Psalm 17:15b “ … when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing Your likeness.”
Observation: The whole of Psalm 17 has the immediate context of a soliloquy David presents to the Lord. Saul is in hard pursuit, yet David affirms his trust in God at every turn. He is confident God will hear prayer and see his plight, that God will answer David’s cry for protection and rescue.
David’s confidence is absolute that God Himself will be the confronter of his enemies; that He will save David from their swords of destruction. Then, at the end of the Psalm comes this beautiful affirmation, “And I—in righteousness I will see Your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing Your likeness.”
Application: My wife Cindy died on the 18th of November. The previous day, as I began reading this Psalm to her I thought nothing of its historic background. Its original purpose as a testament to God’s faithfulness to David was obscure to me, at best. Today, with the perspective of passing years, I can readily understand David’s self-assessment of innocence. His lips, he said, were not deceitful (v. 1), his heart could withstand God’s probing search (v. 3), he had kept himself from violence and his feet had not slipped (vs. 4–5). David unquestioningly knew he could throw himself upon the mercy of God’s great love.
I thought of none of this as I read to my dying wife. But what I did begin to understand inwardly even as I read aloud is that every saint who finishes well can make these same claims upon the Lord.
Finishing well … what does that mean? David’s confidence wasn’t that he had lived a perfect life, nor was Cindy’s. But David, and Cindy, and I, had assurance that having long since yielded ourselves to God’s mercy, the outcome was assured. David’s threat was from a pursuing army while Cindy’s was a long illness, yet both of these afflictions and any conceivable other, should be viewed by me as a sword in the hand of an all-powerful God. I must always remember this: as troubles come, they are used by God to drive me deeper into His heart.
By purposing not to sin even in the midst of troubles (v. 3b), I reap a reward that no power can deny me: I will see His face in righteousness when I awake. These were the last words of Scripture Cindy’s earthly ears heard, but think of it! 1 John 3:2 says, “When He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” Sight will no longer be dimmed by dark glasses. I shall be satisfied. Satisfied. Fully filled. Overflowing with perfect knowledge of Him and perfect intimacy in Him.
Prayer: Lord, I long for the day when I, too, will see You face-to-face, when Your likeness will be crisp and clear. Thank You for teaching me through troubles to run into You where I am covered, protected and transformed. I look forward to awakening to see Your face in its fullness. Somehow, I expect You to be grinning.