Praying the Psalms~ Psalm 17 Finding Confidence in Christ

Have you ever tried to figure out what is going on in your life? Why does it seem that so many negative things are happening or transpiring? It is easy to try to overanalyze our situations.

I spoke with a sweet young mother yesterday who loves Jesus and her family so much, and she was so concerned that her life and heart aligns itself completely with the will of God.  If you are like this, you may find yourself spending time overthinking everything you do and everything that happens in your life.

We want to please God and we sometimes think that if we are pleasing The Lord, everything will be hunky dory. Everything should be coming up daisies, unicorns and rainbows. But, if we look at the lives of the most powerful men and women of the bible, they are marked, just like the rest of us, by suffering, strife and difficulty. They faced severe emotional dilemma, family rejection and feelings of isolation and loneliness. It is in this time that the enemy will come in and throw doubts into our hearts. “You aren’t really following God.” or “IF you ARE REALLY a son or daughter of God, why wouldn’t you be having more success?” or ” IF you were a child of God, why would you be struggling with sin?!”

When we are walking with the intentions to please the Lord, the scriptures say that even the most sensitive hearts will find peace. God will answer your prayers!

1 John 3:19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask,because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

Notice that IF our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence and receive from him ANYTHING we ask…. Faith is spiritual confidence in The Lord. It is the deep trust in what God has done for me in Christ, who I am in Christ and what God wants to/is able to do in the lives of those around me. Satan wants to shake our confidence and faith in Christ.

In Psalm 17, we see the Psalmist find his place of confidence. This is a very much desired place to be. Many believers have a hard time finding their faith footing on this ground.

I have been stuck on this Psalm for a while now. I haven’t posted a prayer on it, because it is very difficult to chew up and digest. The Psalmist describes someone crying out to God for defense against enemies and for a military grade bunk check. “Look, God. Give my heart the white glove check! I am blameless. I have done nothing wrong, but it seems like I have, because everything is going wrong.”

I struggled with this, because we as humans are always unaware of the sin lying deep below the surface of our hearts. We think that we are clean and that our motives are pure, but only God truly knows. The Psalmists says to God, “I’ve checked, now you check.” This is not unlike when I send my kids to their rooms to look for those clean socks they need to put on like right now so we can go to the store. They check. No socks. I send them to check again. No socks. Okay. Finally, I trudge up the stairs (most likely in a pair of heels… this never happens unless I put on heels) to confirm whether or not they have done a good check.

Honestly, no one can ultimately claim complete purity of heart. We all have a little bit of rebellion deep down inside. However, I think this Psalm seems to be a prophecy.  3 different messages are being prophesied at the same time.

  1. It is a Messianic Prophecy. The Messiah would be without sin. No sin on his lips. No sin in his heart. The Messiah would be bribed and tempted, without sin. The Messiah will stick to God’s path no matter what. The Messiah will be the apple of God’s eye. The Messiah will be tracked down and hated by wealthy people (v 10 actually refers to wealth or even “fat hearts” in the Hebrew). The Messiah is content to go through this trauma and to be vindicated in eternity by seeing God face to face.
  2. It is a cry from the heart of King David concerning the plight he faces. He is walking with The Lord, yet his enemies (especially King Saul) are trying to destroy him.
  3. It is a reflection of a true believer in Jesus who’s heart and mind and life is purified by the blood of Jesus.  When we have faith in Christ, the blood of Jesus purifies us from all unrighteousness. The heart of the believer, deep down, is to live to give The Lord glory. The believer’s intentions and desire is to be right with God and to see the power of God manifest in the land of the living. Ultimately, the believer is the apple of God’s eye. (King David was described as a man after God’s own heart.)  Jesus was God’s beloved, only begotten son, and he was given for the redemption of our souls, we truly are the apple of God’s eye. Ultimately, (and this is the difficult piece of the Psalm…) there are those who will not turn to the Lord, but who will put their trust in money, in the things of this world and in evil. Those who delight in evil will come to their very bitter end. We all must face death, but those who do not turn to Christ face the second death in hell and the sins of the forefathers are visited on the 2nd and 3rd generations. Their children will walk in the consequences of their rebellion. The believer is satisfied in the promise of seeing God face to face.

I think all of these interpretations are correct, as prophecy generally has a manifold functionality. (There are many ways that prophecies unfold.) So, as we read and pray this Psalm, since we are the believers, let us rejoice in what The Lord did for King David, what he expressly gave to us through Jesus and what he is doing in our lives right now.

If you are the person who is struggling in your heart with a sensitive conscience, this is the perfect prayer for you. Find your faith footing! Instead of searching your own heart, let the Lord search your heart. Remember, if you have put your faith in Christ and repented of your sin, he is faithful and just to forgive you of your sin and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

Let’s Pray

New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 17

A prayer of David. The blue words are my added words for praying. 

Hear me, Lord, my plea is just;
    listen to my cry. I thank you that you hear my prayers, oh Lord. I thank you that you are always ready to listen and to act on my behalf. You are a good Father and I am your child. 
Hear my prayer—
    it does not rise from deceitful lips. I have no reason to lie. You have delivered me from my sins. I ask that you will help me to be honest with you in every small detail of my life, including my prayers. 
Let my vindication come from you; 
    may your eyes see what is right. You are my just judge. You have walked in my shoes. Jesus, you became a person and was despised and rejected by men. You know my heart and what it is like to struggle. Thank you for your sacrifices. I trust in you. 

Though you probe my heart,
    though you examine me at night and test me,
you will find that I have planned no evil; You know that I intend to serve you. I have given you my sin and I have taken my thoughts captive and made them obedient to you. Check my heart. If I have sin that I do not know of, please reveal it to me, so I can repent, Oh Lord my God. 
    my mouth has not transgressed. I have made a commitment to walk in truth and to keep from gossip, lies, complaining and bitter talk. You have tried me and taught me to praise you with my mouth, Oh Lord. 
Though people tried to bribe me,
    I have kept myself from the ways of the violent
    through what your lips have commanded. God, you know the people who have tried to tempt me. You see the temptation that I face day after day. Please save me and lead me not into temptation. 
My steps have held to your paths;
    my feet have not stumbled. Jesus, I want to be like you. I want to be more and more like you. I have grown so much in you, Oh Lord. I have given you my life and you have purified it. You have brought me out of so much sin. Please continue to do a great work in my life and keep me. 

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
    turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. 
Show me the wonders of your great love,
    you who save by your right hand
    those who take refuge in you from their foes. Oh God, here and now I put confidence in you. I am confident that you can save me from evil. I am confident that you hear me. I am confident that though evil comes against me that you will deliver me. The name of the Lord is a strong tower and I run into it and am safe. I know that you desire for me to walk in your power. I am confident that I will see the good of the Lord in the Land of the living, in Jesus name! I pray that your Spirit will be poured out in greater measure, the same way you gave Elisha a double measure of Elijah’s anointing. I know your Spirit brings confidence, peace, love, joy, soundness of mind, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control. May I walk in your Spirit and not in the flesh, Oh Lord. May I walk in your power today to overcome. Show your wonder! Show your power in my life and in my family, in Jesus name. Break the power of Satan, the evil one and my mortal foe, in Jesus name. 
Keep me as the apple of your eye; I know that you love me. I know this is because you created me and you are a good father. I am your beloved. Thank you so much for keeping me in your good graces by the love of your son Jesus. I am blown away by your graciousness, you love. I am thankful for saying I am the apple of your eye. Oh Lord, you are amazing!
    hide me in the shadow of your wings
from the wicked who are out to destroy me,
    from my mortal enemies who surround me. Lord, the devil comes to kill, steal and destroy, but you come to destroy- literally to raze the works of the devil. The devil has stirred up people against me. They hate me because of you. Even family members have turned against me. You said that all men will hate me because they hated you first. Lord, help me to take up my cross and follow you. Give me the peace to rest in you when I am hated and to love those who turn against me and to pray for my enemies, in Jesus name. Lord God, help me to forgive the way you forgive and not to be arrogant. Hide me in your favor, hide me in your wings. Hide me and shelter me, Oh Lord. Give me peace and rest in the storms of life. 

Lord, there are those who put their trust in money and who love success so much they will step on anyone who gets in their way. 

10 They close up their callous hearts,
    and their mouths speak with arrogance. 
11 They have tracked me down, they now surround me,
    with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground. 
12 They are like a lion hungry for prey,
    like a fierce lion crouching in cover. 

13 Rise up, Lord, confront them, bring them down;
    with your sword rescue me from the wicked. Lord, give me favor. Do battle against those who would try to destroy my life, my family or my job, in Jesus name. 
14 By your hand save me from such people, Lord,
    from those of this world whose reward is in this life. Lord, may I never live as a hypocrite. May I never live for the rewards of this world. I want to live for eternal rewards in Christ. May my focus be in you. 
May what you have stored up for the wicked fill their bellies;
    may their children gorge themselves on it,
    and may there be leftovers for their little ones.

15 As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face;
    when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.

Lord, I want to live for you. I want to be so eternally minded that I am an impact for the kingdom here on this earth. I want to do everything I do for you. Lord, please keep me secure in your way, in Christ. In Jesus name, Amen!

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