Psalm 17:8 “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,”
“Teacher’s pet.” is one of the kinder words spoken by young children when one of their fellow students is praised and asked to do special favors. As we grow and mature beyond those years, we realize and recognize that being in the favor of those who lead and those who influence can be very beneficial – especially if they are the ones signing your paycheck.
My reading today, brought me through four psalms that were written when Saul was chasing David. He spoke more of his relationship with God than he did asking God to take care of his enemies.
Specifically, Psalms 17, 35, 54, and 63 speak to David’s state of mind and heart during a very trying time in his life. By this time, David had won many great victories. He slew Goliath and put the Philistines to flight many times to the place that upon his arrival back from war, they sang his praises how he slew his tens of thousands.
Yet, his reliance was not on the strength of his arm, the honed mind that knew battle strategies, or even the mighty men that had joined with him. David seemed to have a laser focus on the fact that God was over all and would lead, guide and protect him – whatever he would face.
His focus, and I believe made him a ‘man after God’s own heart’, was the openness, honesty and transparency that he had in his relationship with God. He said:
Psalm 17:3 “Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.”
Not only did David seek for a right relationship with God, his perspective on those who sought to kill him was different than you might think:
Psalm 35:13-14 “But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.”
One of the harder commands of the Bible:
Matthew 5:43-45 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
In all that David had faced up until this point, he wanted more than anything the favor of His God to be upon him.
Psalm 30:5 “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
I asked myself;
“What have I done and what is there in my life that would cause God to show me favor?”
Be very careful when examining yourself. Our enemy, Satan, LOVES for us to think upon our failures. When we do, he picks them up and uses them as a sledgehammer to try to get us to see how unworthy we are because we do not measure up. Unless his attacks are stopped, we will be bombarded into thinking we are worthless.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. Jesus did not die on the cross for that which He thought worthless. He knew what He was getting when He began. He also knew what we could become once we received Him as Savior.
The faith needed to combat those thoughts are our shield to be lifted first in our hearts to bolster our faith. First, to dispel the voice that speaks of our sins and our failures and then, we must renew in our hearts just who we are in Christ! Once saved, my sins are gone! Buried in the deepest sea, as far as the east is from the west, behind His back and most wonderfully – He chooses to remember them no more!
David had a perspective that many miss. When he stood before Goliath and saw this giant of a man; a man that caused the whole army of Israel to cower in fear and refrain from putting forth a champion to face him. David saw him in light of how big God was in his eyes. God had already proved Himself to David in delivering him from the lion and the bear.
David reveals his heart in this verse:
Psalm 17:15 “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”
Paul, the apostle shared the same:
Philippians 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;”
What brought these men into such favor with God? How could they be so mightily used of God? After David sinned with Bathsheba, he realized just where the problem began.
Psalm 51:6 “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.”
Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
Psalm 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
Favor returned unto David when he was broken. He missed the sweetness of the fellowship, the answered prayers, the power, the presence and the protection that only God could supply. His heart cried out; ‘Whatever it takes for me to return to being in your favor…’
David and all of Israel suffered much because of the sins he committed. But he was willing to put it all on the altar so that he could get that ‘connectedness’ back. David knew that once his relationship with God was right that peace would return, prayers would be answered, power would be given and protection would be there when he asked.
Today, may you and I return to that place of favor with God. It is a place of blessing, a place of power and protection, of love and peace, of mercy and grace.
Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”