Reading the Word
Psalm 17:1–9 (ESV)
1 Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit! 2 From your presence let my vindication come! Let your eyes behold the right! 3 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. 4 With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent. 5 My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped. 6 I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words. 7 Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. 8 Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, 9 from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround me.
Understanding and Applying the Word
In this psalm, David cries out to God for help. As he calls on God, he points to his own faithfulness towards God as a reason why God should protect him from his enemies. Does this mean that David thought he was perfect? No. It means that, generally speaking, David believed he was obedient and followed God’s will in contrast to his enemies who paid no regard to doing so.
Scripture teaches us that continued sin in our lives hinders our prayers. Compare passages such as Psalm 66:18 and Proverbs 28:9. These passages should not be understood to mean that we need to be entirely sinless. That simply is not true of anyone. But they do warn us that our willful continued sin harms our prayer life. Are you wondering why God seems distant and not answering? Is your life a reflection of the person who is faithful towards God? Or are you living in opposition to God’s will and know you need to repent? Praise God that he stands ready to forgive!
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