Praying Through the Bible #46 | with Daniel Whyte III
TEXT: Psalm 17:1-6
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible”. The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the new Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have done 45 messages in this series.
This is message #46 titled “No Prayer: No Justice, or Peace.”
All people, black, white, red, and yellow have had the experience of being treated unjustly or unfairly from time to time in their lives. Many of us can identify with the experiences of someone flat out lying on us, treating us one way and treating other people another way because of our race or because of where we are from or because of our religion or faith, or being hostile towards us for no apparent reason. This week, many people across America have expressed their belief that the ruling in the Trayvon Martin case was unfair and unjust and many people believe that the treatment and the threats and the call for more charges against George Zimmerman is unfair and unjust. Wherever you fall on this tragic issue is between you and God, however responding in evil, wicked, violent ways is not productive for our country, for our states, for our cities, for our churches, or for ourselves. It does nothing but cause more strife and more division among us. Here is what Jesus Christ said about it in Matthew 5:38-40: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.” Martin Luther King, Jr., said “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars…Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” In life, when things go wrong as they sometimes will and it seems justice is not in sight, what do we do?
In our passage for tonight, we find from the experiences of David that there is another way we should handle injustice, and that is to turn to the Lord in prayer. David lived through several situations that could be called unjust or unfair. This prayer found in Psalm 17 is his reaction to one of those situations. Some have said that this is a prayer David offered during the time when he was on the run from King Saul who was seeking to kill him, but we do not know for sure. What we find in this prayer is an example of how we should react when we are faced with some injustice in our lives.
1. The first thing we should do is cry out to God. In verse 1, David prays, “O Lord, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer…” The Hebrew word for “cry” is defined as a “ringing entreaty or supplication”, a “mournful wailing.” David asks God to listen to his anguished pleadings for justice. Instead of going to the person who we feel has wronged us and getting angry with them, we should turn our attention to God, and pour out all of our feelings and thoughts about the matter to him.
2. The second thing we should do is make sure we are not in the wrong. David prays, “give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.” The word “feigned” means “deceitful” or “false.” David is saying to God, ‘Lord, I am telling the truth about this matter.’ He goes on to say in verse 4, “by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.” David had followed God’s word and had not walked in the way of wickedness.
3. The third thing we should do is prepare to accept God’s judgment in the matter. In verse 2 of our passage, David prays, “Let my sentence come forth from thy presence; let thine eyes behold the things that are equal.” Here David is asking for vindication from God’s point-of-view. David does not want man’s judgment in his situation and he does not want his own judgment in his situation. He wants God’s judgment in his situation, because he knows that whatever God chooses to do in that situation will be right. It may not always be completely in his favor, but it will be just and fair.