Ps 17:15 “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”
Do you ever feel like life will never get better or that satisfaction is an elusive mirage never to be actually realized? David appears to process this disillusioned tendency in all of us through prayer in this Psalm. We don’t know exactly what immediate threats or discouragements he is facing, but his pivot to the Lord for help provides a pattern of intercession that produces empowering confidence in the only true God.
Prayer gives us a way to express our integrity before the Lord. (1-5)
The psalmist prays first that God will hear, attend, and give ear to his side of the case, which he presents, he declares, with lips free of deceit. His cry is only for a just sentence from the One who knows his innocence. God has proved, visited, and tried him, and will continue to find him guiltless. These verses capture the sentiment of Proverbs 28:1 “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Integrity that leads to intercession will infuse the believer with zealous courage.
Too often we are tempted to justify or defend ourselves in horizontal conversations with others around us-a decision the regularly is improper and unproductive. Some sentiments such as these are only appropriate and sanctified when expressed to the Lord! Could it be that you lack full confidence, not because of sin but a lack of supplication? The way to renew your confidence in the Lord is to appeal for justice in the eyes of the One who not only knows but enables your character.
Prayer gives us a way to explain our need to the Lord. (6-12)
The speaker repeats his cry, this time with direct reference to his enemies. He requests that God will demonstrate his loving-kindness, keep him safe, and hide him from those who rise up against him. He describes his enemies in terms that point out the contrast between them and himself. In verse 8, David uses two powerful analogies. David prayed that he would be kept in the center of God’s watchful care. His two figures of speech in this verse have been most helpful to believers of all ages. The apple of the eye seems to refer to an eye’s pupil, symbolizing one’s sight. In other words, the psalmist prayed for God’s direct and careful attention. The other figure, the shadow of Your wings comes from the animal world comparing God’s protective care to that of a bird with its young. So, David was praying for care and protection from the Lord. Prayer enables David to focus less upon what he saw in his enemies and more upon what God sees.
Not only does the prayless believer become too self-affirming, they also become too publicly cynical and judgmental of others. Some raw observations of others are better expressed primarily to the Lord who can actually do something about our critics and enemies. Could the tensions between you and your enemies that affect you so deeply have less to do with what they are saying/doing and more about what you are not saying TO GOD? The way to renew your confidence in the Lord is to appeal for mercy to the one who truly, willingly assumes responsibility for your threats.
Prayer gives us a way to expect our satisfaction in the Lord. (13-15)
In contrast with those who live for this life and face God’s “sword,” David anticipated a far greater blessing for himself and others, including satisfied appetites and wealth for their children. In righteousness, he wrote, he would see God’s face; when he awakened, he would be satisfied with seeing God’s likeness. The psalmist calls for decisive action to disappoint and cast down the enemy in open vindication of himself. When I awake may refer to the next morning after this experience or to a vision of God beyond the sleep of death.
Without prayer, it is impossible to maintain a healthy expectation of true satisfaction. Conversation with self or others will always digress into eventual “woe is me” griping and fretting. Could the lack of confidence in future satisfaction has nothing to do with your circumstances and everything to with your communications that are lacking with the Lord. The way to renew your confidence in the Lord is to appeal for satisfaction that only the God who created the void can fill.
In this psalm David was conscious of his own integrity while surrounded by enemies whose only portion was in this life. His defiant, bright outlook permitted God to keep him from the evil world that oppressed him while he looked to a glorious future in the Lord’s presence. No matter what you are facing, do you possess that same supernatural confidence? If not, the starting point is prayer. Paul, out of the overflow of his prayer for Timothy, declares “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Ti. 1:8).