The context of David’s prayer in Psalm 17 is a plea for deliverance from his enemies. What I’m chewing on this morning, though, is the contrast between their over-arching purpose in life and the psalmist’s over-riding prospect.
Arise, O LORD! Confront him, subdue him! Deliver my soul from the wicked by Your sword, from men by Your hand, O LORD, from men of the world whose portion is in this life. You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants.
As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with Your likeness.
(Psalm 17:13-15 ESV)
Men of the world whose portion is in this life. Men who look to this world for their reward (NLT). Flat-earth people who can’t think beyond today (MSG).
David says it’s what drove those who closed “their hearts to pity” and compelled their mouths to “speak arrogantly” (v.10). It’s what sourced “the ways of the violent” (v.4b), fueling within them the spirit of “a lion eager to tear”, priming the instinct of “a young lion lurking in ambush” (v.12). And for what purpose? To get their portion in this life. To get what they can while they can.
Whether treasure seeking, pleasure seeking, or attention seeking, when the heart is convinced that this life is its one shot to get what it deserves, then beware the behaviors potentially spawned from such a view of life’s purpose.
But when life is lived with the prospect of beholding the face of God in righteousness, when the day is begun waking with the expectation of being fully satisfied by experiencing His presence, then life’s purpose is not tied to this world but a world yet to come. The prize that compels us to run well the race before us today shifts — less about something actualized in this life, all about something anticipated in life after this life.
If our treasures are being stored up in heaven, then our hearts will be set on heavenly things (Matt. 6:21). If our greatest joy is the prospect of beholding the face of God, then our pleasures will be realized through that which nurtures the righteousness God has credited to our accounts by faith (Matt. 5:6, Rom. 14:17). If we expect that our sufficiency will only be found in the One who created us in His likeness (Gen 1:26), then to bear His likeness (Rom. 8:29), even as we anticipate a day when we will be face to face with His likeness (1Cor. 13:12), will satisfy every longing and need.
Thinking this morning that our purpose is tied to our prospect. That because one day we will awake to behold His face, that this morning we can awake to be satisfied with His likeness.
By His grace. For His glory.