October 2 Daily Rhythms
Psalm 17 1-5
Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit! From your presence let my vindication come! Let your eyes behold the right! 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. With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips. I have avoided the ways of the violent. My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped.
When we read Psalms like this, it can feel like the palmist is declaring his worthiness. Context is everything. This is a Psalm of Lament, where the Psalm writer is making the complaint that trouble has befallen him that is no fault of his own. There are two kinds of trouble that hits us in this broken world. Trouble we bring on ourselves and injustice. Here the Psalmist complains about injustice. What trouble do you encounter today that is not your fault? Bring your complaint to God.
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words. Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround me. They close their hearts to pity; with their mouths they speak arrogantly. They have now surrounded our steps; they set their eyes to cast us to the ground. He is like a lion eager to tear, as a young lion lurking in ambush.
Injustice is real. And it exists everywhere. You may experience it, and you may either consciously or subconsciously be responsible for perpetuating it. Ask God to make things right and start with yourself. What are areas you ignnore or support things that are wrong? Confess this today, and seek justice in all things.
Arise, O LORD! Confront him, subdue him! Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword, from men by your hand, O LORD, from men of the world whose portion is in this life. You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants. As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.
We can and should pray that God would rise up and bring Justice to his creation. The contrast in these last verses is between those whose only joy is in treasure and children, versus the one (like the Psalmist) who knows there is something even better. Lay down to sleep knowing that his presence is enough to bring joy to life and death.