I am struck by how often David cries out to God in the midst of conflict and turmoil. It seems that at every turn David has people out to get him. There are wicked people all around who want to do him harm and he consistently cries out to God to be delivered from them and to even have them face justice and punishment for their evil ways. He certainly seems to have an us versus them mentality. He wants to be among the righteous and recognizes that there are those who are among the wicked. He wants to avoid being numbered among them at all costs, meaning that he does not want to act like them on any level. But he knows that if not for the mercy of God he would be just like them.
One of the dangers of the Christian life is that we begin to trust on our own holiness and see ourselves as better than others. It is easy to think from reading David’s words that he was like that. But In many other places David is honest about his own shortcomings and cries out to God for deliverance from his own sin. What David desires is to be found worthy to stand in the presence of God. He wants God to hear the voice of his plea for mercy. Only by the hand of God can he avoid falling into the trap of the sinful ways of the wicked. His concern for God’s honor is so great that he wants to avoid at all costs anything that would dishonor God. The wicked do not regard the works of God or the works of His hand. As a result they dishonor Him. That grieves David. Does it grieve me when God is dishonored? Does it grieve you?
When we disregard God’s mercy in our lives we grieve Him. It is a fine line to walk between self-righteousness and righteousness in Christ. When I begin to think that I am better than others, I am disregarding God’s mercy. It is so easy to look at others and consider ourselves better than they, when it is in fact because God has heard our cry for mercy that we are who we are. I must keep that in mind at all times. I am who I am because the Lord heard my cry for mercy. I will praise Him because of His great work in my life.
To you, O Lord, I call;
my rock, be not deaf to me,
lest, if you be silent to me,
I become like those who go down to the pit.
2 Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy,
when I cry to you for help,
when I lift up my hands
toward your most holy sanctuary.[a]
3 Do not drag me off with the wicked,
with the workers of evil,
who speak peace with their neighbors
while evil is in their hearts.
4 Give to them according to their work
and according to the evil of their deeds;
give to them according to the work of their hands;
render them their due reward.
5 Because they do not regard the works of the Lord
or the work of his hands,
he will tear them down and build them up no more.
6 Blessed be the Lord!
For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
7 The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.
8 The Lord is the strength of his people;[b]
he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
9 Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
Be their shepherd and carry them forever.