Psalms On Saturday ~ Psalm 17

[Note: Neither Fox News nor CNN has reported on the 

upcoming 1000th Interruptions – another example of media bias!]

When I was a practicing pastor, I listened to many (hours and hours) of conversations with those who said they were unhappy.

Today there are many books, articles, and podcasts relating self-awareness to both happiness and success in life. I think it’s obvious that self-awareness will improve our relationships, business dealings, and emotional health.

King David writes at the beginning of Psalm 17 . . . 

Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit! From your presence let my vindication come! Let your eyes behold the right! (vv. 1-2, ESV)

Because David wants God’s opinion about himself, he ends Psalm 17 in the same way he started.  

As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness (v. 15).

Important to note that with happiness, success, and emotional health, King David adds something that the secular world ignores – seeking God’s presence and face!

There is a problem with self-awareness as the key to happiness.

When we add up our personal prejudices, the denial of our inadequacies, and the debilitating effect of sin on our self-assessment capability, I surmise it is impossible for us to be adequately self-aware.

You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night. You have scrutinized me and found nothing wrong (v. 3, NLT).

Only God can test us thoroughly.

Back to my pastoring days when I talked to others about their happiness.  

Everyone I talked with had a blind spot in their personality that they didn’t realize or chose to ignore. And with everyone — everyone — they tended to resist by excuse or outright denial admitting these blind spots existed.


And counselor, heal thyself; I also admit my blind spots. I’m good at pointing out inadequacies in others but incompetent at examining myself.

David confessed His failure, too, when he writes . . .

I have followed your commands, which keep me from following cruel and evil people. My steps have stayed on your path; I have not wavered from following you (vv. 4-5, NLT).

Only by following the commands and walking on the narrow path of God’s will could David claim, “I have not wavered.” When we follow our self-assessment of our own self-righteousness, we can’t trust our judgments.

Today’s path to happiness is total selfishness, which is why — even with all the books, articles, and podcasts on being happy – our world continues to be increasingly unhappy.

King David didn’t try to justify himself against his accusers either. He writes . . . 

Hide me in the shadow of your wings. Protect me from wicked people who attack me (vv. 8-9, NLT).

King David’s advice on happiness wouldn’t pass muster in today’s self-glorification-assessment world. His path to satisfaction was seeking God’s presence, hearing God’s voice about his inadequacies, and allowing God to deal with those who falsely accused him.

As a pastor, I noticed those who became happier were those who sought God and listened to His voice. They didn’t try to justify their actions, motives, or thoughts. They admitted their total incompetency in self-improvement.

I agree with David’s antidote for unhappiness:  Seek God’s presence and face.

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