First Off…read Psalm 17!
Psalm 17 is, in a lot of ways, very similar to 16. In both psalms the writer feels the pressure of enemies, feels their anger and their hatred and seeks out God’s hand to deliver and protect. But what’s different about Psalm 17 is that where Psalm 16 speaks of all of this BEGINNING to happen – Psalm 17 is a cry out as this enemy has surrounded him and is closing in. It’s the difference between seeing your enemy in the distance – and feeling their hot breath all around you.
The big difference I see and feel between 16 and 17? Where in Psalm 16 the author is looking around and seeing her foes coming in – in 17 I get this image that she has fallen to her knees and is praying to God for her deliverance. And what’s really interesting is that in these 15 verses the vast majority of them (1-12) are about what is immediately happening. The plea to God to listen, the request to examine their heart and who they are, the calling of them for God to see all the evilness that surrounds them and to protect him from them. It’s all things that are now. All things that they see happening and thus they come to God in the present seeking a response of the present. HOWEVER, in verses 13-15 the prayer-petitioner switches to the future. They ask God to “rise up” and confront that which they see before them. The need is for God to save them from what WILL come from their foes.
And then…verse 15 has this calming additional “known” that when they wake in the morning…they will see God.
Theologians are a little unclear on what verse 15 exactly means or eludes to. Is it the Moses-type where one sees something like God but it’s not fully God…where they come into His presence and still walk away alive? Are they anticipating dying during the night and thus anticipating waking in their spiritual body to see the face of the Lord? Or is it simply this feeling that BECAUSE they are not like the sinful people that surround and close in on them that they are more LIKE GOD because they are “righteous” as He is righteous?
While we may disagree on exactly what verse 15 MEANS…theologians all agree on what it declares: the presence of God is good. And not only “good” – but it is great. And not only “great” but it is safe. And not only “safe” but it is peace. And not only “peace” but it is what we declare, as our psalmist does, where our future is placed.
We read in Revelation 22:3-5 that our “future” is with God. Where we will not only be in a place where there is no more night…where there is no more pain and suffering…but we will see the face of God and his name will be upon us.
None of us are promised tomorrow. None of us are even promised today or even the next minute. You may not make it through this day or this night or even the next hour – but if you believe and declare and call upon the Almighty King of kings and Lord of lords – then your future is in his presence. Not only his “presence” where you feel him (like we do today with the Holy Spirit) but God will be before you and next to you. You will have an opportunity to walk and talk with him in the cool of the day.
Followers of Jesus Christ know that we are not guaranteed today…that it could all easily be taken away or lost or simply forgotten…and while this is a struggle that even Christians have – we know that our future is held firmly by the One whom has given us a future: Jesus Christ. And that even if we die today – we will finally fully live tomorrow.