This Week's Focus Passage

Psalm 17:15 ‘I shall be satisfied when I awake.’

Psalm 17:15 ‘I shall be satisfied when I awake.’

Psalm 17 has the inspired title stating that it is A prayer of David, and in the last few verses, 13 through 15, the psalmist prays exuberantly, even cries out, we feel free to suggest, unto his God, asking that He stand up for him, as he has put it:

Arise, O Jehovah, Confront him, cast him down: Deliver my soul from the wicked by thy sword; From men by thy hand, O Jehovah, From men of the world, whose portion is in this life, And whose belly thou fillest with thy treasure: They are satisfied with children, And leave the rest of their substance to their babes.

These wicked, David has said, are satisfied with ‘substance’ and having ‘children’ to whom they may grant, as an inheritance, when they themselves are removed. This, David says—these things of earth; their substance—this is their chief concern and forms the substance of such goals and designs that they may have; it satisfies them. His response to this type of satisfaction he expresses in the final verse of this psalm by pointing to himself when he declares, ‘As for me.’ What is David’s satisfaction?

As for me, I shall behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with beholding thy form.

After having described that which satisfies the wicked, or the worldling, the psalmist desires to let us know what it is that satisfied him, and should be the satisfaction of all those loving the Lord in truth, or as he says, in righteousness.

The Living Bible, which they themselves admit, is not a translation, but rather a paraphrase—the admission is much to their credit. It is, as they also admit, a paraphrase of the King James Version. What they actually offer is an interpretation. But sometimes, in their interpretations, they may get it right. It seems that they have done so with our focus verse; their interpretation is:

“But as for me, my contentment is not in wealth but in seeing you and knowing all is well between us. And when I awake in heaven, I will be fully satisfied, for I will see you face-to-face.”

The future of the wicked and the future of the righteous are each eminently displayed with this conclusion. It reminds us of the words of our Savior when speaking of those hypocritical Pharisees, citing their make-believe ways by which they are satisfied with the approbation of men. He declared of them that Verily, they have their reward.

David, and all true believers will never be satisfied with anything less than seeing their Lord and Savior face-to-face, and being like Him. We know that, said John, that if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is. John’s first epistle and David’s psalm each speak of the ‘promised land.’

The reader may remember the account of the wilderness sojourn of the people of God delivered from Egypt by God through the hand of Moses, largely given in the fourth book of Moses, commonly called the book of Numbers. As they approached the land promised by God, the land flowing with milk and honey, we find in the thirteenth chapter of that book, how that Jehovah directed Moses to send out men, one ‘prince’ for each of the twelve tribes, to spy out the land of Canaan. Accordingly, Moses selected men who, we are informed, were heads of the children of Israel, each man representing one of the twelve tribes. Their instructions were clearly given to them by Moses in verses 17-20;

And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way by the South, and go up into the hill-country: and see the land, what it is; and the people that dwell therein, whether they are strong or weak, whether they are few or many; and what the land is that they dwell in, whether it is good or bad; and what cities they are that they dwell in, whether in camps, or in strongholds; and what the land is, whether it is fat or lean, whether there is wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the first-ripe grapes.

These spies returned with a cluster of grapes large enough to require being supported by a staff carried by two men. This was symbolic of the Promised Land; here was an evidence of its being truly a land flowing with milk and honey; just as He promised. Sadly, ten of these spies proved faithless. Only Joshua and Caleb argued ‘This is the promise of God; let us go and embrace it.’ The ten countered that the walls of their cities were too high and their men were giants; their unbelief prevailed and they all ended up wandering in the wilderness for forty years because they believed not God.

David seeks to provoke our faith in this 17th psalm, even as the cluster of grapes should have stirred up the faith of those under Moses. The Word of God has provided many ‘clusters of grapes,’ to excite our faith that what God has promised, He most surely will provide. We may freely pray this prayer of David contemplating eternity with our Savior. As for me, I shall behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with beholding thy form. A marginal note suggests an alternative rendering, Let me behold thy face. It does seem more consistent if, in fact, as the heading suggests, this is A Prayer of David. ‘Let me’ would be the language of petition, whereas, ‘I shall’ is that of asseveration. May we not have it both ways? May we not pray Let me behold thy face knowing all of God’s promises are Yea and Amen in Christ, and therefore declare I shall behold thy face…..I shall be satisfied?

This is something, as it were, of the famous grapes of Eshcol (cluster). The cluster of grapes from the valley of Eshcol was a token of the goodness of the promise of God; something of an earnest, or down-payment. This verse from psalm 17 is like unto that earnest; it is in anticipation of that great occasion spoken of elsewhere, and in particular, in Proverbs 4:18; But the path of the righteous is as the dawning light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. In that dawning light, when he awakes, the saint may expect to see Him face-to-face and be satisfied. May our God give to us that dying faith at the very time of our need.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


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