The last time we looked at Psalm 17 we saw David was being attacked by men who were falsely accusing him. He turns to the Lord for his defense and does not lash out at those who are attacking him. We pick up today in verse 7.
A prayer for mercy
David cries out to God for His love and mercy to be poured out on him. He knows that God saves those who believe in Him, clearly showing salvation by faith in the Old Testament. He wants to be the “apple” of God’s eye. In Hebrew it is literally the “little man” in God’s eye. In other words he wants to be so close to God and God to be so focused on him that David can see his reflection in God’s pupil. He asks for God to cover him and protect him from those who have surrounded him to harm him.
The wicked described
David now describes the wicked who are oppressing him. He speaks of their hearts being enclosed in fat; this means that they have no feelings. Just as fat insulates, so they have insulated their hearts from feelings of guilt or compassion. They are also arrogant and boastful. They have surrounded David; everywhere David turns he is attacked. David describes the wicked as having their eyes bowed to the earth. This is probably in reference to the idea of a hunter tracking his prey. Like a lion who is fixed on his prey, so these men pursue David. He does not know when they will spring out and attack him.
The end of the wicked and the righteous
David knows that God will bring about his own good and bring about justice on the wicked. He prays for God to bring disappointment to the wicked. In doing so he says something of extreme importance; the wicked are God’s sword and God’s hand. In other words, the wicked are going to be used by God for His own purposes. All evil that they do God will use for our good. Just as the fire is used to refine gold, so God will use the wicked for David’s advantage.
David now contrasts the wicked and the righteous. The wicked will have good in this life. The world and the present time is their portion. They will have many possessions and their children will have plenty. However, this is all they receive. The righteous receive God Himself. They are conformed to His image and given an eternal dwelling within His presence.
What are you seeking, this life and the things of the world or conformity to Christ and the presence of God?
Do you see the hand of God’s providence even in the midst of your trials?
Do you trust Jesus Christ?