To See God... (Psalm 17)
Reading: Psalm 17
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…from men by your hand, O Lord, from men of the world whose portion is in this life… As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.
St. Augustine once wrote, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.” We search the world for satisfaction, often not realizing that we are made for worship, and that our deepest and truest satisfaction is found only in God. Moses recognized this when he asked to see the glory of the Lord (Exodus 33:18), and Jesus pointed to it as the hope of the “pure in heart [who] shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).
But if this is true, why do we resist worship and why do we make idols of the pleasures of this world?
The answer to the first half of this question is really pride. In fact, I’m confronted with this all the time. When my heart is utterly disposed towards God and when I see glimpses of his glory, I feel freer than at any other time. And yet, in my heart I often discover a stiff arm towards God in worship because I find it to be demeaning. Worship is beneath me. Or so my heart is inclined. Thus I am divided. God is worthy of worship and when I worship him I am free. Yet, my proud heart resists worship.
The answer to the second is that we are fooled or that we are foolish. We look for satisfaction in that which can never fully satisfy. If we persist for long enough, we become the wicked “men of the world whose portion is in this life.” We find ourselves opposing God and his people because we worship the goods of this world. When this happens, God becomes an obstacle to what you want, rather than the end for which you were created.
But the righteous person seeks the very face of God. God himself is his prize, and there is no higher pleasure or satisfaction than to behold the face of God. Indeed, this is the hope of everyone who loves God: to be resurrected—to awake—and to be satisfied with the glory of the Lord. It is to worship unhindered forever.
Father, we are fooled into believing that the good things of this world can truly satisfy us. Moreover, we are prideful, not wanting to submit to you and your ways—though we admit you are deserving! Forgive us, please. And rescue us from those who would seek to drag us away from that true worship and into the snares and traps of this world. Preserve us for true worship and grant us repentance, that we might set our hope on beholding your face.
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord,