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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Psalms 17

 

 

Verses 1-15

Psalms 17:1. Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.

Good men are often slandered and misunderstood; and, at such times, the first verse of this Psalm will well fit their lips: “Hear the right, O Lord.” And, at all times, it is a great blessing when a supplicant can say to God, “Give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.” It must be a dreadful thing to pray with lips that do not speak the truth. When men’s thoughts are far away from their prayers, and they are muttering pious words but their heart is absent, what a mockery it must be in the sight of God! A dead prayer, — who will own it? It is like the child that was overlaid in the days of Solomon, which neither of the two mothers would own to be hers, Beware of dead prayers. You may dress them up as finely as you like; but, if there is no life in them, what good are they?

Psalms 17:2. Let my sentence come forth from thy presence; let thine eyes behold the things that are equal.

It is the appeal of a slandered man to the highest court; he takes his case into the Court of King’s Bench, and asks God himself to give the verdict concerning what he had done. It is a good case that will bear to be so investigated.

Psalms 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.

Happy is the man who is not afraid for God to come to him suddenly in the night, or to pounce upon him, as it were, at any hour of the day, for, whenever he comes, he will find his servant so acting that he will not mind who examines his conduct. He is keeping his lip, purposing that it shall not transgress God’s law, and he is ruling his whole body in like manner. Only the grace of God can enable us to do this.

Psalms 17:4. Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.

Notice that verse, young man! There is much-needed teaching there for you. There are many “paths of the destroyer” in this wicked city of London, and all over the world; and it is only by taking heed to our ways, according to God’s Word, that we can hope to escape from them. How pleasant those “paths of the destroyer” often appear to be! How smooth and how alluring they are! All sorts of supposed delicacies and beauties will tempt you to go that way, and the foolish heart readily inclines to these indulgences; but happy is the man whose judgment is enlightened by God’s Word so that he avoids it, and passes by “the paths of the destroyer.”

Psalms 17:5. Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.

“I know that I am in thy way; but, O Lord, hold me up! I am like a horse that needs a careful driver, else I shall trip and fall, in rough places or in smooth, ‘Hold up my goings in thy paths,’ for I may fall even there. There are the sins of my holy things, so ‘hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.’”

Psalms 17:6-12. I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech. Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, from the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about.

They are enclosed in their own fat: with their mouth they speak proudly. They have now compassed us in our steps: they have set their eyes bowing down to the earth; like as a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places. Many godly men have such cruel enemies as David had, so they will do well to pray as he did: —

Psalms 17:13-15. Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword: from men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes. As for me,—

“What do I possess? What is my portion? Am I full of substance, like the men of the world, or have I little of this world’s wealth? It is of small consequence, for, ‘as for me,’” —

Psalms 17:15. I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

That is our portion. God grant that we may prize it more and more! Amen.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 17:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/psalms-17.html. 2011.

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