Briefing: The men involved in the struggle for American independence and those who wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776 were not free from England at the time. Prior to winning their independence and at the risk of being arrested and facing a firing squad, Patrick Henry declared, “Give me liberty or give me death!”
Dispatch (Assignment): Read Psalm 17.
On the Street: David starts this psalm with an opening remark of honesty and sincerity. David talked to God like He was in the room with him. David did not address God like we would a superior officer. There was no sucking up and toeing the company line. David makes it clear that he is going to tell God how he feels. I don’t think you could get away with that at work. David is modeling the kind of relationship with God that we all need to have.
Verse 5 shows David’s intentional persistence in staying true to the character God expects of him. He says, “My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not slipped.” Sometimes it is not easy to stay on the path when people are throwing rocks at you. Sometimes you want to take a detour and go after those who persecute you and say all kinds of evil about you. Romans 12:19 says, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.” Not just revenge but every distraction you face while on this path will be taken care of by God. Psalm 23 says, “He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.” There are all kinds of other paths that lead in all kinds of directions but we are called to stay on the path of truth. It is like a compass, there is only one true north.
When a person finds themselves in need of assistance for themselves or someone else they call 911. They know that when they call 911 they will receive the help they need. If people did not believe they would receive help when they called 911 they would look elsewhere for help. They trust and believe in the 911 system. David says in verse 6, “I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer.” David had a help that was better than 911. When David called for help the person on the other end of the line was not a random operator, it was David’s Lord and Savior.
Verses 9-12 show David for the man of courage he was. David was only courageous because he knew he could count on God to save and deliver him. It may sound like David wants to run and hide, and he does, but he musters up faith and courage in God and goes out to win the battle. David could stay on the path, hold his position and not let his feet slip because he knew when he made the call for help, God would be listening.
David makes it clear this battle is not against others who believe in God. He describes them as men of this world. Christians, on the other hand, are not of this world. Jesus said in John, 17:14, “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.” David goes on to say these men’s reward was in this life. The Christian’s reward is not in this life but the life to come. In Matthew 6:20 Jesus tells us, “But store up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” In one verse, David gives a great illustration of the anti-Christian.
David is in the midst of suffering and pain. Even while dealing with the affliction and persecution, he holds his position. He is standing strong on his faith in God. In the last verse, we read the climax of this psalm. David has built up to this loud declaration, “And I in righteousness I will see your face: when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.” David is satisfied with leaving this earth and getting his reward in heaven. That is trust in God.
Investigational Resources: Philippians 1:18-26, Galatians 2:19.
Officer Safety Principle: What is your declaration?
from Psalms Through the Eyes of a Cop, Volume 1
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
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