A prayer of David.
17 Listen to what’s right, Lord;
pay attention to my cry!
Listen closely to my prayer;
it’s spoken by lips that don’t lie!
2 My justice comes from you;
let your eyes see what is right!
3 You have examined my heart,
testing me at night.
You’ve looked me over closely,
but haven’t found anything wrong.
My mouth doesn’t sin.
4 But these other people’s deeds?
I have avoided such violent ways
by the command from your lips.
5 My steps are set firmly on your paths;
my feet haven’t slipped.
6 I cry out to you because you answer me.
So tilt your ears toward me now—
listen to what I’m saying!
7 Manifest your faithful love in amazing ways
because you are the one
who saves those who take refuge in you,
saving them from their attackers
by your strong hand.
8 Watch me with the very pupil of your eye!
Hide me in the protection of your wings,
9 away from the wicked
who are out to get me,
away from my deadly enemies
who are all around me!
10 They have no pity;[a]
their mouths speak arrogantly.
11 They track me down—
suddenly, they surround me!
They make their plans to put me in the dirt.
12 They are like a lion eager to rip its prey;
they are like a strong young lion lying in wait.
13 Get up, Lord!
Bring them down!
Rescue my life from the wicked—
use your sword!
14 Rescue me from these people—
use your own hands, Lord!
Rescue me from these people
whose only possession is their fleeting life.[b]
But fill the stomachs of your cherished ones;
let their children be filled full
so that they have leftovers enough for their babies.
15 But me? I will see your face in righteousness;
when I awake, I will be filled full by seeing your image.
Why is it that the things on our minds cause us to be anxious at night losing sleep? What is it about lying sleepless in the dark, alone with our thoughts, that drives us to turn to God in prayer? Even Jesus, surrounded by his sleeping disciples, spent an agonizing night praying to God in the garden the night before his crucifixion. When we feel under attack, we turn to the one who is faithful, who listens and responds, our Holy and Loving God.
David, our psalmist, is having a really bad night. He is calling on God to get him out of trouble, pleading with God to listen and to respond. David makes his case to God saying, “I cry out to you because you answer me.” David challenges God to “examine” his heart and see that he has followed God’s ways and that he isn’t like the wicked enemies who were attacking him. David is asking for God to listen, declaring his faithfulness, and asking God to act on his behalf.
What a deep and trusting relationship David has with God. David is not afraid to lay his life before God like an open book and ask God to examine his life. In doing this, David declares his faithfulness to God and in return knows God will “listen to what I’m saying.” David then declares his belief that God will manifest God’s faithful love in amazing ways and save those who take refuge in God. He declares, “when I awake, I will be filled full by seeing your image.”
by Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
David shows us what it means to be in a covenant relationship with God. Ours is a loving relationship with God, where we can take refuge in God. We can open our hearts and lives to God without fear, knowing God is always faithful, and will listen and respond to us. In the same way, we are called to be faithful and to be honest about our struggles and to trust God as we follow Jesus.
We all find ourselves in situations where we cry out to God for help. And God will listen to us and respond and always be with us in our struggles. Our most important relationship is with God. Are you ready to lay your life open to God and ask God to examine your heart?
Prayer: Loving and Faithful God, examine our hearts. Listen to our cries in the night when we struggle, and respond to us with the comfort that only you can give. Amen.