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. 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.
David faced many enemies throughout his life. We are enthralled by his story as we watch a young shepherd boy growing to become God’s chosen king over Israel. We see from our vantage point David’s victories as well as his defeats both in his personal and public life as we read his story in the books of Samuel, but we also see the graciousness of His God who works in him so that David becomes a “man after His own heart.” (1 sam13:14 and Acts 13:22)
In Psalm 17 we see David facing a time of crisis. We are not told specifically what this crisis is, but David presents his “just cause” as a “cry” before God believing that God will hear and answer. He puts no confidence in his own abilities but rather places his complete trust in God to bring him through this particular situation, knowing that he is innocent before God.
David, with his confidence firmly placed in God faced his enemies, who “do me violence, my deadly enemies who surrounded me,” and in the midst of these dangers David prayed to God. Indeed David “called upon God”, because there was no one other “Saviour.” David knew he was “the apple of your (God’s) eye.” He knew he was God’s cherished child, the object of His affection and it was because of this that David could also ask Him to “hide me in the shadow of your wings.” Thus God provided the needed protection and guidance through the circumstances David faced.
Despite being surrounded by people who loved this world and the pleasures it afforded (v. 14) David set his heart on his eternal home with God. He knew that in eternity he would be “behold your face in righteousness: when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.”
Unlike Old Testament times when David lived, today believers have the amazing privilege of having God’s Holy Spirit living in them continuously. We too can go to God as our Saviour confidently trusting Him with every detail of our lives as we eagerly await being caught up to Him at His coming (1 Thes 4:16, 17).