Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Our Common Prayerbook 17 – 1

posted by Scot McKnight

The psalmist in Psalm 17 (see the whole psalm after the jump) thinks God should listen to him because he has lived before God faithfully. 

Here I find the Protestant impulse to gush a bit at the boldness of the psalmist; I find the Protestant impulse to be one of wondering if the psalmist is not proud; I find the Protestant impulse to be one in which this smacks of works or earning one’s standing before God. But this misconstrues biblical piety: obedience is rewarded and, if I may say it this way, deserving of reward. Why? Because God promises such and because it conforms to God’s very nature.
Furthermore, the psalmist scans his whole body to show he’s altogether doing what God wants: lips and ears and heart and eyes and feet. What is perhaps an insight into the whole is  v. 2: all that matters to him is YHWH’s approval.
Notice these first five verses:

A prayer of David.

17:1 Lord, consider my just cause!

Pay attention to my cry for help!

Listen to the prayer

I sincerely offer!

17:2 Make a just decision on my behalf!

Decide what is right!

17:3 You have scrutinized my inner motives;

you have examined me during the night.

You have carefully evaluated me, but you find no sin.

I am determined I will say nothing sinful.

17:4 As for the actions of people -

just as you have commanded,

I have not followed in the footsteps of violent men.

17:5 I carefully obey your commands;

I do not deviate from them.

 

A prayer of David.

17:1 Lord, consider my just cause!

Pay attention to my cry for help!

Listen to the prayer

I sincerely offer!

17:2 Make a just decision on my behalf!

Decide what is right!

17:3 You have scrutinized my inner motives;

you have examined me during the night.

You have carefully evaluated me, but you find no sin.

I am determined I will say nothing sinful.

17:4 As for the actions of people -

just as you have commanded,

I have not followed in the footsteps of violent men.

17:5 I carefully obey your commands;

I do not deviate from them.

17:6 I call to you for you will answer me, O God.

Listen to me!

Hear what I say!

17:7 Accomplish awesome, faithful deeds,

you who powerfully deliver those who look to you for protection from their enemies.

17:8 Protect me as you would protect the pupil of your eye!

Hide me in the shadow of your wings!

17:9 Protect me from the wicked men who attack me,

my enemies who crowd around me for the kill.

17:10 They are calloused;

they speak arrogantly.

17:11 They attack me, now they surround me;

they intend to throw me to the ground.

17:12 He is like a lion that wants to tear its prey to bits,

like a young lion crouching in hidden places.

17:13 Rise up, Lord!

Confront him! Knock him down!

Use your sword to rescue me from the wicked man!

17:14 Lord, use your power to deliver me from these murderers,

from the murderers of this world!

They enjoy prosperity;

you overwhelm them with the riches they desire.

They have many children,

and leave their wealth to their offspring.

17:15 As for me, because I am innocent I will see your face;

when I awake you will reveal yourself to me.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(2)
post a comment
Ann F-R

posted May 20, 2010 at 5:33 pm


It seems one of the most difficult challenges we face is when others continuously project their own sins onto believers – as individuals or corporately in the Body. Paul’s admonition not to judge what’s in the dark (in others or ourselves!), but to leave those things to God’s determination comes to mind. I appreciate how the psalmists (and those reciting the liturgy regularly), essentially render themselves open to God’s scrutiny. The motives of our hearts can deceive even us, so we need God’s sight & discernment to ensure we’re staying faithful & true:
“You have scrutinized my inner motives;
you have examined me during the night.
You have carefully evaluated me, but you find no sin.
I am determined I will say nothing sinful.”

What I find so winsome is how the psalmist rests in knowing that God will reveal to him if there’s something wrong, sinful or broken. May we each live openly, and trust God to expose what needs to be brought into God’s loving light for healing.
I don’t recall ever having read a translation of v. 8 that gives this image: “Protect me as you would protect the pupil of your eye!” Cool!



report abuse
 

Bruce White

posted May 21, 2010 at 1:12 am


I like the way the psalmist alternates between assertions of confidence in his own behavior (i.e., verse 5 – “I do not deviate from your commands”) and assertions of confidence in God (i.e., verse 6 -”you WILL answer me”).
It would be wonderful to actually hear the psalmist’s tone of voice as he recites or sings or prays this psalm, because it would help us to know if some of these assertions (like verses 8-9) are a demand for God to act…or a plea for God to act.



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More Blogs To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Jesus Creed. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog post Happy Reading!  

posted 11:15:58am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Our Common Prayerbook 30 - 3
Psalm 30 thanks God (vv. 1-3, 11-12) and exhorts others to thank God (vv. 4-5). Both emerge from the concrete reality of David's own experience. Here is what that experience looks like:Step one: David was set on high and was flourishing at the hand of God's bounty (v. 7a).Step two: David became too

posted 12:15:30pm Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Theology After Darwin 1 (RJS)
One of the more important and more difficult pieces of the puzzle as we feel our way forward at the interface of science and faith is the theological implications of discoveries in modern science. A comment on my post Evolution in the Key of D: Deity or Deism noted: ...this reminds me of why I get a

posted 6:01:52am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Almost Christian 4
Who does well when it comes to passing on the faith to the youth? Studies show two groups do really well: conservative Protestants and Mormons; two groups that don't do well are mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics. Kenda Dean's new book is called Almost Christian: What the Faith of Ou

posted 12:01:53am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Let's Get Neanderthal!
The Cave Man Diet, or Paleo Diet, is getting attention. (Nothing is said about Culver's at all.) The big omission, I have to admit, is that those folks were hunters -- using spears or smacking some rabbit upside the conk or grabbing a fish or two with their hands ... but that's what makes this diet

posted 2:05:48pm Aug. 30, 2010 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.