Hide me from the wicked who treat me violently, my deadly enemies who surround me.
“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me, because they are yours.
Psalm 17 is a prayer of David in the voice of Jesus.
John 17 is Jesus’ prayer in the voice of Christ.
In His office of intercessor, He who has brought God to us now brings us to God.
David was a man after God’s own heart and a man of prayer. You can’t be one without the other. Prayer is intimacy (in-to-me-see) with God.
Worship is our highest priority and the highest form of worship is lament.
This means open communication with God. I have no worries because I am talking to God, and am with God.
I know God knows.
I am not in denial or avoiding things, or just whistling in the dark.
And we are never fatalistic or resigned to defeat, because hopelessness is bad theology.
We are masters at the art of supplication: humbly asking. It is proud not to ask God. Asking requires humility. Both to not covet and to ask are correct theology.
Psalm 17, Spurgeon:
He flies to prayer in all times of need, as a pilot speeds to the harbor in the stress of tempest… We have in the present plaintive song, An appeal to Heaven from the persecutions of earth. A spiritual eye may see Jesus here.
An appeal to Heaven’s court.
In John 17, Jesus steps into his permanent office of intercessor. We belong to Father and Jesus is praying for us.
In Psalm 17, David sees this, with the voice of Jesus. He says the enemies have first besmirched God, then attacked and entangled him.
David asks that God be vindicated and then he be delivered.
What they have done to David, they have done to God.
It is God who is really being attacked.
This is not conflation, but intimate oneness with God: being in his grip, a disciple who is an instrument of peace or war.
God’s enemies are our enemies and our enemies are God’s enemies, if we belong to God.
And our brother is never our enemy.
There are people who are wicked.
Bob Dylan had a song called, “Man of Peace”. It says, “Sometimes Satan comes as a man of peace”. Evil wears disguises!
The foes from whom David sought to be rescued were wicked men. It is hopeful for us when our enemies are God’s enemies. They were deadly enemies, whom nothing but his death would satisfy. The foes of a believer’s soul are mortal foes most emphatically, for they who war against our faith aim at the very life of our life. Deadly sins are deadly enemies, and what sin is there which hath not death in its bowels? These foes oppressed David, they laid his spirit waste, as invading armies ravage a country, or as wild beasts desolate a land. He likens himself to a besieged city, and complains that his foes compass him about It may well quicken our business upward, when all around us, every road, is blockaded by deadly foes. This is our daily position, for all around us dangers and sins are lurking. O God, do thou protect us from them all.
Notes from Peter C. Craigie:
- Psalm 17 is an expression, a teaching or reflection on covenant.
- God is a covenant keeping God.
- His fundamental characteristic of covenant keeping is lovingkindness (faithfull love).
- And God’s first and spectacular demonstration of this was the deliverance (exodus) from Egypt
- Covenant = lovingkindness = deliverance.
- God, for David and Israel, was known above all as a God of deliverance in crisis. We, Israel, believers, are a covenant community that shares covenant memory, of existence solely on the fact that God had delivered.
The conscious awareness God’s Lovingkindness is the focal point of Psalm 17.
It is not an unusual, dramatic testimony of one person, that was edifying to all; but rather it is the reflections of a past and present community that knew God as deliverer.
Deliverance = salvation.