Psalm 17: In the Shadow of Your Wings

This one is a “Prayer of David” rather than a psalm. A lot of the psalms sound like prayers but I guess that’s not implicitly the case. This one is though.

Psalm 17

1Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry!
Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!
2From your presence let my vindication come!
Let your eyes behold the right!

3You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night,
you have tested me, and you will find nothing;
I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
4With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips
I have avoided the ways of the violent.
5My steps have held fast to your paths;
my feet have not slipped.

6I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my words.
7Wondrously showa your steadfast love,
O Savior of those who seek refuge
from their adversaries at your right hand.

8Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings,
9from the wicked who do me violence,
my deadly enemies who surround me.

10They close their hearts to pity;
with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
11They have now surrounded our steps;
they set their eyes to cast us to the ground.
12He is like a lion eager to tear,
as a young lion lurking in ambush.

13Arise, O LORD! Confront him, subdue him!
Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,
14from men by your hand, O LORD,
from men of the world whose portion is in this life.b
You fill their womb with treasure;c
they are satisfied with children,
and they leave their abundance to their infants.

15As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.

This one is another pretty sounding psalm from someone who may or may not be David himself that is sure of two things.

God is in his corner and absolutely will save him.

He’s doing everything right that God wants him to do.

Oh, how I wish I had that kind of certainty. I wish I could be sure that God will find nothing wrong with me or my character or my deeds. This sort of thing looks like it’s is well before the concept that we all have sin and that we all are only forgiven out of mercy.

I get why some people have issues with the idea that we are made imperfect and will “fall short” and all that, but I feel like they miss an important part of it. God doesn’t expect or want perfection. Even back here where I think a lot of it has to do with the heart being in the right place and the appropriate atonement being done for things when we do mess up (there just might be a whole slew of ways to make up for transgressions listed back in the first few books). The point is that we shouldn’t strive for perfection in all these rules. We aren’t perfect and we never will be. We’re just us and we should love ourselves and each other for just being ourselves rather than some unattainable perfection that it seems like everyone in the US tries to fool themselves into thinking we can be.

I know it’s not actually everyone but I am so sick of seeing poster that bash Christianity for teaching that we aren’t perfect and are actually prone to sin. The sentiment sounds accusational when it comes from some people’s mouths and when it enters some people’s ears but I have never felt like it was an accusation. I always felt like it was about accepting that we are just who we are and that perfect misses the point and striving for perfect is unnecessary. Maybe it’s just me….

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