Psalm 17 Commentary
This is one of the prayers which are very difficult to repeat. Who can claim that their steps have held to God’s paths and that their feet have not stumbled? Who would want the LORD to examine them because they are sure of passing the exam with flying colors? You easily appreciate why we pray in the name of Jesus – the perfect mediator.
And unless you are David, the hunted, you will find these psalms difficult to understand. Many saints live in a world of too much comfort. They have known very little trouble, so they think. The enemy is happy when the saint is neither defending their post nor attacking to claim back the lost holiness. When truce means living at a certain level of sinfulness without ever thinking about claiming back holiness, then you know the battle is lost and comfort creeps in.
David’s enemies are hot in pursuit. The mission is to destroy David. We are reminded of the clearly stated mission of the evil one: to steal, kill and destroy the saint, according to John 10 verse 10. Nothing has changed. Shouldn’t the saint be more alert? Isn’t this prayer just about the most appropriate prayer for today?
We are taught to pray this way: deliver us from the evil one. There is an enemy out there from whose activities we desperately need deliverance. Like David, we need to take refuge in God.
David hints at the nature of the battle when he talks about the working philosophy of the world. They think their reward is in this world. It is everything to them. They never think about eternity. We have lost the battle against this mentality when we spend the entire day thinking about our job, our projects, the children’s future, the wife’s wellbeing and shopping list, the car, our health, and many other cares of this life. We are getting close to those of this world whose reward is in this life. Verse 14.
As for David, let the LORD vindicate him. It is a prayer of a man who has spent his energy well. He has sought the LORD diligently. There is no faulty with the intentions. And why not, they can look forward to seeing God’s face. Unlike the wicked man whose reward is in this world, the saint can be satisfied with seeing God’s likeness. It is a future hope but we are actually sustained by bits and pieces of God’s glory on a daily basis.
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