Finding Refuge in Psalm 17: Seeking God’s Protection
Psalm 17 is a beautiful and powerful prayer for protection and refuge, written by King David. In this psalm, David seeks God’s protection from his enemies who seek to harm him unjustly. He cries out to God, asking Him to hear his prayer, guard him like the apple of His eye, and save him from those who oppress him.
A Cry for Help
“Hear me Lord, my plea is just; listen to my cry. Hear my prayer – it does not rise from deceitful lips.”
In the first two verses of Psalm 17, David pours out his heart to the Lord in a desperate cry for help. He implores God to listen to his plea because he knows it is based on justice. He assures God that his request is not coming from deceitful lips.
David was facing opposition from people who were acting wickedly towards him without cause (v.9). These people had no legitimate reason for attacking David or plotting against him; it was all based on their own selfish motives. But despite this unjust treatment towards himself, David remained confident in the righteousness of his cause before God.
God as Defender
“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.”
In verse eight we see an acknowledgement that God Himself has been serving as defender throughout history:
“Keep me as an apple of your eye;
hide me under the shadow of your wings,
from wicked men who are trying to destroy me,
from mortal enemies who surround me.”
This particular phrase points back through Old Testament history when Moses blessed Reuben with these very words:
“Let Reuben live and not die,
nor his men be few.” And this he said about Judah:
“Hear, Lord, the cry of Judah;
bring him to his people.
With his own hands he defends his cause.
Oh, be his help against his foes!” (Deuteronomy 33:6-7).
David calls on God to protect him as a warrior would protect himself from an enemy. He trusts that God will view him as His beloved child and defend him with all His might.
A Confession of Trust in God
“I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.”
Verse six is a powerful confession of David’s trust in the Lord. He declares confidently that when he calls upon Him for help, He will answer. This faith in the unchanging nature of who God is enables David to remain secure even while things around him are in chaos.
The psalmist acknowledges that without being able to put our absolute trust into someone or something it becomes easy for us as humans (who are so limited) to feel helpless. But with this act of placing our trust fully into Him we find refuge (Psalm 46:1).
A Prayer for Deliverance
“Arise, Lord! Confront them! Bring them down!
With your sword rescue me from the wicked.
By your hand save me from such people.”
In verses 13 and 14 we see David apply pressure onto The Lord through urgent pleas asking Him arise against these wicked men:
Notice how David does not ask only once but repeats this plea throughout Psalm 17 twice at least which demonstrates a sign of both faith and desperation. Likewise, we can do the same for ourselves, to not give up in our own cries when we seek His help in our lives.
In Psalm 17, David teaches us that our strength and protection come from God alone. He models how we should pray honestly with integrity before God sharing what is in our hearts while trusting Him completely for deliverance.
If you are experiencing difficulty in your life today, know that it is possible to find refuge just as David did within Psalm 17 by seeking the Lord’s divine protection and putting your trust fully into Him.