Woman with hand on her head

Psalm 17 – Hear Me, Lord!

 March 26, 2024

The psalmist cries out in Psalm 17 – Hear me, Lord! Who hasn’t cried out at times, begging for someone, anyone, to hear them? I know I have. But what does the writer want Got to hear? And, perhaps more important, what does he want God to do?

Psalm 17

Psalm 17 begins with a plea to God to listen:

Hear me, Lord, my plea is just;
listen to my cry.
Hear my prayer—
it does not rise from deceitful lips.
Let my vindication come from you;
may your eyes see what is right.”

He tells God that he is innocent of all charges. Even though people have tried to bribe him, he has remained firm.

 “My steps have held to your paths;
my feet have not stumbled.” (5)

What does he want God to do?

Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings
from the wicked who are out to destroy me,
from my mortal enemies who surround me.”

He asks God to confront those who are attacking him like hungry lions.

They are like a lion hungry for prey,
like a fierce lion crouching in cover.

Rise up, Lord, confront them, bring them down;
with your sword rescue me from the wicked.
By your hand save me from such people, Lord,
from those of this world whose reward is in this life
.” (12-14)

In the end, all he asks is to see God’s face:

As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face;
when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.”

The Importance of Being Heard

When was the last time you cried out the first words of Psalm 17 – Hear me? The desire to be heard is a common human desire. We want to know that the people around us are genuinely listening to us; that they hear us. When we are heard, we feel better. Even if they don’t agree with us, sometimes it’s enough to be heard. It is healing. When we are not heard, we feel discounted, as if our feelings and hurts don’t matter.

The writer of Psalm 17 wants to be heard by God. It doesn’t mean that God agrees with every complaint the writer is making or will do what the writer asks. It just means God hears him. And sometimes that is enough. When I have cried out to God over injustice and struggled to understand, sometimes all God does is listen. I don’t get an answer, but I do have the sense of God’s presence and that God hears. When I questioned God about why a good God allows so much evil in the world, I didn’t get an answer. What I got was the sense of God’s sacred heart, bleeding with compassion for the world. And that was enough.

Psalm 17 – Hear Me!

In the end, all the writer wants is for God to hear him, to keep him as precious as the apple of God’s eye, and to see God’s face. Isn’t that all any of us want? I know it’s what I want. I want to know that God hears me when I cry out, that God knows the truth and loves me. When I reach the end of my days, with the psalmist, I pray that I will see God’s face.

What about you? What has been your experience of being heard? How does it feel to be heard? How does it feel when your voice is not heard?

(For another look at this psalm, see Psalm 17: Keep Me as the Apple of the Eye – Patricia M Robertson)

This post is part of a series of blog posts on the Psalms. Sign up to follow this blog and receive a free copy of  Still Dancingthe second book in my Dancing through Life Series.      click here to sign up

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