“Uphold my steps in Your paths, that my footsteps may not slip. I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God; incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech. Show Your marvelous lovingkindness by Your right hand, O You who save those who trust in You from those who rise up against them.” Psalm 17:5–7
Right now someone is suffering. Perhaps they’ve been in a terrible accident. Perhaps they’re suffering from cancer, or another equally painful and life threatening condition. Perhaps they’re a police officer or soldier whose been called upon to place themselves in harms way and now they’re fighting for their lives.
I could go on listing difficult, painful, and potentially fatal situations people find themselves in but I think I’ve listed enough to bring today’s lesson home to each of us.
In Psalm 17 David is praying for God to save him from the attacks of his enemies. But David isn’t merely asking for God to preserve his life and health. He seems to understand that there’s more at stake here than injury and death.
“Uphold my steps in Your paths, that my footsteps may not slip.” These words from Psalm 17:5 are clearly metaphorical. David understands that the Lord is everyday leading him to place greater and still greater trust in God, and to daily give to God a more faithful and obedient offering of service. And David realizes that as each attack places him more deeply in danger of losing his life he’s also being placed in proportionately greater danger of losing his faith. David realizes that the loss of faith would be more disastrous than to lose his life.
The last three verses of the psalm demonstrate the truth of my last statement. David compares his hope with that of the men of the world that are attacking him. Their goal is to prosper themselves in this life and leave a legacy to the next generation. That’s what’s meant by the words, “They are satisfied with children, and leave the rest of their possession for their babes.”
But David’s hope isn’t in a generation that will follow him. He’s not worried about dying because he’s trusting himself to the Lord and to the promise of the resurrection. A resurrection in which he not only lives again but will have been transformed into the likeness of God. Listen to what he says in the final verse, “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.”