July 1st Psalm 17
A Prayer of David
1: Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips. 2: Let my sentence come forth from thy presence; let thine eyes behold the things that are equal. 3: Thou has proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou has tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. 4: Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer. 5: Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not. 6: I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech. 7: Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them. 8: Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, 9: From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about. 10: They are inclosed in their own fat: with their mouth they speak proudly. 11: They 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. 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. 15: As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
To the chief musician
A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD who spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. And he said…
1: I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. 2: The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. 3: I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. 4: The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. 5: The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. 6: In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. 7: Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth. 8: There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. 9: He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet. 10: And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. 11: He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. 12: At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire. 13: The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire. 14: Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them. 15: Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils. 16: He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. 17: He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. 18: They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. 19: He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me. 20: The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. 21: For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. 22: For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me. 23: I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity. 24: Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight. 25: With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; 26: With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward. 27: For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks. 28: For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. 29: For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall. 30: As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. 31: For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God? 32: It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. 33: He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places. 34: He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. 35: Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great. 36: Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip. 37: I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed. 38: I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet. 39: For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. 40: Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me. 41: They cried, but there was none to save them: even unto the LORD, but he answered them not. 42: Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets. 43: Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; and thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me. 44: As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me. 45: The strangers shall fade away, and be afraid out of their close places. 46: The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. 47: It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me. 48: He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man. 49: Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name. 50: Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.
To the chief musician,
Today we are reading two larger Psalms 17 and 18 both of which were written by David. In Psalm 17 he asks that the Lord will hear his righteous prayer. He says hear me because you have tried me and found me to be upright before you. I am determined not to sin with my mouth. Please do not let me slip. Hold me up. I know that you will hear my prayer. Show me your loving kindness. You save those who trust in you. Keep me safe like a choice apple. Hide me under your wing like a chick. Hide me from my deadly enemies who surround me. They are full of their own importance and full of boasting. They crouch like a lion about to spring and like a young lion lurking in the long grass. Arise O Lord and frustrate them, throw them out and save my soul from the wicked who come against me with arms. They are men of the world and they have their place in this life, filling themselves with the fruit of the field. They have lots of children and leave all their wealth to their offspring. But as for me l will see your face in righteousness and l will be satisfied when l awake in your likeness. It seems that David is contrasting the future of his enemies and of himself. He says of them that they eat, drink, have children and die, leaving all their wealth behind. And l will die too. But after that l will be raised from the dead to see the glory of the Lord face to face and to live in resurrection like him. In Psalm 18 David composes this song after his deliverance from all those who sought his life. It is the most beautiful Psalm. He begins, l will love you O LORD my strength. He says to the Lord you are my rock (a place of shelter from the heat) my fortress (a place of defence against my enemies) My deliverer (a Saviour in the midst of battle) My God (the object of my devotion) My strength (the life force of by moments) in you l will trust. You are my buckler (a small shield used to defect blows from the enemy) the horn of my salvation (the rallying call of those who will come to my aid) my high tower (the place where the enemy just cannot reach me.) So says David l will call on the Lord and he will save me from my enemies. The sorrows of death surround me and a flood of ungodly men overwhelms me to make me fearful. The fear of the grave surrounds me and the death snares make me stand still. In my distress l called on the LORD and he heard my voice and it came right up to his ears. Then he answered me in an earthquake. The mountains shook at his anger. He brought smoke, fire and atmospheric conditions to protect me. He rode an angel and the wind to my aid. And so David goes on and on in the most beautiful poetic phrases. He made darkness his secret place etc etc. He rained hail and brimstone on my enemies. He thundered in the sky. He filled the sky with lightening bolts to frighten them. Then the waters broke over them in torrential rain and floods but you delivered me from the waters. The Lord delivered me from my enemies that were too strong for me. They attacked me in the day of my distresses but the Lord supported me. He brought me out of the narrow place into a wide place of safety because he delighted in me. The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness. (This shows the character of David’s relation to the Lord under law. His relationship was a reward based on his faithfulness whereas our relationship is Grace not Law. And we receive salvation and live in fellowship on the basis of his righteousness. David’s blessing was a reward but ours is a gift.) David says because l have kept my hands clean he has paid me back. (This is pure law and nothing to do with Grace). David says l have kept the law and not forsaken the Lord. I kept all the law (and this was the basis of his spiritual life). He says the Lord has paid me back for all my righteous living (There is no Grace here!) David explains what it is like to live under law. He says the Lord is merciful to the merciful. He is upright to the upright. He is pure toward the pure but to the arrogant he is arrogant. The Lord will light my candle in the darkness. For you l have run through the enemy troops and for God l have leaped over the wall to face the enemy. The path of the Lord is perfect and his word is proven to be true. He is the shield carrier of all those who trust in him. Who is God but the LORD? Who is a rock but our God? God makes me strong and leads my path. He makes me to run like a swift deer and sets me on high crags. He teaches me to fight so that indestructible weapons set against me are shattered. You have protected me by your deliverance and you right hand supports me. You have made me great by your gentleness. You have made me surefooted so that l don’t slip. You have made me to chase and completely overcome my enemies. They are wounded and will not rise up from the field of battle. They fall at my feet. You have strengthened me for the battle. And you have subdued all those who rose up against me. Those that hate me are totally destroyed. They called for help but no-one came to rescue them. Even the Lord did not help them. I totally destroyed them grinding them into the dust. You have made me king of even the gentiles who did not know me. The LORD liveth and he will be blessed because he is my rock and my salvation. God avenges me and conquers all my enemies. You have delivered me from the murderer. Therefore l will give thanks to you O Lord even among the heathen and there I will sing praises to your name. He has given to me a great deliverance and showed mercy to his anointed King David and to his offspring forever. This Psalm also has a prophetic note in which David’s persecution and rejection and eventual victory over all his enemies is like a parable of Christ and his rejection and victory over all his enemies.