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Daily Distinctives, April 27, 2015 (Vindication)

April 27, 2015

Daily Reading:

[Psa 17:1 NKJV]
A Prayer of David. Hear a just cause, O LORD, Attend to my cry; Give ear to my prayer [which is] not from deceitful lips.

[Psa 17:2 NKJV]
Let my vindication come from Your presence; Let Your eyes look on the things that are upright.

[Psa 17:3 NKJV]
You have tested my heart; You have visited [me] in the night; You have tried me and have found nothing; I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.

[Psa 17:4 NKJV]
Concerning the works of men, By the word of Your lips, I have kept away from the paths of the destroyer.

[Psa 17:5 NKJV]
Uphold my steps in Your paths, [That] my footsteps may not slip.

Daily Distinctive:

Ever have one of those Twilight Zone moments in your life where it seems like you are being hounded at every step. You are doing your best to walk in the Spirit and though you are a sinful person by nature, everything in you longs to be pleasing before God and men. Your desire is to be above reproach and you give your very best to the LORD. Still, your accusers are many and your heart is heavy under the weight of what seems like persecution. Okay, maybe it is just me. Anyways, I thought that I would address these verses in light of the week, month, year that I have been having. If you can empathize then perhaps this devotional for today will be like apples of gold in settings of silver (Proverbs 25:11).

[Psa 17:1 NKJV]
A Prayer of David. Hear a just cause, O LORD, Attend to my cry; Give ear to my prayer [which is] not from deceitful lips.

Here we have a Psalm that is from David and is in the form of a prayer to the LORD. In this first verse David calls out to the LORD from the perspective of a man having a just cause to present to God. Of course we know that there is none righteous (Romans 3:10; Romans 3:23) but even sinners are capable of performing righteous acts. I recall an old saying that goes, “Even a broken watch is right twice every day.” But, yes, we can get it right from time to time. I don’t think that David is saying he is righteous, but I do believe what he is saying to the LORD is that in these circumstances his cause is just. And so he cries out to the LORD and petitions the LORD to hear his cry and pay attention to his prayer request. Notice too that he points out that his¬†request is the truth and not from deceitful lips.

It is good when we take our requests to the Father. But when we do, we must be honest with ourselves about the details of our petitions. It is not like God does not see the whole truth anyways. We will not get one over on the LORD when we prayers to Him and so when we do pray to the LORD we must be forthright with our requests. The problem is that sometimes we are so entrenched into our own circumstances that we can be self-decieved. In which case we may be approaching the LORD with a sincere petition and still be lying to ourselves. This is why it is so important that we ask the LORD to search our hearts to reveal any sin that we may be harboring. If we are indeed above reproach regarding a matter, the LORD knows.

[Psa 17:2 NKJV]
Let my vindication come from Your presence; Let Your eyes look on the things that are upright.

David knows that he is a sinner. Still he seeks vindication from the LORD for some persecution that he is facing. And so David cries out and tells the LORD that he wants vindication that is from a righteous perspective. He asks for his vindication to come from the LORD’s presence which would make his case irrefutable. David petitions the LORD to behold the things that are upright. David knows that if the LORD were to examine his heart that He would find no righteousness in David apart from that which the LORD had bestowed upon him. David understands that his righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) but still he wants the LORD to judge his current circumstances.

We too must recognize that apart from Christ there is no righteousness in us, but when we call upon the LORD to judge our deeds according to that righteousness, it is not that we are asking the LORD to overlook our sins, but in essence we are asking the LORD not to, “throw the baby out with the bath water,” so to speak.

[Psa 17:3 NKJV]
You have tested my heart; You have visited [me] in the night; You have tried me and have found nothing; I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.

David is confident that his behavior has been irreproachable, that God has tested his heart. As believers we should seek to commune with the LORD and allow Him to reveal to us areas in our lives where we are sinning against Him. David also says that the LORD had visited in the night. What this means is that the LORD had come to him in his dreams and revealed no iniquity regarding his petition to the LORD. Then he notes that the LORD had tried or tested him and had found no fault in him. He goes on to say that he purposed that his mouth should not transgress against the LORD.

As believers we should seek the LORD to test our own hearts to reveal anything that we might be doing that is outside of the will of God. If by some means the LORD visits us in our own dreams we should be walking so intently focused on the LORD  that if He does whisper to us in the night we are responsive to what He says. As believers we should strive daily to live exemplary lives before the LORD so that when we are tried, we too can be found above reproach. Finally, like David, we should be vigilant, even intentional about the way we speak so as not to be disqualified by our own guiltiness and sin.

[Psa 17:4 NKJV]
Concerning the works of men, By the word of Your lips, I have kept away from the paths of the destroyer.

David was obedient and set himself apart from the things of the world. He did not walk in the path of the destroyer and so he was confident to present his petitions to the LORD. One thing that I try to avoid doing is comparing myself to the world. That is not a good test. The world is does not adhere to the WORD and so the works of men are not a a measure by which we gauge our own righteousness. The standard is Jesus. As Christians we must obey the WORD of God, everything that comes from His lips should be our primary directives. It is in obedience that we find the narrow path and not the broad path of the destroyer which leads to destruction.

[Psa 17:5 NKJV]
Uphold my steps in Your paths, [That] my footsteps may not slip.

Finally David recognizes that he has the proclivity to sin and so he prays that the LORD would uphold his steps in the path of the LORD. When we walk in faith it , it is not too far fetched to come to the realization that we are prone to sinfulness ourselves. We need the LORD to help keep us on the path of righteousness and keep us from falling into the ways of the world. David prays that the LORD would uphold his steps and not allow him to slip.

I am painfully aware of my own proclivities and so this should be my prayer daily. My desire is to walk in the steps of the LORD, but oh how often I wander from His path. I am just grateful that He leaves the ninety-nine to come after the one. The world is full of slippery slopes. As believers we don’t want to get as close to the edge of God’s will as we can, thinking that we can have our foot in the world and in the Kingdom of God. It is at the edge of God’s will for us in this life that we find the most slippery of surfaces. This is why it is important for us to be in the very center of God’s will. We can do this by adhering to His WORD which is found in the Scriptures.

The goal for the believer is to allow the LORD to work in our lives in such a way that we are setting ourselves up to be in a position where we are above reproach. This way when we do go before the LORD we can do so with a clear conscious. The goal is to always be above reproach. This is difficult for sinful men, but with God even this is possible. When we blow it and sin, we need to keep a short account with the LORD and go to Him immediately with a repentant heart, seeking forgiveness and restoration.

Daily Muse:

This war between the flesh and spirit is a difficult thing. On one hand we are hopelessly lost, sinners of the worst kind. And yet on the other hand we are new creations in Christ. So when our accusers come, and they will, what can we say to their accusations of us. We must agree that we are sinners and that we make sinful mistakes that grieve the LORD and hurt others around us, but we must also be cognizant of the fact that the LORD is working in and through us to sanctify us and bring us into His image.

Daily Prayer:

LORD, I know who I am apart from you, and I want nothing to do with it. I pray that You would evaluate my heart and reveal any sin that is in me so that I may deal with it and get in right standing with You through Your Son. LORD I love You and I want to live a life that is pleasing before You. I want to be above reproach in every way. And so like David, my prayer is that you would keep me centered in Your will and that You would keep me from slipping. You are holy and worthy of my praise and so I lift my eyes to You LORD and sing Your praises. It is in Your name that I pray.   -Amen

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