Psalms Chapter 17

Psalms Chapter 17 #HearUsFromHeaven #Foes #Deception #Lies #Defense #Depend #Trust #FinalDestination (Unless otherwise cited the scriptural references in this devotional are from the KJV version of the Bible.)

 Context: Defend Me oh Lord

Psalm 17 is one of three Psalms with the title “A prayer of David.” The other two Psalms with that title are Psalms  86 and 142. The psalm is a lament that is plentiful with words that signify a petition. For example; “hear, attend, unto, give ear.”

Plan of the prayer:

  1. 1st David cries to God (verses 1-2),
  2. 2nd he defends his character and motives for his actions (verses 3-5). 
  3. 3rd he offers a beautiful prayer for divine protection (verse 8),
  4. 4th he prays about and gives a repulsive description of his enemies (verses 9-12).
  5. 5th David makes a request for the divine protection of the Almighty, “Keep me as the apple of the eye” (verse 8).
  6. Finally, David asks that his deliverance might be granted through the destruction of his enemies (verses 13-14). However, it will result in David’s continued devotion of The Lord (verse 15).

1(A Prayer of David.) Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.

Some definitions to clarify this verse for us: The Hebrew word used for right that is used in this verse is: צֶדֶק (tzédekm (plural indefinite צְדָקִים,  singular construct צֶדֶק־[pattern: קֶטֶל]Justicerighteousnessrightnessright.  David asks God to listen to his cry. Not only because he is a righteous man, but also because his prayer is just. What does feigned mean? ” offers an appropriate definition for this word: pretended, sham, and counterfeit.” In other words, the prayer is not fake.

2Let my sentence come forth from thy presence; let thine eyes behold the things that are equal.

The Bible gives us no indication of the type of trouble that David is experiencing. But He is asking God to look at the things that are happening with the balanced scale of His justice:”behold the things that are equal.” David knows that his integrity is intact. He knows that he has not broken God’s law. How? See verse 3.

3Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.

David did not fear the eyes or hands of God as they proved his heart. Why? “ am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.” He was determined that his heart would not sin. He could say the words in this Psalm and mean it. Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” No one knows our intentions like God. He will never declare us “dead to Him!” He knows that we sin in thought. We sometimes sin in how we speak. We positively sin against each other by the things that we do to each other. But, God forgives. Are you not happy that we serve a God for whom personal reconciliation is not a concept, but it is a reality?

4Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.

The destroyer is the devil. John 8:44 ESVYou are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

When we gossip and destroy people’s reputations or even take their livelihood away from them, then we are acting like the destroyer. David tells God that he has not acted like the devil toward others. Because he has been circumspect in his relationships with others and is not a son of the “destroyer,” he asked God to do something for him. “Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.” Not only does he ask it, he believes that it will be done. How do we know that?  See Verse 6. “I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech.”

Shew thy marvellous loving kindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them

The Hebrew word used in this passage formarvellous loving kindness” is “hessed.”  Hesed is a keyword describing “loyal love.” We saw the same word in the book of Ruth when she would not leave Naomi.

Ruth 1:16-17And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.” Longman declares that “Hesed” is a covenant word between covenant partners. David has a covenantal partnership with God. That is why he could make the plea in verses 8 and 9. Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, 9From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about. God never breaks his word. When he makes a covenant between Him and anyone He keeps it.  See His covenant with Abraham. See also His covenant with Moses and the people of Israel. What about us? What Does “Covenant” Mean? 

Covenant Definition: From BibleGateway’s Dictionary that provides a concise explanation of what a covenant means to God’s people in the Old and New Testament.

A covenant is a contract or agreement between two parties. In the Old Testament the Hebrew word _berith_ is always thus translated. _Berith_ is derived from a root which means “to cut,” and hence a covenant is a “cutting,” with reference to the cutting or dividing of animals into two parts, and the contracting parties passing between them, in making a covenant (Gen. 15; Jer. 34:18, 19).

The corresponding word in the New Testament Greek is _diatheke_, which is, however, rendered “testament” generally in the Authorized Version. It ought to be rendered, just as the word _berith_ of the Old Testament, “covenant.” This word is used of a covenant or compact between man and man (Gen. 21:32), or between tribes or nations (1 Sam. 11:1; Josh. 9:6, 15). In entering into a convenant, Jehovah was solemnly called on to witness the transaction (Gen. 31:50), and hence it was called a “covenant of the Lord” (1 Sam. 20:8). The marriage compact is called “the covenant of God” (Prov. 2:17), because the marriage was made in God’s name. Wicked men are spoken of as acting as if they had made a “covenant with death” not to destroy them, or with hell not to devour them (Isa. 28:15, 18).


Hunter and Wellum (as quoted by Bouma) list several important characteristics of biblical covenants in their book:

  • God’s covenants are part of God’s one plan of salvation. “There is one plan of God for redemption, and the covenants unfold that one plan…Each covenant has its own part to play in preparing us for the coming of Christ and the culmination of God’s glorious and unified plan of salvation”.
  • God’s covenants progress from one to another. Not only do we see how God’s covenants progress from one to another. We also see how the covenants relate to one another, which “makes a difference for how we understand any given passage in the Bible and apply it to our lives today”.
  • God’s covenants are unconditional and conditional. “On the one hand, each covenant is unconditional and unilateral because of God’s gracious initiative to redeem and to keep his own promises. On the other hand, each covenant is conditional because it involves a human partner who is called to obey God.” Although “we eventually find that no human partner loves and obeys God perfectly,” through Christ’s obedience sinners can be saved.
  • God’s covenants reveal who God is and his plan. “In studying each covenant, we learn more about the God who makes these promises, who he is and why he does what he does… As we read the Bible’s story, we are always asking ourselves, How does this covenant reveal the God who saves and the Savior He sends?”.

10 They are inclosed in their own fat: with their mouth they speak proudly.

These persons are not at all sensitive to the needs and or condition or other people. It is all about them and their needs, their position and their recognition. Casey proposes that “This was a common Old Testament idiom for insensitivity (compare 32:15; Job 15:27; Psalm 73:7; Jer. 5:28).

11They have now compassed us in our steps: they have set their eyes bowing down to the earth; 12 Like as a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places.

Non-covenantal people are like a lion seeking their prey.  Never get in the way of an insecure person. They will devour you to maintain the status quo. David speaks of his enemies as if they were predators.  Can you relate to this scenario? What has you experienced personally that made you feel as you was someone’s prey? How did the Holy Spirit rescue you from this scenario? Were your prayers a part of the reconciliation of your inner man? Remember that we were already warned about how the enemy works. 1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” Just know that he will not come at you personally. See Verse 14 From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.  He will alwys do it through other people. Be forwarned!

13 Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword: 14 From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.

Remember God’s grace toward his Children. As a reminder read Matt. 6:19-34. Sometimes we have to return to these scriptures to remind us that we serve God Almighty and not man. It is so heartwarming to note David’s resilience in these verses. His faith in God is unwavering. He prays to God to do what He always does to deliver His children. “Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword:” Remember that the word “arise” means to prepare for battle! David uses it quite frequently in the Book of Psalms. I keep reiterating this phrase because it is so important to us. God is our warrior king. We don’t have to lay on our beds at night wondering if someone is plotting against us. He already knows what is being planned. Crucial to our spiritual existence is the fact that we need to know it too! God does not allow harm to come to His people from any front. Be encouraged friends. We it may be dark right now, but joy will come in the morning! Why do I day that? Just look at verse 15!

15 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

David knows that he knows who he is in God’s eyes. Friends we must have that same firm assurance. We do not live in a kind world. People are warring against each other for any reason possible.  I remember a pastor saying the following, “Our nation is in the state it is in because God’s people are not praying.” Well, I also remember that Scripture states that sometimes we don’t get the right response from God because we pray for the wrong things. James 4:3 declares,Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” A prayer strategy that I used when talking to God is this. Does what I am thinking line up with ALL of God’s word or does it just scratches an itch that I want to get rid of? We can always find individuals scriptures in the Bible to justify our thoughts and actions. So, I check myself and I check myself regularly. If my actions are going to cause harm to others and or myself I will cease and desist immediately. If someone’s actions are going to cause me harm I will remove myself from the situation. Why? I know my eternal destination.

Finally, like David I will see God’s face one day. I do not want Him to say to me Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Sobering thought huh?

My daily prayer in song:



Bouma, Jeremy. 2018. What Is the New Covenant?

Christ from Beginning to End  Read this book to garner a more comprehensive picture of the relationship between Christians and their covenantal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Cayce, Ken. Discover Books of the Bible.

Longman, Tremper, III. 2014. Psalms: An Introduction and Commentary. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press. Accessed August 16, 2018. ProQuest Ebook Central.


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