Psalm 17

Psalm 17

The reasons that I have confidence and peace

In the psalms, we have many prayers that seek God’s deliverance from the persecutors. This is one of those psalms. In those psalms we can see one common theme: As long as I stay in good relationship with God, I do not have to worry about my enemies.

The psalmist here also cries to God: “Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry; give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit. From you let my vindication come; let your eyes see the right.”

Then he asks God to examine his heart: “If you try my heart, if you visit me by night, if you test me, you will find no wickedness in me; my mouth does not transgress. As for what others do, 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.”

If we can say these things to God with confidence, we are already saved. It is not others who destroy us. As long as we keep the path of God and avoid the ways of the violent, we have no reason to fear others. We can tap into the unlimited power of the Creator: “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. Guard me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, from the wicked who despoil me, my deadly enemies who surround me.”

Our condition is still unstable. Our enemies are still there. We are not naïve. We know the reality: “They close their hearts to pity; with their mouths they speak arrogantly. They track me down; now they surround me; they set their eyes to cast me to the ground. They are like a lion eager to tear, like a young lion lurking in ambush.”

However, we know the other side of the reality. We can call upon the more powerful reality—God: “Rise up, O Lord, confront them, overthrow them! By your sword deliver my life from the wicked, from mortals—by your hand, O Lord—from mortals whose portion in life is in this world. May their bellies be filled with what you have stored up for them; may their children have more than enough; may they leave something over to their little ones.”

When we restore this powerful reality of God in our lives, we can find peace in our hearts: “As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.” We cannot and need not change others. We can just focus on being like Jesus to be happy and confident.

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