Psalm 17:1 “Hear, O LORD, my righteous plea; listen to my cry.”
[You, Lord, are the prayer-answering God. Intercession was your invention, giving us a way to enter your presence, your arms, your heart, your plans.
You are the God who
–heard Joseph and gave him the interpretation of dreams;
–who heard Moses and opened the Red Sea;
–who heard David and defeated his enemies;
–who heard Daniel and told him the dream of the king;
–who heard Jesus and raised Lazarus from the dead.
–And you are the God who hears us still and will answer in the same faithfulness and power you always have.]
“Give ear to my prayer—it does not rise from deceitful lips.”
[Your part is to hear, ours is to come to you in integrity, not trying to manipulate you or paint ourselves as better than we are, or trick you into moving against someone unjustly. To do any of these is, of course, ridiculous, for nothing is hidden from your eyes, including our motives. You are the all-seeing, all-knowing, all-present One.
Praise you that we can and must be totally transparent before you—and that such honesty does not negatively affect your openness to us one bit, “for you are good and ready to forgive and plenteous in mercy to all who call upon you” (Psalm 86:5).
Psalm 17:2 “May my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right.”
[Truly, real vindication can only fully come from you, Lord, for only you know fully what is good. We can rest in that awesome truth that you see everything, both right and wrong, and love us anyway.
Your Word is clear on how we should trust you to deal with those who oppose us. As it says in the Old Testament, “Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psa. 37:1-4).
This concept is repeated more powerfully in the New Testament: “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:19-21).
In the picture here, the beauty of these leaves was revealed by the recent frost. Likewise, the beauty of the Lord is revealed in us through difficulties, if we respond according to His Word.
Lord, help us to look to you for vindication and for dealing with those who treat us like their enemies. May our delight be in you, not in vengeance or winning. May you thusly be glorified before all those around us, especially before those who oppose us. And right now, I am in the midst of such a conflict with a renter who sees me as the enemy, so I must apply all this personally! I praise you for how you will answer in faithfulness and righteousness and bring vindication.]
Epilogue: as I asked, the Lord gave wisdom through Psalm 37 (do good) in how to do good to this renter who treated me as an enemy, and he straightened out.