Psalm 17


David is clinging to God in his time of desperation, and requesting again that God would vindicate him. David believes himself to be just and righteous. He explains the ways in which he has held fast to God, “avoided the ways of the violent” (v. 4b), and he does not desire the wealth of the world. He is satisfied with God alone.


The Psalmist—David, the Lord, my heart, my mouth, man, the violent, those who seek refuge from their adversaries, the wicked, my deadly enemies, my soul, and men of the world.

Key Verse

Verse 15 “As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.”

Cross References

I love cross references sometimes. Today I started reading the one verse in Job cross referenced, and I ended up reading the whole chapter, it has some good stuff that goes right along with our study of how man is depraved and no one is righteous, not even Job. We all need to repent first, whether we know we did something or not. Also, this passage talks about having a mediator to keep our souls out of the pit of death. Jesus is right there in the very first book of the Bible ever written!

Job 33:22-30 “[Man’s] soul draws near the pit, and his life to those who bring death. If there be for him an angel, a mediator, one of the thousand, to declare to man what is right for him, and he is merciful to him, and says, ‘Deliver him from going down into the pit; I have found a ransom; let his flesh become fresh with youth; let him return to the days of his youthful vigor’; then man prays to God, and he accepts him; he sees his face with a shout of joy, and he restores to man his righteousness. He sings before men and says: ‘I sinned and perverted what was right and it was not repaid to me. He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light.’ “Behold, God does all these things, twice, three times, with a man, to bring back his soul from the pit, that he may be lighted with the light of life.”

1 John 2:28-3:3 “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”

Psalm 11:7 “For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.”

Isaiah 26:19 “Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead.”

Daniel 12:2-3 “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”

Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”


    I couldn’t resist drawing attention to the passage in Job right away, but the others are just as powerful. I hope you took the time to read them fully. The references to Psalms we have already read are awesome because we know the context and can remember them or look back in our notes to the connections. It is also fascinating to see Jesus being prophecied in the Old Testament. While I know it is there, I have not studied it much, so reading these prophecies is exciting. I get to know the One they are prophesying about. I am a part of the redemption that is hoped for in all the Old Testament since the Fall! The Cosmic Drama is amazing and full and so intricate! The 1 John passage reminds us that we are not righteous enough to claim no sin before God, but Jesus is that mediator Job discussed, so we get to claim it and sing before men as we realize the great cost Christ paid for us, that we may rise each morning to greet Him, that we are not punished for our terrible sins.

Jesus in the Psalm

    David had a special relationship with the Father that became a reality for all to have with Jesus Christ. Jesus is the manifestation of all those prophecies of judgment of sinners and “refuge for the spiritually oppressed”*.

1 John 1:1-3, 5-10 “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our own eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ…This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

In all the Psalms to this point we have talked about the need to repent, which comes from recognizing we will never reach the bar. Even Job who God says is a righteous man needed to repent, even David an innocent refugee needed to repent. We already sinned once, and that was enough to keep us out of Heaven. But we have that mediator talked about in Job, so we can have confidence and satisfaction and assurance of our place in Heaven. “No matter how miserable the fight here and now, one look at Christ’s face will one day make it all worthwhile”*

Revelation 21:22-22:4 “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.”

What a wonderful place we are going to!

Tomorrow: Psalm 18

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

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2 thoughts on “Psalm 17

  1. I too thought immediately of Job. Like all of us who have ever suffered and wondered where God is/was during all of it, “standing fast” and keeping our balance on His path (“My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped. (‭Psalm‬ ‭17‬:‭5‬ ESV) seems to give rise to understanding or awareness not previously experienced.

    I am becoming more and more conscious of the unavoidable nature of destruction that this world is. There is no way out, but for death! This also helps me to develop more understanding and appreciation for the gift of Life which is not for the dust, but is for the soul.

    (“A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” (‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭7‬:‭1-4, 8‬ ESV)

    This is on my mind.

    Just as with David the King all the way to little David my Godson, Jesus hangs out with me too throughout all of this: the celebration, the suffering, and everything in-between. I think the following in Proverbs fits so well:

    “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” (‭Proverbs‬ ‭3‬:‭1-12‬ ESV)

    God bless us all.

    • So true! Thank you for these references, they are great. We need these verses to remind us to prepare for the tough times when things are easy, and to cling to when things are hard, as they are now. We miss you guys! Just 3 1/2 more months until we get to see you!

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