Psalm 17

Lamentation (persecuted and accused)

God Sanctifies the Honest Heart

                1 Hear a just cause, O LORD, give heed to my cry;

                Give ear to my prayer, which is not from deceitful lips.

                15 As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness;

                I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.

·         A blessed privilege is prayer. Without it, what could the righteous do? The very goodness of his cause makes David bold in prayer. Verse 9 proves that “the greater the terror, with which we are stricken by the cruelty of our enemies, the more ought we to be quickened in prayer.” If we are wrong, we need forgiveness; if we are right, we still need protection. If we are prosperous, we should beg for caution and moderation; if we are afflicted, we should ask for support, sanctification and timely relief.

·         It is not unusual for God to delay for a season the execution of justice, even in behalf of his people. Delay is not refusal. He will come at the best time. “Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you, that he will avenge them speedily.” Therefore “men ought always to pray and not to faint.”

·         A good resolution is one of the means of preserving us. No man will be free from sins of heart, of tongue, or of life, unless he is purposed to avoid iniquity.

·         Past supports and deliverances should make us humble and watchful. If our weakness is our strength, as Paul teaches, surely our strength may become our weakness. “Certainly the more any one excels in grace, the more ought he to be afraid of falling; for it is the usual policy of Satan to endeavor, even from the virtue and strength which God has given us, to produce in us carnal confidence, which may induce carelessness.” (Calvin)

·         How often must our resort be to prayer. Often we can do nothing but pray, never can we do anything better, than to call upon God.

·         It is dreadful for a poor tempted or persecuted soul to lose sight of the divine mercy. Let him hope in God’s marvelous loving-kindness. “The believer must hold his eye in times of dangers and straits especially upon God’s good-will and kindness, as a counter-balance to all the malice of men.” (Dickson)

·         In afflictions it is a great thing to be able to acknowledge God as the author of our distresses, even though he employs men as instruments. . . . He, who in affliction dwells much on second causes will have sorrow on sorrow. The wickedest men are but God’s rod, and hand, and sword.

·         The way to heaven is rough. Yet two things greatly support the saints. One is that they have many comforts and cordials by the way. Sometimes they have a blessed vision of God. They walk with him and he shows them his covenant. The other is, they have a heaven to go to, and of that they have a blessed assurance in God’s word, and a sure hope in their souls. “Wondrously enlightened by the Holy Ghost, David speaks with a clearness, which seems possible to Christian minds only, of the glories of heaven, where the struggle with sin shall be changed into perfect righteousness, faith into face-to-face vision, satiation with the divided goods of this life into satiation with the one perfect good, which renders everything besides unnecessary.” (Tholuck) How such a ray from the throne above pierces the darkness of this world!