Persecuted and Preserved
God, whatever leads me into trouble–my actions, the actions of others or things beyond human control–You are the one I trust.
Read Psalm 17:1-15
A prayer of David.
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Search me, God, and know my heart. . . See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psa. 139:23,24).
Often in the Psalms, the cry is for forgiveness and mercy, but here it is a prayer for deliverance and protection rather than for restoration. Unlike the writer who knows pain as a consequence of sin; here the psalmist protests his innocence (3-5). We may find such a claim difficult, knowing our own sin and failure, but at least the writer is open to God’s examination (3). While we might not see ourselves in quite the same light, it is worth remembering that in Christ there is no condemnation (Rom. 8:1). It is also worth laying our thoughts, motives and behavior open to the searching eye of God, for it is when we recognize our sin, repent of it, turn to God and live in obedience that relationship with him is restored and we experience the full extent of his love and protection (8).
At the heart of the prayer is the covenant relationship with the God who has promised to protect his people. The prayer for vengeance may seem alien from a Christian perspective, but if justice is to prevail evil must be dealt with–though left with God to avenge. The writer longs for preservation–not simply for its own sake but so that he might continue to enjoy the favor of God and a close relationship with him. This may be the key to a Christian reading of the psalm. We can rightly pray to God for deliverance from those “enemies” (9) who would seek to damage our relationship with God, whatever form they take, knowing that behind them is one who is like a prowling lion (12; 1 Pet. 5:8). We can take comfort from the fact that we too are part of God’s covenant people and that he is committed to working out his purposes in our life.
What threatens your relationship with God? Sin, temptation, opposition, doubts? Pray that God will protect you and preserve your faith.
Loving God, I look to You. Above all, I want to be near You, to know Your heart and to grow to be a child who resembles my Father in this world.
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