"As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness."
We've arrived at Psalm 17, in which the psalmist aligns himself with God's righteousness, and begs for God to subdue the wicked. It's a pleasantly confusing psalm, so we could write about a number of things here, but today we'll just focus on one thing that got us thinking.
At the beginning of the psalm, he comes off as downright audacious, confident that God "will find nothing" in his heart that is transgressive. He says, "My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped." I don't know about you, but that's not usually how we in the Wheatstone office regard ourselves. We're well aware of the ways we have messed up and continue to mess up. How is it that the psalmist can speak with so much more confidence than we can?
There are a couple possible responses: Either the psalmist is much holier than we are, or his confidence and his sense of purity are compatible with a sinful life. Both responses are possible, but we spent our time considering the second option. Maybe, if we found the psalmist's source of confidence, we could be as confident as he is.
The psalmist seems to ground his confidence in three things: in God's past testing of his heart, in the psalmist's present purpose toward holiness, and in the reliability of "the word of [God's] lips." He believes that God has made him strong, that his will is pointed in the right direction right now, and that God's revelation will continue to be reliable in the future. Those three things are often true of us too. When we are presently purposing to live like God wants, we can agree with the psalmist in the three things above. Should that be enough to make us as confident as he is when he says, "my feet have not slipped?" Can a sinner (like both us and the psalmist) ever say such a thing?
Perhaps the psalmist says it because has a stronger sense of the power of God's heart-searching and the completeness of God's forgiveness. Maybe God's testing is so redemptive that it transforms our past sins from departures from the path of God into parts of the path of God. Maybe God's forgiveness is so complete that, after we repent, we can treat past sins as completely abolished, and live free in the awareness of our good standing with the word of the lips of God. If that is the case— that God's forgiveness completely abolishes our sins and his sanctification transforms our errors, reuniting them with his way— then, suddenly, by remembering his commitment to test us, by offering our present purposes to him, and by anticipating that his word will be reliable, we can gain the psalmist's confidence too: a confidence that's strong in spite of our weakness and past failures, because it's based in God's abundantly strong word, love, and work.
- Do you live in and for God's righteousness confidently?
- What does it mean to be satisfied with God's likeness?
- How can we properly ask God for vengeance against the wicked?
Read the whole Psalm at the bottom of this update
Wheatstone's requests and praises:
Peter and Lisa - We continue to run Wheatstone while understaffed. Pray for energy, health, and wisdom for the two full-timers as we work hard to stay faithful to our mission and fruitful in our goals.
THE ACADEMY CAMPS
Summer Camp Registration - We're a little behind on our registration goals. Pray that God would fill the camp with students and leaders who need its ministry, and tell your friends! Please pray specifically that God would send more Leaders to attend the Leaders Track.
CHRISTIAN ADULTHOOD TRAININGS
Discussion for Transformation - We held another DfT event in Centerville, UT this weekend. Pray that God would bless the youth leaders who attended as they begin to apply their new skills.
Christian Adulthood 101 - Last week, we launched our newest, most foundational training! Pray that God would bless it as it goes out to help youth ministries all around the country, and pray for good attendance at our first public event in June. (www.wheatstoneministries.com/101)
New Church and School Relationships - Pray that God would open more great relationships with churches and schools who need the Christian adulthood message and methods.
New 2017 Benefactors - We need to find additional benefactors this year in order to grow. Pray that God would bring a few friends along who want to make Christian adulthood ministry part of their legacy.
New 2017 Monthly Givers - We're behind our goal to cover all fixed costs with Monthly Gifts. Pray that God would bring a new community of friends to give a little bit to Wheatstone every month, forming a more secure foundation for Christian adulthood ministry.
This Week's Psalm
Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry!
Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!
From your presence let my vindication come!
Let your eyes behold the right!
You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night,
you have tested me, and you will find nothing;
I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips
I have avoided the ways of the violent.
My steps have held fast to your paths;
my feet have not slipped.
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my words.
Wondrously show your steadfast love,
O Savior of those who seek refuge
from their adversaries at your right hand.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings,
from the wicked who do me violence,
my deadly enemies who surround me.
They close their hearts to pity;
with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
They have now surrounded our steps;
they set their eyes to cast us to the ground.
He is like a lion eager to tear,
as a young lion lurking in ambush.
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.