Rather than seeing in David’s words an appeal to be heard because of his own righteousness, we should take note of the comparisons being drawn between David and the wicked. The first delineation between God’s people and those who are outside of the kingdom has been alluded to already in verse 1. As one redeemed by the blood of the lamb, David acknowledges his indebtedness to the Lord, as well as the Lord’s mercy and promise to hear His people. As Israel’s cries went up before the Lord, so too David knows that his King and God will hear him as well. Thus, rather than underscoring David’s promise to pray,1 it seems to be the case that David’s petition hinges on what he lacks. He is – like the sojourner, fatherless child, widow, and poor man2 – devoid of any merit in himself. He has nothing but the promise of God to hear the cries of the oppressed.
And this is precisely how we are to pray, according to our Lord. Our confidence lies in God’s goodness toward us, not our goodness toward Him. Our Lord Jesus commands us to pray this way:
“Our Father in heaven,hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”3
We are to come boldly to the throne of grace, as mentioned above, but we are to do so with the full awareness of our lack of daily bread (apart from God’s gracious provision), our need for forgiveness (as evidenced in our forgiving others of their sins against us), and our inability to keep away from temptation and falling into sin (apart from God’s gracious restraint of our sinful nature).