses 4-6. He certainly was not perfect, but he held to his faith in God as a source of truth.

Wondrously show your steadfast love,
    O Savior of those who seek refuge
    from their adversaries at your right hand.

The psalm continues by reflecting God’s promise to protect us when we face danger or controversy. Merriam Webster defines “adversary” as “one that contends with, opposes, or resists an enemy or opponent.” When used as an adjective, it doesn’t only describe something relating to an enemy, but “having or involving antagonistic parties or opposing interests.”

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.

In verses 8-10, David asks God for protection. You may potentially be able to relate to how David describes his enemies. They are not directly identified, but many of us know people who we may feel fit his description.

 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.

In a sense, verses 11-12 (along with other parts of the psalm) show how to seek hope in a threatening environment when you may feel there is no way to escape.

 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.

David continues by calling the Lord to deliver him in harrowing times and observes that although the wicked may appear to be financially stable, happy and content – but that will not follow them into eternity. Note that David is asking for delivery, “from the men of the world whose portion is in this life.”

 As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
    when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.

Instead, David reminds us that if we believe in Christ as Savior and Lord, we can be with Him for eternity. Merriam Webster defines “satisfied” as “pleased or content with what has been experienced or received,” “paid in full,” and “persuaded by argument or evidence.”

According to Isaiah 40:12, God is beyond human measure – definitely “paid in full.”

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
or marked off the heavens with the span of his hand?
Who has gathered the dust of the earth in a measure
or weighed the mountains in a balance
and the hills in the scales?

Matthew 10:28-31 reflects how He values us more than we can imagine.

Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. But even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So don’t be afraid therefore; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Have a wonderful week!

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