Psalm 17 has David reaching out to God. It shows a remarkable for its trust in God, a lack of confidence in self, and is filled with glorious heavenly hope. David makes his case to the Lord. “Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit”! David continues his pattern of praying when in time of crisis. He appeals to God to hear him. And he asks that his vindication come from God, not by taking things into his own hands. David wants God to be his source of protection and strength.
David believes he is pure. His heart has been tested. “You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night, you have tested me, and you will find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress”. David knows that an impure heart is a barrier to effective prayer. Open and unconfessed sin is a great prayer barrier. Boice suggests these questions for examining our heart before prayer:
- Are we being disobedient?
- Are we being selfish?
- Are we neglecting some important duty?
- Is there a wrong we should first make right?
- Are our priorities in order?
David is clear that he wants to walk in obedience to God. “My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped”. Spurgeon reminds us that ‘the road is good, but our feet are evil, and therefore slip, even on the King’s highway’. David wants to stay on course and stay the course. He desires to do things God’s ways, not his own, so he is asking God to hear his prayers and give him clear direction. He asks for his steadfast love. He knows the source of victory will come from the Lord.
“Arise, O Lord! Confront him, subdue him! Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword”. David is a warrior and fighter. This is a different approach than he has taken in the past. David declared his dependence on God to protect him. It wasn’t because David was afraid of such lion-like enemies; as a young boy David had bested both the bear and the lion along with many enemies and armies. This is his request because David needed to see his enemy defeated by the hand of God, not the hand of David. He wanted to see God as His deliverer!