Everyday, I try to read in the Psalms. Sometimes it may only be one; other days I find I have the desire and time to read more. My goal is to not rush through it and to contemplate the words.
Recently, verse 15 in Psalm 17 just seemed to leap off the page at me. I couldn’t move past it, reading it over and over. Finally I had to go back to the beginning of the Psalm to really understand what the Lord was pressing in on my heart.
As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face; when I awake,
I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.
As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness;
I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.
As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness:
I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.
I then looked up the verse in a few versions of the Bible just to see and compare. The first phrase in the verse: “As for me” starts off the verse in all four versions I located. Clearly there is a consensus among the translators of the Word.
This phrase is a strong one because it shows that David, in his prayer, is drawing a distinction between himself and those he was speaking of before to the Lord.
He was pouring out his heart to the Lord about his enemies – people David described as wicked, violent and satisfied with the temporary things of this world. David asserts himself as one who seeks satisfaction in the Lord. This, too, should be our focus as well. David was saying this out loud – declaring it to the Lord.
There’s a good chance that in that moment (while fearful and fleeing for his life), he was also declaring it to himself – to remind himself. I, too, need to intentionally remind myself that the Lord is my central focus; whether in good times or in crisis. For this to be true, I have to continually declare it.
The next phrase: ‘I will behold your face in righteousness’ or ‘I will be vindicated and will see your face’ refers to the future. However, its in the NIV version that we see what future David is referencing. The context for the future is when he would be able to behold the Lord Himself! After further thought and study, I came to a deeper realization of what David was saying.
He is saying that as he lives his current life for God, his reward will be to be with God in heaven. David, being transformed through the righteousness of Christ, will be able to behold the Lord fully. As it was with David, so it is with you and me!
This is a dual reward – comfort in this life and eternal happiness in death. In order to receive the comfort in this life, we must seek His face, His will each and every day. Jesus promised to be with us always – and He is!
The future eternal happiness has three parts: immediately seeing God in all of His glory, becoming holy and complete with God, and a complete and full satisfaction. We won’t be struggling, striving or sad. The wholeness of our beings will be fulfilled!
As wonderful as this is to contemplate for our future, we first have to consider what this means for our lives right now. What do you think? As I return to the verse, I believe the Holy Spirit is prompting me to share these three suggestions for intentional, Christ-centered living:
1) Begin each day with a declaration of the sovereignty of God in your life. Cry out to Him who hears the just (Psalm 17:1)
2)Make an effort to be careful with what you say – that the words you say bring life, restoration and peace. (Psalm 17:3)
3) Spend time reading the Word each day because that is the source of your instruction and of your comfort in this life. By it, you will know whether you are on the right path or not. (Psalm 17:4)