Psalm 17

Talks for Growing Christians

Protection for This Life, and Prospect for the Life to Come

Psalm 17

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Lesson Number 11

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The eye and wings of the Lord are the greatest protection for the believer.
  2. The face and likeness of the Lord are the greatest prospect for the believer.

Practical Application

  1. Let Scripture keep you from slipping.


  1. What was the cause for David’s prayer in this psalm?
  2. Are verses 1-3 proof of salvation by good works?
  3. What does David mean when he asks to be the apple of the Lord’s eye?
  4. How does David contrast himself with the wicked in verses 13-15?
  5. How was David kept from the path of the violent? How was he able to stay in the steps of the Lord?


  1. David prayed for deliverance from the danger that was immediately threatening him. He was urgent in his call for help, because his need was pressing.
  2. No! In context David is calling on God to vindicate him and rescue him from the forces that are surrounding him. David is not claiming that he is perfect, but he is blameless and just in this situation while the enemy is wrong and unjust.
  3. The apple of the eye is the pupil, which is the source of sight. David is asking for the Lord not only to keep a watchful eye on David, but to make David the focus of His attention.
  4. The wicked live for this life only. They are satisfied with the temporal and transitory things that God allows them to have in this life. But David is looking forward to the ultimate satisfaction of enjoying the Lord’s presence forever when he would be completely righteous.
  5. By the Word. The Word of God is the answer to the problem of backsliding. Scripture will keep you from slipping.


  1. Discuss the word picture of being the apple of God’s eye and under the shadow of His wing. Which appeals to you more at this time in your spiritual life?
  2. David looked forward to being in the Lord’s presence. How can you develop and strengthen this attitude in your own life? How is this attitude affected by your focus on temporal and transitory things?


  1. Do you get a steady diet of Scripture every day? Scripture is the secret for sanctification. Let Scripture keep you from slipping.

Key Verses

  • "By the word of Your lips, I have kept away from the paths of the destroyer." Psalms 17:4
  • "Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings." Psalms 17:8

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