The Other Side Of The Mountain - The One Year Book of Psalms

The Other Side Of The Mountain

Psalm 17:1-8

A prayer of David.

1O LORD, hear my plea for justice.

Listen to my cry for help.

Pay attention to my prayer,

for it comes from an honest heart.

2Declare me innocent,

for you know those who do right.

3You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night.

You have scrutinized me and found nothing amiss,

for I am determined not to sin in what I say.

4I have followed your commands,

which have kept me from going along with cruel and evil people.

5My steps have stayed on your path;

I have not wavered from following you.

6I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God.

Bend down and listen as I pray.

7Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways.

You save with your strength

those who seek refuge from their enemies.

8Guard me as the apple of your eye.

Hide me in the shadow of your wings.

We cannot be sure when this psalm was written, but some relate it to 1 Samuel 23:24-28, when David was being pursued by King Saul in the wilderness of Maon. In that story David was on one side of the mountain and Saul on the other. David had no idea what Saul was doing on the other side of the mountain—and he probably wasn’t sure what God was up to, either.

Just as Saul and his men were about to close in on David, Saul got a message about a Philistine raid, and so he “quit the chase.” God had saved David again.

Often we fear what is happening on the other side of the “mountains” of our life. People are making decisions about us or events are changing our life, and we have no control over them. We worry about what may happen to us.

But God promises to watch over us always, though we don’t always know exactly how he will take care of us. Still, we can trust him. We are the apple of his eye, and we can call on him to hide us in the shadow of his wings. So there is no need to fear what is on the other side of the mountain.

Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth;

Shelters thee under his wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!

Hast thou not seen how thy desires e’er have been

Granted in what he ordaineth?


The “apple of your eye” (verse 8) is literally the “daughter” of the eye—that which is dearest and most precious. See also Deuteronomy 32:10; Proverbs 7:2; and Zechariah 2:8.

If you want a simple outline for this prayer psalm, it is (1) heard, (2) held, and (3) hidden. As W. Graham Scroggie says, he who is heard, held, and hidden by the Lord need not fear the fiercest foe.

From the Book:

The One Year Book of Psalms cover image

The One Year Book of Psalms
By William Petersen, Randy Petersen, and Tyndale

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