God Hears When You Call
Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit.
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words. – Psalm 17:1,6 (ESV)
There was once a pastor who had a little five-year-old daughter. Now the little girl noticed that every time her dad stood behind the pulpit and was getting ready to preach he would bow his head for a moment before he began to preach. The little girl noticed that he did this every time. So, one day after the service the little girl when to her dad and asked him, “Why do you bow your head right before you preach your sermon?” “Well Honey” the preacher answered, “I am asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon.” The little girl looked up at her father and asked, “Then how come he doesn’t do it?”
In Psalm 17:1, David pleaded with God to hear his prayer. Pastor Charles Spurgeon wrote, “A cry is our earliest utterance and, in many ways, the most natural of human sounds; if our prayer should like the infant’s cry be more natural than intelligent, and more earnest than elegant, it will be none the less eloquent with God. There is a mighty power in a child’s cry to prevail with a parent’s heart.” (Spurgeon) In Psalm 17:6, David expressed his assurance that God would hear his prayer. This week Pastor Jim answered the question, “Does God Hear My prayers?” and assured us that God does in fact hear our prayers.
When is the last time you believe God answered one of your prayers? When is the last time you felt like God didn’t answer one of your prayers?
Thank God for always hearing your prayers. Cry out to God about any concerns you have about your life.
God Knows What You Need
From men by your hand, O Lord, from men of the world whose portion is in this life. You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants. – Psalm 17:14 (ESV)
There was a pastor who had a parrot. All the parrot would say was, “Let’s pray, let’s pray.” The pastor tried to teach him to say other things but to no avail. He learned that one of his deacons had a parrot. The parrot would only say, “Let’s cuddle. Let’s cuddle.” So the pastor decided to invite the deacon and his parrot over to his house. When the deacon arrived, they put the parrots into the same cage to see what would happen. The deacon’s parrot said, “Let’s cuddle, let’s cuddle.” The pastor’s parrot said, “Thank you, Lord. My prayers have been answered.” There’s great power in prayer.
Much of David’s focus in Psalm 17 is on the ultimate satisfaction he will get from God when he sees God’s face in heaven. However, David also realizes that God knows what he needs while he is still living in this world. We receive God’s “treasures” and the “portions” we need directly from the hand of God. God also promises us enough to leave an “abundance” to the next generation.
List some of the basic needs in life that God has provided for you. How you have benefited from the previous generation of believer’s blessings?
Praise God for supplying you with all that you need. Ask God to continue to bless you so that you can be a blessing to the next generation.
Sometimes We Want God’s Protection
My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped.
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, 9 from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround me. – Psalm 17:5, 8-9 (ESV)
In 2018, the Stamford Advocate reported that Police in Stamford responded to the Fairfield Apartments after onlookers reported seeing a small child fall out of a 2nd-story window overlooking the parking lot. According to Stamford Police Sgt. Brian Butler, the child was found after her fall crying and moving around. She survived by landing in a patch of fresh mulch, a feat made all the more impressive considering the considerable height involved. Although it was only a second-story apartment, the property’s architecture meant the window was more like four-to-five stories high.
In Psalm 17:5 David felt that he was in danger of falling or slipping into disaster; he needed God to hold up his steps, so that his footsteps may not slip. He wanted to be upheld, but only on God’s path. David rejoiced that God had protected him from falling and God had protected Him for the wicked who wanted to harm him.
Do you feel in danger of falling spiritually or being defeated by an enemy? How has God protected our nation? How has God protected you?
Praise God for His promise to protect you and to keep you close to Himself. Ask for God’s protection against any threats you can list against our Nation, church, and your family.
Often We Claim God’s Promises
With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent. Psalm 17:4 (ESV)
There was an elderly woman, who resided next to an affirmed atheist, in an older suburb. This woman received a meager social security survivor’s benefit. Although her finances only afforded her not even the most basic meal plans, she would open her windows daily to give thanks and pray to God.
Finally one day, the middle of the month arrived and she had not received her check. Instead of complaining, she opened her windows, fell on her knees, and began to thank God and pray. The atheist neighbor was sitting on his porch and overheard her praying “Lord, although I don’t have any food in my home, I know you will provide!” The neighbor thought to himself, this is a great opportunity to prove to her there is no god. So he hurriedly went to the store and purchased a carload of groceries. Upon arriving home, he placed them on her porch, rang her doorbell, and hid in the bushes to spring his surprise. Finally, the elderly woman made her way to the door. She opened the door, saw all the groceries, and rejoiced in the Lord! About that time the neighbor jumped out from behind the bushes and exclaimed, “God is not real, I bought those groceries.” To this, the old woman exclaimed, “I knew my God would supply my needs, but I didn’t know he would make the devil pay for them!”
David also knew God had promised to provide for him and to protect him. In Psalm 17:4 David gives credit to the “words of your lips” for protecting Him. He trusted God would keep His word. Throughout the entire psalm, David claims the promises of God.
What are a couple of your favorite promises from God? Do you know any Bible passages to support those promises?
Praise God for His words and promises to you revealed in the Bible. Ask God to show you any promises you need to hear from Him that relate to what you are going through in life currently.
We Always Need God’s Presence
As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness. – Psalm 17:15 (ESV)
In a scene from Shadowlands, a film based on the life of C.S. Lewis, Lewis has returned to Oxford from London, where he has just been married to Joy Gresham, an American woman, in a private Episcopal ceremony performed at her hospital bedside. She is dying from cancer, and, through the struggle with her illness, she and Lewis have been discovering the depth of their love for each other. As Lewis arrives at the college where he teaches, he is met by Harry Harrington, an Episcopal priest, who asks what news there is. Lewis hesitates; then, deciding to speak of the marriage and not the cancer, he says, “Ah, good news, I think, Harry. Yes, good news.” Harrington, not aware of the marriage and thinking that Lewis is referring to Joy’s medical situation, replies, “I know how hard you’ve been praying …. Now, God is answering your prayer.” “That’s not why I pray, Harry,” Lewis responds. “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God; it changes me.”
In Psalm 17, David did not want a vindication that came from himself. In his long struggle with King Saul, David had several opportunities to set things right himself, but he refused and waited until vindication came from the presence of God. David was confident not only of life after death but that he would one day see the face of God. The idea is not merely of contact with God, but of unhindered fellowship with God.
When have you most sensed the presence of God? What difference does it make when you remind yourself that God is always with His children?
Praise God for the constant presence of His Holy Spirit in your life. Ask God to help you to be more aware of His presence even in the regular activities of life.