David, the author of Psalm 17, is again being unjustly attacked by his enemies. He appeals to God for vindication. David declares his innocence, prays for God to protect him, asks God to confront his enemies, and confesses his confidence that one day he will see God’s face.
David also makes several contrasts between the way of life of his attackers and his own choice to walk God’s way. David resolves to keep his mouth from sin; his enemies speak with arrogance. David avoids violence; his enemies are like lions who track and hunt prey. David recognizes God’s provision in this life and looks forward to the great reward in the life to come in heaven where he will find ultimate satisfaction in seeing God’s face; his enemies have only their reward in this life.
The middle of Psalm 17 contains a beautiful prayer of trust in God’s protection.
I call on you, O God, for you will answer me;
give ear to me and hear my prayer.
Show the wonder of your great love,
you who save by your right hand
those who take refuge in you from their foes.
Keep* me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings (v. 6-8)
The psalms show us that attacks from enemies are not unusual events. They also provide the language we need to ask God for help.
Father, I call on you. I am confident you will answer. Your great, unfailing love is the wonder that sets your people apart. Show me your love today. You save those who take refuge in you. I will run to you when enemies attack. Build a protective hedge around me, watch carefully over me. Spread out your arms of protection to hide me from my enemies. I long for the day I will see your face. Amen.
*According to the ESV Key Word Study Bible, the word “keep” in Psalm 17:8 means “to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard…to protect…to watch carefully over…”