David is calling out for the Lord’s protection. His heart is pure and his cause is righteous. He trusts the Lord to see him through, even if that ‘through’ is into Heaven.
I’m curious as to when David is writing this psalm; this plea to God. It seems to me that it is possibly after he took the throne. David had a promise from the Lord through Samuel that he would be king one day. I can’t see him looking for his only reward on the other side of the grave before that prophecy was fulfilled. But I can think of no greater pursuer of David than Saul, so could this psalm have been written while he was still on the run?
Maybe the one in pursuit is Absalom. David abandoned his throne and his fortune rather than fight against his son. Is it possible that was the reason he looked forward to a Heavenly reward than counting what he had on earth?
“Arise, O Lord: Confront him, subdue him! Deliver my soul from the wicked by Your sword, 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.
As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with Your likeness” (verses 13-15).
David has a specific pursuer in mind. He calls for God to “subdue him” and to “confront him”. That pursuer wants to pass on wealth and power to his children. David claims no earthly wealth to pass on but will be satisfied with seeing the Lord’s face alone.
This doesn’t help me pinpoint the season in which David wrote this but it but it shows where his hope is. David is not leaning on his vast armies or his wealth to deliver him from this predicament. He is leaning fully on the Lord.
He approaches the Lord with a pure heart, clean lips, and clean hands. David has already passed several tests of his soul and he believes he has come out victorious. I won’t say David always came out perfect but when he didn’t, he was quick to repent and to take redirection. This claim alone is a major reasons to put David’s penning of this psalm before taking the throne. He did NOT successfully pass the test of Uriah and Bathsheba, nor how he raised his children.
Whoever David is asking God to deal with it is not him alone that is in danger. David says, “They have now surrounded our steps; they set their eyes to cast us to the ground” (verse 11 emphasis added). The “they” has a singular leader though. He is the one in charge of going after David.
David does not ask for a military victory over this person or their forces. He asks GOD to deal with them. He asks God to confront him, subdue him and to use GOD’s sword against this person. David is not averse to them suffering loss, just not at his hands. This could easily be Saul or Absalom. David and his men run from Saul’s forces. David’s forces confront Absalom and Joab actually strikes him down AGAINST David’s wishes. But David never sought a battle engagement with either group.
In asking God to fight his battle, David does not have to rely on his own strength or tactics. He trusts God to know exactly where and how to strike his adversary. From the description of David’s adversary, God could ‘hit him in the pocketbook’ or even in ‘the cradle’ and it would have a devastating effect.
If this is coming from the time before David takes the throne, David has little in the way of either of these possessions. Afterwards, he values them less than his relationship with God. David put his relationship with God FIRST in terms of importance. Nothing of this world is as important as one day seeing God face to face!
That needs to be our heart’s cry too! The house, the car, all the ‘toys’ and trappings are NOTHING compared to God. Even our children and our spouses must hold less sway over us than our relationship with God. That’s hard for this mother to say but it HAS to be the truth.
When my children were young, they would do as I said. They were in church with me, listening to the stories from the Bible. As they got older, they began making up their own minds as to how they felt about God. As teenagers they still followed my rules and requirements. But as adults, living on their own, they have departed from my well-worn path. I trust God with their eternal lives. I PRAY He brings them into an intimate relationship with Him. BUT even if I don’t live to see it, my relationship with God is not going to change to suit their situations. As cold as it sounds, I choose Him over them. AND I leave them in His hands, as David did with those he was facing. No. My children are not my enemy but God is just as capable of directing their lives as He was of directing the lives of whoever was chasing David.
Father God, I trust YOU with my future and that of my children. I KNOW my children are Yours even more than they are mine for You formed them too. I don’t know what it is going to take to bring them back to You but I KNOW that You do. I leave them in Your capable hands. I trust Your promises regarding their futures and relationships with You.
For me, there is NO GREATER REWARD that seeing Your face! Spending ‘bench time’ with Jesus is what I long for. This even tops the desire I have always had to fly (without the use of any device). Will You fulfill both these desires in Heaven? Certainly desire number one.