Today, we will begin our study of Psalm 17. Please read that now.
There are six parts to this beautiful Psalm, which are all intricately interwoven: (1) David begins by pleading with God to hear his prayer (v.1-2); (2) then he looks back on God’s vindication of David (v.3-5); before (3) again pleading for God to hear his prayer (v.6); (4) He makes a request for protection from his enemies (v.7-12); then (5) he makes a second request for God to attack his enemies (v.13-14); before finally (6) resigning himself to contentment with whatever God chooses.
Today, we will begin our study of Psalm 17 by looking at the first and third parts of this Psalm: David’s pleas for God to hear his prayer (Please re-read verses 1-2, and 6).
As a father of three children, I find that it is sometimes difficult to drown out the noise. My children love me, so they are constantly vying for my attention. If I don’t listen the first time, they will repeat themselves, again… and again… and again… until I finally give them my focus. My son especially has learned that, if he doesn’t get the desired response when telling me a long story, he will simply start over and tell me again!
The persistence of children can sometimes be frustrating for a parent, but it is also a reminder of how much our children love us, respect us, and want our approval; and how much they need us to provide for their every emotional, spiritual and physical need. When I think back on the persistence of my children, it brings a smile to my face and reminds me how precious they are.
That is the kind of persistence that God desires from us. As children of God, we too love and respect God and desperately want His approval; we too desperately need God to provide for our every emotional, spiritual, and physical need. So we must demonstrate this through persistence in prayer.
When you look at how David’s prayer begins in verse 1 of Psalm 17, he asks for God to hear his prayer 3 times! “Hear,” “attend,” “give ear!” In verse 2 he then pleas for God to vindicate him and behold what is right. David goes on to remind himself of how God has justly judged him in the past, but down in verse 6 he again calls upon God.
Like a child, he pleads for God’s answer, and begs God to mute the TV, and “incline your ear to me; hear my words.” You can feel the childish impulse as David is essentially using large words and phrases to describe the desire of his heart, which is simply crying out, “Dad, Dad, Dad, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, listen to me!”
Any parent who has heard these cries has experienced the frustration that can sometimes accompany them. Parents of young children so desperately want that moment of rest, and we crave the blessing of silence that comes after all the children are asleep. But parents of teenagers look back on those times when their children were young with fond memories. And parents whose children have all grown and left the house will find themselves sitting by the phone, yearning for their child to once again call on them with the persistence of when they were young. Once the child has grown and left the house, we begin to realize that their persistent cries were just their special way of showing us how much they love us, respect, us, and need us.
God, who sees the end and the beginning at the same time, hears the cries of His children, and knows what they represent. God longs for His children to be persistent in our prayers to Him. God longs for us to cry to Him over and over again regarding those petitions that are truly important to us. God wants us to pray to Him like we really mean it; like we really love Him, respect Him, and need Him.
So, let us imitate David and be persistent in our prayers. Let us call out to God again and again regarding those things that are truly important to us. Don’t worry about being repetitive. Don’t worry that this is insignificant compared to the larger issues in the world. Our Heavenly Father wants to hear the pleas of His children.
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