Psalm 17

O Lord, hear my plea for justice. Listen to my cry for help. Pay attention to my prayer, for it comes from honest lips. Declare me innocent, for you see those who do right.

You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night. You have scrutinized me and found nothing wrong. I am determined not to sin in what I say. I have followed your commands, which keep me from following cruel and evil people. My steps have stayed on your path; I have not wavered from following you.

I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies. Guard me as you would guard your own eyes. Hide me in the shadow of your wings. Protect me from wicked people who attack me, from murderous enemies who surround me. 10 They are without pity. Listen to their boasting! 11 They track me down and surround me, watching for the chance to throw me to the ground. 12 They are like hungry lions, eager to tear me apart— like young lions hiding in ambush. 13 Arise, O Lord! Stand against them, and bring them to their knees! Rescue me from the wicked with your sword! 14 By the power of your hand, O Lord, destroy those who look to this world for their reward. But satisfy the hunger of your treasured ones. May their children have plenty, leaving an inheritance for their descendants. 15 Because I am righteous, I will see you. When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied.

David is not afraid to say it how he sees it. He is brutally honest in the Psalms. He doesn’t hold back from cataloguing just how awful things are and how wretched he feels about them. Yet he’s also unstinting in his praise of God. His relationship with his maker seems to be such that he really experiences His presence and help in those moments of pain and distress. As we approach Christmas and perhaps a break from work and routine, can you carve out some time to reflect on the last term – the joys and the challenges, the ways you felt about it all and your experience of God in the midst of all of that.

Questions for thought and discussion…

  • In light of your reflections, how might you record God’s presence in the events of the term just passed?
  • How might you facilitate your young people in a process of review and reflection?