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Jesus Creed

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.

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