Psalm 17 - I will be satisfied when I awake having Your likeness
This is the 1st prayer, or in Hebrew, tefilla, Psalm. The other 4 are 86, 90, 102 & 142. Three are of David: 17, 86, 142. Ps 90 is of Moses. Ps 102 is anonymous.
This psalm is entirely prayer. This psalm is 100% addressed to the Lord, not to man. The previous Psalm 16 contains only one request, which is in the 1st verse. This Psalm is mostly requests of the Lord.
v1 - "Hear the right" refers to whoever is right, whether me or my enemies or someone else. If my enemy is right, answer his prayer, and if I am not right, do not answer mine.
The word "song", rinnah, usually means a joyful song. (Ps 30:5; 42:4; 47:1 ...). But there are a few places where, from the context, it must be something out of grief (Ps 88:2; 106:44; 142:6; Jer 14:12). To cover all its uses, I think rinnah should mean a song sung in such a way as the singer is beside himself. Usually this is a song of great joy, but it could also be of great anguish.
The Lord hears a song as He would a prayer. A prayer in the form of a song makes it easier for us to release our spirit, be released from ourselves, calm our mind and consider every word. I find that I need a combination of both singing and talking to connect with the Lord. Singing it sometimes does not engage my mind. Then when I just say it as a prayer to the Lord, I connect with the Lord.
v2 - As in v1, "things that are upright" refers to anyone's upright matters, whether mine or mine enemies. Upright refers to walking straight, the opposite of hypocrisy.
v3 - KJV and NAS translate the last part of the verse as "I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress." The word "transgress" is not there in the Hebrew. I agree with Young's Literal, Green's Literal, and Jubilee 2000 translations.
"You have examined me and find nothing" does not mean that I do not have evil thoughts, but that I don't agree with them, and do not speak them, much less act on them.
v4 - The Lord's word to us should be the "word of Your lips". They are like the Lord's kiss. We should not be related to the Word like the Pharisees who searched the Scriptures yet did not have the Word abiding in them (John 5:38-40).
The word of the Lord's lips restricts us from doing unto others as they have done to us.
v5 Besides the Lord's word, we also need the Lord Himself to uphold our goings. Since we have the word of His lips and His upholding our goings, we should have "goings". Go out to visit others with the Lord. Pray for this.
v6 Many psalms have a verse like this. Why have I called on You, God? Because You really answer me. We need to remind ourselves of this when we pray.
Do I really want God to incline His ear to me and hear what I say? Or do I know I am speaking nonsense? If I ask God to incline His ear toward me to hear what I say, I better mean what I say. That is why it is good to pray the words of the Bible.
"The prayer preceding all prayers is:
May it be the real I who speaks.
May it be the real Thou that I speak to."
- C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)
v7 I love this verse. The Lord's mercy goes beyond our understanding, so it is "wondrous". We should pray for this. His "right hand" means it is not just something the Lord does for us, but for His own great purpose.
Except for Young's Literal, most translations translate the 2nd part of v7 as "You who save those who trust in You from those who rise up against them." The phrases "in You" and "against them" are not in the Hebrew text. I think the meaning here is just "those who trust" and "those who rise up". We need to be those who trust one another (Matt 5:42; Ps 37:21; 1 Cor 13:7). If we don't trust eachother, our love has grown cold (Matt 24:12). But it is also easy for ambitious ones to take advantage. It is not that they rise up against us, but they just rise up and use others for their advantage.
I think President Ronald Reagan was such a trusting person. His wife protected him. He was a great President, and she may have been the greatest first lady.
v8 - This is my favorite verse in this Psalm. If we trust as in v7, then we need the Lord to protect us as the most tender part, the pupil of the eye. Then we can function as the eye in the Body of Christ to see the Lord (v15).
The phrase "apple of the eye" refers to the pupil of the eye. This phrase is used 5 times by KJV (Deut 32:10; Prov 7:2; Lam 2:18; Zech 2:8). This verse is the only one where the Hebrew uses both the word for pupil and also says "daughter" of the eye. This shows the tenderness.
v9-12 - This probably refers to 1 Sam 23:19-24:22 when David was constantly being hunted and surrounded by Saul. In particular, 1 Sam 23:26-28 shows David and his followers being surrounded by Saul, and the Lord answered David's prayer in v13 of this Psalm. 1 Sam 24:3-7 shows David's tender conscience to the Lord as in vv 7-8 of this psalm.
These verses are written in a general way so that we can apply the prayers to today's situation. As I write this it is October, 2016. There are many mouths speaking very arrogantly against God, His Word and Christians. It seems they have surrounded us and are going to take over all branches of the government. They plot secret dishonest strategies.
v13-14 The Lord uses David's enemies for His purpose to prove David and eventually transform David to His likeness (v15). David knows that these wicked ones are the Lord's sword and the Lord's hand upon him. When we know this, we are not angry and hateful against those who do us wrong.
Our portion is not in this life. Do not admire those who have much in this life, nor despise those who are not successful. For children to have all they desire is a curse, not a blessing. They leave their abundance to their children, and the children waste it and use it to corrupt themselves.
If I am not today all that I hope to be, yet I see Jesus, and that assures me that I shall one day be like Him. - Charles Spurgeon
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