Thursday, June 5, 2008

Psalm 17

Psalm 17 NET:

A prayer of David.
LORD, consider my just cause!
Pay attention to my cry for help!
Listen to the prayer
I sincerely offer!

2 Make a just decision on my behalf!
Decide what is right!

3 You have scrutinized my inner motives;
you have examined me during the night.
You have carefully evaluated me, but you find no sin.
I am determined I will say nothing sinful.

4 As for the actions of people--
just as you have commanded,
I have not followed in the footsteps of violent men.

5 I carefully obey your commands;
I do not deviate from them.

6 I call to you for you will answer me, O God.
Listen to me!
Hear what I say!

7 Accomplish awesome, faithful deeds,
you who powerfully deliver those who look to you for protection from their enemies.

8 Protect me as you would protect the pupil of your eye!
Hide me in the shadow of your wings!

9 Protect me from the wicked men who attack me,
my enemies who crowd around me for the kill.

10 They are calloused;
they speak arrogantly.

11 They attack me, now they surround me;
they intend to throw me to the ground.

12 He is like a lion that wants to tear its prey to bits,
like a young lion crouching in hidden places.

13 Rise up, LORD!
Confront him! Knock him down!
Use your sword to rescue me from the wicked man!

14 LORD, use your power to deliver me from these murderers,
from the murderers of this world!
They enjoy prosperity;
you overwhelm them with the riches they desire.
They have many children,
and leave their wealth to their offspring.

15 As for me, because I am innocent I will see your face;
when I awake you will reveal yourself to me.

I can't see how people believe in the prosperity Gospel when they read psalms like this. Often, it is the wicked who prosper in life. We know that this shouldn't be the case, but more often than not, it is.

This is an intense psalm. Throughout, the psalmist seems like he is almost pleading with God to act on his behalf. When I was little and I wanted my parents to do something, I would rattle off a whole list of reasons why I deserved them to do whatever it is I wanted them to do. This psalm almost seems like that. The psalmist is saying to God, "I am holding up my end of the bargain. I am living a righteous life. Why are these guys tearing me down? Take them out, God!"

I know I have had feelings like this before. When you are in the ministry (or in any service profession), it is easy to feel like life should be better for you. Even though I don't do what I do because I want God to make me comfotable, it's nice to know that God isn't threatened when people speak out honestly and ask Him, "What's the deal?"

"Father, You have been good to me. I thank You again for caring about my needs. I thank You for desiring to hear what is on my heart. I pray that when I get disatisfied in life that I would turn to you instead of acting out in anger. I confess that Your ways are the ways of life. Amen."

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