I call to you, God, because I’m sure of an answer.
So—answer! bend your ear! listen sharp!
Paint grace-graffiti on the fences;
take in your frightened children who
Are running from the neighborhood bullies
straight to you. (Psalm 17:6-7)
David often found himself under attack. Rather than comfortably lifting up prayers in a plush temple sanctuary, he called on God from the trenches on behalf of troops faithful but frightened. The only One to whom they could run for protection was God. And God was just the one to save them. Still, they longed for assurance.
Keep your eye on me;
hide me under your cool wing feathers
From the wicked who are out to get me,
from mortal enemies closing in.
Their hearts are hard as nails,
their mouths blast hot air.
They are after me, nipping my heels,
determined to bring me down,
Lions ready to rip me apart,
young lions poised to pounce.
Up, God: beard them! break them!
By your sword, free me from their clutches;
Barehanded, God, break these mortals,
these flat-earth people who can’t think beyond today. (Psalm 17:8-13)
David and his troops size up their enemies and find them to be cruel and determined to destroy, like lions poised to pounce. It is not a fair fight. On their own, Israel would be obliterated. But they are not alone. With just a word, God can break these enemies barehanded. Indeed, it is not a fair fight.
After taking a moment to daydream about his enemies’ fate (“their bellies swollen with famine food”), David gets to the heart of his desire.
And me? I plan on looking
you full in the face. When I get up,
I’ll see your full stature
and live heaven on earth. (Psalm 17:15)
This is our best aim when we are under attack and call out to God in prayer. Not that we would be protected so we can become self-absorbed in our own desires and comfort, but so we can pour out our lives as Christ did. God rescues us not for a life of leisure but a life of service. Heaven on earth is not a state of getting everything we want, but being all we can be for the glory of God.
“Winter Glory.” from Debbie Yearsley Davidson
(Bible quotations taken from The Message)