- Psalm 17
As I read Psalm 17 this morning, I was wondering if David’s recorded prayer to the Lord would be one of those moments where as we pray to God for justice from “cruel and evil people” — that God reveals something in ourselves that needs to be corrected in the heart of the prayer by a stirring of the Holy Spirit within us — and an awareness of those things we can control to improve the situation. Many times in my life, prayer does that — it shifts me from a paralyzed, victim mindset where I’m blaming others — into a purpose driven victor where I’m biased towards the action necessary to move forward.
But this Psalm 17 is either not one of those Psalms — or maybe this morning is not one of those mornings. There are healthy, mature, mountaintop moments in our Christian walk where we can say “declare me innocent” and it isn’t just because we are guilty yet again and calling to be washed by the Blood of the Lamb. We aren’t meant to be satisfied to always be walking in defiled garments and be victims who are powerless against things like temptation and pride. So it is encouraging that we can sometimes stand to declare ourselves innocent and not be lying through our teeth in the presence of a Holy God — but truly be saying, “Lord, I have done everything I possibly can myself. I really need you to help me with this.”
Yes, there is a balance and this should not become a narcissistic attitude of “I’m right and they are wrong” every day or every prayer — because that is clearly shallow and wrong hearted. But we also cannot be afraid to acknowledge that God is working in us through the power of the Holy Spirit so that we will walk upright and “Holy as He is Holy”.
The beautiful thing about the Living Word is that one morning, I might read this Psalm 17 and be convicted about how my lips weren’t honest and how I need to repent and make amends. Another morning, I might read this Psalm 17 and realize that someone I’m considering an enemy has simply offended me and I need to truly forgive them to release my heart from “the Bait of Satan”. Another morning, I might actually be at the end of my rope and need God to lay low a mountain that I can’t on my own. Isn’t that wonderful?
No matter where you are this morning, my friend, our goal should be to come to Him in prayer with honest lips. Listen to what we are saying when we are praying — and a humble prayer doesn’t have words lower than the truth in shame — nor higher than the truth in pride. That is worth repeating:
Let’s strive in our prayer life for honest lips, actively listening to ourselves introspectively and for the stirring of the Holy Spirit to reveal whether we are higher or lower in our understanding of the truth of our circumstances. And let’s do everything that we can to be actively upright, honest, kind, loving, and self-controlled — but also rest in peace and patience when our faith has us eagerly waiting for God to move. Amen.