Beholding His Face in Psalm 17 as You Behold Brokenness

Beholding His Face in Psalm 17 as You Behold Brokenness

Loss forces you to behold brokenness. Justice is not seen, felt, or even fathomed. The death of a loved one is an up-close-and-personal experience with brokenness. You have a front row seat in a broken world. As it turns out, it doesn’t always happen to someone else. It happens to you, too.

“Hear a just cause, O Lord, attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer…Let your eyes behold the right. You have tried my heart…” Psalm 17:1-3

Sight can overwhelm faith, even though you know to walk by faith and not by sight. So, cry out to God. It’s the right thing to do. He hears and sees.

God is just. We should turn to him without any delay. He hears and gives heed to our cries. He tries all hearts, not simply other hearts. Our hearts are included, too. He is equitable in all his dealings. That should deliver confidence and fear. Depending on where you find your refuge.

“…you have tested me…I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress. …I have avoided the ways of the violent. My steps have held fast to Your paths. My feet have not slipped.” Psalm 17:3-5

God has tested David in this prayer song. Submitting to the testing, he is a changed man. He has committed himself not to transgress. He avoids violent paths and stays on God’s paths. “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8). David’s feet stand firm on a strong foundation as long as he humbly stays in the ways of the Lord.

“I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me, hear my words. Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand…” Psalm 17:6-7

David turns to God and not away from him. Let me repeat that important statement. David turns to God. He does not turn away. Instead, he calls on God by faith, and he proclaims that God will answer. By faith he asks God to hear him and pour out his love and kindness upon him. We are his people who take refuge in him.

David implores God to keep him shadowed, protected. The world is rampant with wicked and deadly enemies. The world closes their hearts. Humility is not in their mouths. Enemies encompass and intimidate like a lion lying in wait.

“Arise, O Lord! Confront him, subdue him! Deliver my soul…” Psalm 17:13

David turns to God to reinforce what by faith he already believes. He bolsters his faith. He calls on the Lord to confront the intimidating enemy. He asks for protection from the wicked man’s sword. David calls the wicked men those “…whose portion is in this life…” (Psalm 17:14). They are focused on today and whatever portion they can consume! Temporally driven. Eternally short-sighted. David calls on God to confront the enemy and deliver his soul.

Remember, the Lord is just. He hears. He defends. He justifies the repentant and destroys the wicked. David hides under the wings of the one who has chosen him. By faith, he will behold the righteous face of God. That beholding is faith-fueled sight. Already but not yet. He may die, but he will be like the God he beholds when he rises.

”Many see only the seen and lose heart.” S. D. Gordon, Quiet Talks on Prayer

Beholding loss is inevitable. Do not lose heart. Choose to behold his face and cry out to him.

“As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.” Psalm 17:15


  1. Barbara Johbson

    Continuing to bless me with your wise words 2 1/2 years after the sudden loss of my sweet husband.
    Barbara Johnson

    • D. Ray Davis

      Barbara, I am so glad to hear you are walking faithfully. Press on.

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