Using My Righteousness to Negotiate with God
Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry!
Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!
From your presence let my vindication come! Let your eyes behold the right!
You 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.
With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent.
My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped.
Psalms 17:1-5 ESV Read More
How do you pray a prayer like this when you feel like a dirtbag sinner?
Have you ever met someone for the first time and thought, “Man, this is one old wise and holy guy!” You can tell some people have been walking with the Lord for a long time. They have the scars to show the struggles they have been through. They have the wisdom and grace of somebody that has seen it all and they have insight from God’s perspective.
You really get to know those kind of people when you have a chance to pray with them. If you were praying with David after he had killed Goliath, played music to relieve the king of an evil spirit, then fled with him into the rocks of the desert of Ziph, you wouldn’t argue with this prayer.
He has tried and tried to follow the Lord and it has not always brought riches, honor, and comfort.
While we can’t demand God listen to us because of our righteousness, we can have sympathy for the people that are confused about why a loving God would let such awful things happen. Let’s not pray that they’d see their unrighteousness, but that they would see and marvel at the righteous wisdom of God. Pray that they’d see God’s love through the injustice they see and experience.
We know, of course, how this kind of prayer ended with Jesus. God answered and brought vindication. A vindication that is still being played out as we learn how to pray these psalms.