As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness. (Psalms 17:15)
Most of us are very well acquainted with King David who is one of the Bible’s most prominent characters. Throughout the Old Testament, there are multiple prophecies that speak of a coming kingdom in which the great Messiah will sit on the throne of David to rule in perfect righteousness. The New Testament reveals Jesus as this great king who came from the household and lineage of David. We are well familiar with these prophecies as we have spoken of them often while studying the Gospel of Matthew.
Perhaps we may be somewhat perplexed by David because we also know of David’s great struggles with sin. In many sermons I mention the terrible sin that David committed with Bathsheba and then the subsequent cover-up in which David had her husband Uriah murdered. How is it possible these terrible sins could mesh with the promise that God would establish David’s throne forever? The answer lies in God’s grace. God graciously forgives the repentant sinner. No matter what you have done, if you humbly kneel before God and confess your sins and repent of them, God will forgive you.
In Psalm 17, we do not see David’s sins. Instead, we see David maintaining his integrity before God, insisting he loved the Lord and depended upon Him for protection. Even though David knew he was often guilty of sin, this was a time when he was aware of forgiveness and could claim the comfort of renewed fellowship. Psalm 17 is just a remarkable piece of poetry that shows David’s complete confidence in God and his hope that when this life is over he would meet the Lord face to face.
There are several verses in this Psalm that are particularly impressive. Among these are verses 3, 8, and 15. David said in verse 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.” This was a time that David was determined that sin should not reign in him. He invited the Lord to examine him and search for any fault that could be found. He was confident there was no sin that could be discovered. This makes me wonder how many of us would do the same. Many of us have open sins and many more have secret sins. Could we make the same claim as David with confidence and be sure the Lord would find nothing but righteousness?
In verse 8, he said: “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.” This shows David knew his relationship with the Lord. God’s love for him surpassed all human love. Describing it required the sweetest prose that could be written.
Verse 15 says: “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” How often this theme is repeated in scripture. The hope of the Christian is that one day we shall see God. From Job, one of the most ancient of Bible characters who said, “And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” to John the last living apostle who wrote, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is,” this has been the hope of all believers that fully trust in Jehovah God. Notice the correlation of David’s words with John’s. David: “I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.” John: “We shall be like him; for we shall see him as is.”
I encourage you to read the 17th Psalm carefully with serious contemplation. When you are faced with trying circumstances, pray that you will see God as David saw Him. Whenever your heart is right as David’s was, you can come boldly to the throne of grace and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:16).
Pastor V. Mark Smith