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17. LORD, Listen to My Righteous Plea

Text Information
First Line: LORD, listen to my righteous plea
Title: LORD, Listen to My Righteous Plea
Versifier: Helen Otte (1982)
Meter: 884 D
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Topic: Deliverance; Enemies & Persecution; Funerals (5 more...)
Copyright: Text and music © 1987, CRC Publications
Tune Information
Composer: Jack Grotenhuis (1983)
Meter: 884 D
Key: G Major
Copyright: Text and music © 1987, CRC Publications

Text Information:

An appeal for deliverance from ungodly foes.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-5
st. 2 = vv. 6-8
st. 3 = vv. 8-9
st. 4 = vv. 10-13
st. 5 =vv. 14-15

Psalm 17 asks God, the heavenly King and Judge, to protect his faithful servant from the unprovoked attacks of godless enemies. It appears that the enemies hope to profit from the psalmist's death or downfall, perhaps to fatten their purses with worldly wealth (v. 14), and they seem to have the power to bring him down (vv. 10-12). As in many psalms, it could be that the enemies attack the LORD's anointed with false accusations (v. 10), and the only recourse is to call for God's righteous judgment. The psalmist appeals to God to hear his just cause (st. 1) and declares trust in God's safekeeping (st. 2). A prayer follows, in which the psalmist implores God for safe sanctuary and rescue from plotting and threatening enemies (st. 3-4) and expresses full confidence in God's provision and in the believer's ultimate joy in God's presence (st. 5).

Helen Ann (Brink) Otte (b. Grand Rapids, MI, 1931) versified this psalm in 1982 for the Psalter Hymnal. She received her education at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has worked as a teacher, proofreader, and librarian. She was a member of the Poets' Workshop that worked with the revision committee to prepare psalm versifications for the 1987 Psalter Hymnal. Since 1986 Otte has resided in Downs, Kansas, where she is active as a freelance writer of children's stories and dramas, some of which have been published in Reformed Worship under the name Helen Walter.

Liturgical Use:
Situations of threat from the enemies of God's people; remembrance of the suffering of Christ at the hands of those who falsely accused him.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

Jack M. Grotenhuis (b. Bellingham, WA, 1956; d. Tempe, AZ, 1983) composed BERNARD for this text in November 1983, a few weeks before he died in a traffic accident. His wife, Kathy, first used BERNARD with her choir at Second Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona, in February 1984. Grotenhuis's parents named the tune in honor of Bernard Haan, a close boyhood friend of Jack's. The tune consists of two very long, almost identical lines; both resolve their quarter-note rhythms into stately half notes at the cadences. The harmony invites four-part singing at a moderate tempo.

Grotenhuis studied music at Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa, and the University of lowa, and taught music at Lynden Christian High School, Lynden, Washington, from 1979 to 1981. Like his father, Dale (PHH 4), his main interest was in choral music, but he also loved jazz. He had almost completed his doctoral program in choral music at [Arizona State University (correction added by Hymnary editor] the University of Arizona when he died.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1998

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