In this psalm, David is recounting the blessings of God. He is remembering all that God has done and also speaking his trust in what God will yet do.
If you want to know someone’s character, look to their deeds of the past. See how they treat their family. These will give you a good indication of what they are like. Yes. People can change but even that change can be tracked over time.
David is looking to God’s deeds of the past. He is rejoicing in what he finds there. Not because he is surprised but because of the consistency of God. David knows, from observing God’s character in the past, that he can trust Him with his whole heart with his future.
God is consistent in how He deals with man. He doesn’t ‘wink’ at sin one week, ignore it the next, and then grind the sinner out the following week. He draws a firm line but still holds out His hand to those who come to Him in sincerity. But evil WILL meet its end and it won’t be pretty. God’s character can have it no other way.
David demonstrates something else in this psalm that Jesus Himself shared with His disciples. When Jesus first ‘taught His disciples to pray’ He started that prayer with praise. “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed by Your name” (Matthew 6:9b). David follows this example, even before it is formally given. He starts off with praise to God for all He has already done. He recounts God’s character and praises Him for it.
David also speaks of God’s will being done on earth, in his life and throughout the nations. The wicked are turned back, David’s enemies perish, and God supports David’s cause of righteousness. Some of the wicked nations are even removed from the memory of man. That’s a pretty complete judgement.
Then David turns to show how God’s will is done in Heaven. “But the Lord sits enthroned forever; He has established His throne of justice, and He judges the world with righteousness; He judges the peoples with uprightness” (verses 7-8). God’s will in Heaven carried out on earth.
Next, David makes his request to the Lord. He prays for deliverance from those who hate him and are seeking his life. In David’s request he couches it by saying that he needs the Lord’s deliverance so he can continue to praise Him. He would be remiss NOT to sing of what God has done for him. NOT that God needs our praise but that it is fitting that we tell of God’s wondrous works on our behalf.
David then expresses his thanks for God protecting his steps in the world. The wicked nations that surround him have set traps for him but their traps have backfired! They catch themselves in the traps they set out for him. Their just desert! In stating this point, is David also petitioning God to keep him from falling into the pits with them?
David concludes his psalm with promises from God. “The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God. For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever” (verses 17-18, emphasis added by me). And why is this? Because God WILL prevail. He WILL judge the nations. He WILL judge ALL men.
Just to be clear, this is NOT the only form of prayer God listens to. He is also a great responder to the HELP plea. David uses that format MANY times. Simply crying out to Him in moments of despair. He hears His children whenever they call, however they call.
Father God, thank You for answering EVERYTIME I call. I’m calling right now Father! I’m asking You to help me focus even with all that is going on around me. I want to be in Your presence. I want to hold still and sit quietly on Your lap. But everything around me is clamoring for my attention. Help me learn to listen even in the middle of chaos. I know this isn’t an impossible request because You have answered this request before.
Thank You for letting me speak my heart, no matter what is going on in it. Thank You that I can praise You in SO MANY different ways. Help me NEVER forget that.