S182P2 – Characters in the Psalms: the humble seeker

Psa. 17:1-3

Hear a just cause, O Lord, attend to my cry; give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips.  Let my vindication come from Your presence; let Your eyes look on the things that are upright.  You have tested my heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me and have found nothing; I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.

After sinning, Adam’s and Eve’s first interaction with God was a game of hide-and-seek.  He went looking for them, and they tried to evade him.  This new thing called sin brought them shame and made them want to hide from his view.  That was my same response toward my father whenever I did something wrong as a child.  Often, my mother would tell me to wait until my father came home, and I would decide that I had to disappear.  I did not want to face him in my disobedience.  I did not want to seek his help, although I certainly needed it.  I really thought that I somehow could get away with just not seeing him at all, but common sense should have told me otherwise.  I knew when he saw me that he would know what I had done.

David’s prayer to God here is the prayer of a desperate man.  He really needed the Lord’s help, so he went before him to seek it.  The interesting thing is that David was not afraid to be seen by God.  They had interacted previously, and that interaction showed David to be pure at least in the words of his lips.  David here was telling God that his prayer did not come from the same tongue that cursed or defied that very God.  David’s humble heart was one that invited God to search it and know it, and that can be done only by one who is confident to stand before the Lord.  We know that this confidence cannot come from ourselves because we have no good standing before God.  What we have, however, is the cloak of Christ’s righteousness.

We are able to purge ourselves of all impurity, all malice, deceit, unkindness and every other kind of sin through repentance.  When we approach the Lord in prayer, we have two options.  We can approach him as we are without looking inwardly, not addressing any outstanding sin that could hinder the effectiveness of our prayers.  The other approach is to look at ourselves first and seek from God the forgiveness we need for any transgressions.  Then, we are able to approach him purely with our petitions.  This purification is available and necessary for our prayers to be effective.  Father, have your Spirit remind us to examine ourselves first and purify ourselves through repentance so that we can seek You transparently in confidence.