There were times when David prayed for deliverance from trouble of his own making. When he knew it was because of his own sinful weakness and misguided actions (or lack of action) that he was in dire straits and needed some divine intervention. But, there were also times when David prayed for rescue, not from a circumstance of his own doing, but from a situation brought on only through the wicked determination of others. Such is the prayer of David recorded as Psalm 17.
David wasn’t pleading perfection, but in this situation he was clean. He could confidently (not arrogantly) declare his cause just before the LORD because He knew the Lord had examined his heart, visited him in the secret of night, refined him in the fire, and found nothing (vv. 1-2). And yet, he was surrounded by “deadly enemies” and was desperately in need of God’s protection. And so David called upon God to cover him, just as the pupil of the eye is covered by the eyelid, and to shield him “in the shadow of Your wings” (v.8).
But, like yesterday’s reminder of the difference doing life in a larger context makes, I’m noodling on how David’s cry to the God who is the “Savior of those who seek refuge” (v.7) ends up reflecting David’s confidence that He is also the God who will satisfy with His likeness.
As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness;
when I awake, I shall be satisfied with Your likeness.
(Psalm 17:15 ESV)
David remembers that the wicked who surrounded him were but “men of the world whose portion is in this life”. That what they represented was but the temporal, “filling their womb with treasure” only to “leave their abundance to their infants” (v.14).
But David’s mind was set on things beyond the temporal, on things eternal. So he says, “As for me, I shall behold Your face.” God, I will see Your countenance. Beyond the seeming futility of the fighting today, I am fueled by anticipation of the fullness I will encounter at a future day.
And then, anticipating that day when he would awake to what now he could only imagine, he says, “I shall be satisfied.” I will be filled. I will be overwhelmed. And that, with Your likeness.
As great as that place will be in that day, it will be Your presence, Lord, that takes my breath away. As much I long for reunion with those who have gone before, it will be the reflection of Your glory that will make today’s trials worth it all. While having put on immortality will be amazing, to fix my gaze on Your image will be awesome!
The bride eyes not her garment,
But her dear Bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory
But on my King of grace.
Not at the crown He giveth
But on His pierced hand;
The Lamb is all the glory
Of Emmanuel’s land.
(“The Sands of Time Are Sinking,” Ann Ross Cousin, 1834)
Because of that day which is sure to come, there is strength to enter into this day, however it will be.
And we call out to Him now in the time of trial, testing, and trouble, because of the confidence we have that what now is of faith, will one day be face to face.
Beloved, we are Gods children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.
(1John 3:2 ESV)
We shall behold Him.
And we will be satisfied, to unfathomable overflowing, with His likeness.
Because of His grace. All for His glory.