Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Praying For God’s Justice

Psalm 17:1-15
A prayer of David.

“Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.  Let my sentence come forth from thy presence; let thine eyes behold the things that are equal.  Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. “ (Psalm 17:1-3)

In Matthew 23:14, Jesus said, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.”    The Scribes and Pharisees regularly used distorted interpretations of God’s law to justify seizing  the homes of widows and orphans, then stood up in the synagogue and made a show of long prayers to impress people with their spirituality.  David prayed that God would hear his prayer knowing it was not just an effort to fool God or himself. 

God knows the real motives for what we do, and David asked to be judged on the truth, not on just the appearance of what he did.  He was confident he would be blessed because he had done his best to follow God’s commands.  We are not qualified to judge ourselves or others because we see only the outward appearance.    God will show the whole truth, as Paul states in I Corinthians 4:4-5.  “For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.  Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.”  David was simply asking God to judge what he had done on the basis of what God knew instead of what people thought.   

“Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.  Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.” (Psalm 17:4-5)

By following God’s word, David had avoided doing the evil things Satan would tempt him to do.  He asked that God would help him to stay on the proper path. 

“I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech.  Show thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them.  Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about.” (Psalm 17:6-9)

David was praying to God because he believed God would listen.   He is not praying because he is perfect but because God is a loving God, and he is asking that God demonstrate his love.  He knew God takes care of those that trust him, and he asked that God would treat him as a beloved child, protecting him like a mother hen gathering her chicks under her wings. 

“They are enclosed in their own fat: with their mouth they speak proudly.  They have now compassed us in our steps: they have set their eyes bowing down to the earth; Like as a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places.” (Psalm 17:10-12)

Those who sought to destroy David were so wrapped up in their own ideas and thought they were smarter than anyone else.    They were like a lion stalking his prey, totally focused on not attracting attention to what they were trying to do, and oblivious to everything else. 

“Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword: From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.” (Psalm 17:13-14)

God uses even the wicked to accomplish his purpose, and punish those who will not obey, even giving them earthly possessions, but David asks that when they attack him, they come up empty handed and frustrated, with all their wealth being passed to babies too young to understand its value or keep it. 

“As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” (Psalm 17:15)

David will be satisfied with his relationship with God.  He doesn’t need the things his enemies hold dear to be satisfied.  

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