While David prayed in other Psalms, this is his first Psalm entitled “a prayer”. There are five prayer Psalms (17, 86, 90, 102, and 142). This Psalm teaches us four great aspects of praying to God: David’s plea for God’s vindication from accusation (vv. 1-5), intercession for protection (vv. 6-9), deliverance from adversaries (vv. 10-14), and reassurance of eternity (v. 15). David began the psalm of prayer by asking the Lord, Who sees everything, to examine his righteous life and determine his innocence. David was confident his words had integrity. He claimed he had no “deceitful lips” (v. 1), “mouth of transgression” (v. 3). He also declared his actions were pure. He has “planned no evil” (v. 3), not taken bribes (v. 4), nor has he feet stumbled from God’s path (v. 5). When someone accuses you of wrongdoing, it is right to review your words and actions. These are indicators of a pure or impure heart. But the best One to review your words and actions is God, Who “sees what is right” (v. 2). God knows if our words and ways have integrity, even if others accuse of misconduct or sin. In the end, He will acquit us of incorrect allegations. Let Him defend your words and actions and let your “steps hold to His paths” (v. 4) and do “what His lips have commanded” (v. 3).
In verses 6-9, David reminds us to call on the Lord to intercede on our behalf. Not only does God know the truth, He will intervene. David was confident that God would, “hear his prayer” (v. 6), “show His great love” (v. 7a), and “save by His right hand” (v. 7b). God not only hears our prayers, He loves us during our trials. Not only does He hear and love, He provides and protects. David asked the Lord to “keep him as the apple of His eye” and “hide him in the shadow of His wing”. This is the same prayer Moses prayed in Deuteronomy 32:10-11. David was sure God would care for him just as He had Moses. No matter who comes against you, the Lord is greater. He not only hears you and loves you, He also will intervene on your behalf. Psalm 17:10-14 shows us how God would deal with David’s adversaries. In contrast to David’s character in verses 1-5, their character was that of “calloused hearts and arrogance” (v. 10), plots to harm (v. 11), and like that of a lion to destroy (v. 12). David reminds us that those who are against the Lord and His people only have the fleeting rewards this temporary life offers. If these don’t turn from their wicked ways, the generations after them may be doomed as well (v. 14). So what if the wicked that are against you seem to prosper on this earth! Unless they turn from their wicked ways, their eternal fate is sure. David knew the temporary assaults of the wicked were futile in comparison to the eternal rewards of the Lord.
David ended the Psalm in verse 15 by reminding himself of eternity. He said, “when I awake” in reference to a life that awaits all those in Christ after this temporary one. Scripture reminds us, “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed” (Acts 13:36). David fell asleep, as the end of his temporary body would not stop eternity. He awoke in heaven vindicated, seeing the face and likeness of God. Though attacks may come on this earth, God knows the truth. He loves you through the trial, defends you on this earth, and will take all those who trust in Christ into eternity. In heaven, “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27).
1. What accusations from others do you need to turn over to the Lord?
2. Have you forgotten to trust the eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing, and just Lord?
Lord, help me to trust You. I rest assured You hear me, love me, and will vindicate and deliver me. Thank You for eternity. Until then, I will serve and trust You fully. In Jesus’ name, Amen.