Praying for Justice

Today’s reading is Psalm 17, where David pours out his heart to God and asks for justice.

At first, this Psalm made me feel uncomfortable. David declaring his own righteousness seems somewhat contradictory to Ps 14:3 “there is no one who does good, not even one”. I also found verse 14 a bit confronting, when David asks God not only to rescue him from his enemies but also calls for their punishment and even punishment for their children and grandchildren.

Reading it again, and meditating on it, I realise that David is truly, as we read in 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22, a man after God’s own heart. Consider the way David prays.

He asks God to hear him, to examine his heart and test him. This is very courageous unless he is confident before God of his own innocence. He also asks God to provide justice and vindication, rather than enacting vengeance himself. He seeks refuge in God’s care rather than placing trust in his own strength or worldly treasures. Furthermore, the punishment David calls down is “what you have stored up for the wicked”. David asks no more than the justice which God already has in store for his enemies, those of this world whose reward is in this life, whom are unrepentant with callous hearts.

Yes, we know that David, though the best of Israel’s kings was also a flawed and imperfect king. Yet in this psalm, what may feel uncomfortable at first, actually shows a heart that yearns after righteousness and longs for God’s justice. He also has confidence even in the face of death, as we read in the last verse “As for me, I shall be vindicated and shall see your face; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with seeing your likeness.”

On this Easter Sunday morning, because of God’s perfect king, we can have the same confidence as David, that we shall see God’s face when we “awake”. May we yearn for God’s righteousness as David did, trust God for justice, and be satisfied with seeing His likeness.

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2 thoughts on “Praying for Justice

  1. Thanks James. Isn’t it a very good truth that we are fully righteous before God (v 1 & 15) because He sees us clothed in Jesus righteousness! Just as if we have never sinned.
    He is risen!

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