Psalm 25: whispers from heaven
(1)In you, LORD my God, I put my trust.
(2)I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.
(3)No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.
(4)Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths.
(5)Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
(6)Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.
(7)Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, LORD, are good.
(8)Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
(9)He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.
(10)All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
(11)For the sake of your name, LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
(12)Who, then, are those who fear the LORD? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.
(13)They will spend their days in prosperity, and their descendants will inherit the land.
(14)The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.
(15)My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare.
(16)Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.
(17)Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.
(18)Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins.
(19)See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me!
(20)Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
(21)May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, LORD, is in you.
(22)Deliver Israel, O God, from all their troubles!
"A psalm of David. David is pictured in this psalm as a faithful miniature. His holy trust, his many conflicts, his great transgression, his bitter repentance, and his deep distresses are all here; so that we see the very heart of 'a man after God's own heart.'"
David faced many crises in his life as a young man and as king, so it is hard to identify at what point this was written. Although he speaks of the sins and rebellion of his youth, so we can assume this was written sometime later in his life.
Psalm 25 is an acrostic poem, which means each line begins with a letter from the Hebrew alphabet and follows the appropriate order, like A to Z. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet and 22 verses to this psalm.
To bring beauty and poetry to the Bible? God created beautiful things, including poetry, why wouldn't He want to include some in His Bible?
To help with memorization? Charles Spurgeon calls it "an alphabet song." Why not?
Whatever the reason, it was clearly intentional. What a wonderful reminder that every word and story in the Bible is true and deliberately placed there by the hand of God.
In you, LORD my God, I put my trust. I trust in you... (NIV)
Do you think David was reminding God that he trusted Him even in this time of worry and fear? Or do you think David was reminding himself who he trusts in? Maybe both?
Have there been times in your life when you've cried out these words to the Lord? "I do trust you, Lord, even when I don't feel it..."
I do believe making this statement out loud during times of crises is so important. We must call on the name of the Lord, in whom we trust, who knows all and loves without pause. We must boldly call on the name of the Lord, always, even when we feel distant.
But in the that cry to our loving Father there is a tender caress of the heart, a surrender of all that is painful and of this world, the small voice of the Father's Spirit... "yes, let it go. I am here. I am trustworthy."
Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD. Jeremiah 17:7
Jesus reminds us of this very thing in the New Testament, when the leader of the local synagogue, Jairus, came to him begging for him to heal his very sick daughter. We know the story... Jesus got sidetracked along the way by the woman who desperately wanted to touch his cloak. Jairus must have been a wreck and agonizing with fear for his daughter, after all he had fallen at Jesus's feet to beg for help. I am sure that did not happen often with the local leader of the synagogue, in that society he would've been a powerful man. Then to have Jesus not walk FAST enough. And then to get sidetracked by that woman! Right? But Jesus knew. He KNEW how Jairus felt.
While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. "Your daughter is dead," they said. "Why bother the teacher anymore?"
Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, "Don't be afraid; just believe."
Can you imagine Jesus placing a hand on the trembling man's shoulder and looking him in the eye, "Don't be afraid; just believe."
That's it, isn't it? Faith.
That's what this entire psalm is about...faith. David knew to call on the name of the Lord when he was afraid.
Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. ESV
David calls often upon his salvation. He had clearly given his life over to the Lord as a young boy, and throughout his life, as we see in the psalms, he speaks of his salvation.
David Guzik says this, "We should regard the salvation David received here as being rescued in a broad sense. Spiritually speaking, he was rescued from despair and sin, both for now and in the life to come. Yet God also rescued his life and health again and again in the present age."
King David goes on asking God to remember his mercy and kindness of old. But he says it in an interesting way. If you have access on the Bible app, compare versions of verse 6. It gives a bigger picture of David's meaning in this verse.
Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old.
Lovingkindness is an all-encompassing word to describe the character of God. But David said "lovingkindnesses" in plural. Then he went on to claim these many wonderous deeds as ancient...from the beginning. Wow!
The Hebrew word for lovingkindness is "hesed," and speaks of God's covenant love to His people.
"This is the love by which he enters into a favorable relationship with his people, promising to be their God."
--James Montgomery Boice
David continued with a plea of these great lovingkindnesses that have come, not only all his life, but since the beginning of time. David clings, with faith, to God's goodness and faithfulness forever.
"A more correct translation would be "from eternity." David was a sound believer in the doctrine of God's eternal love. The Lord's lovingkindnesses are no novelties."
Interestingly, after David pleads for God to "remember," he begs for God to forget.
Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, LORD, are good.
David's sins weighed upon his heart. He cried out to God here to forgive him (again!) and to remember him, "please, Father, don't turn your back on me. Remember me, not my sins. Remember me in your goodness and faithfulness and great, great love."
Thankfully God remembers us despite our sin and despite the evil in the world. He does not turn His back on us, not because of our own goodness, but because of His. He is faithful, always. Of old.
Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
The thing with David is that he was not perfect. He was a sinner, and his sins are plastered on the pages of the Bible for generations upon generations to read. But David knew he was a sinner, and he also knew that God was faithful to him, despite his sin. That, my friends, is a humble heart, and what God expects of us.
Thankfully God does not expect perfection.
God expects a humble heart.
"Meek spirits are in high favour with the Father of the meek and lowly Jesus, for he sees in them the image of his only-begotten Son."
For the sake of your name, LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
Our sins are great. David's sins were many. My sins are many.
I love what David Guzik says about this: "We can only imagine a criminal in a court of law appealing to the judge on this basis. 'Your honor, find me not guilty, because my crimes have been many and large.'
...David seems to know the freedom and peace that comes from saying, 'LORD, I know that I am a great sinner, but You are an even greater Savior. I humbly submit myself to You and ask you to pardon my iniquity.'"
As if this psalm couldn't get any better... let's look at verse 14 in a couple different translations.
The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. NIV
The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant. KJV
The friendship of Jehovah is with them that fear him; And he will show them his covenant. ASV
What does this mean???
"The Hebrew idiom for 'the LORD confides' is 'the secret of Yahweh,' which may here be translated by 'intimate circle.' Those who do his will are his confidants, as was Abraham."
--Willem VanGemeren, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament and Semitic Languages
(You can find this same word used in these verses as well: Job 19:19; 29:4, Proverbs 3:32, Genesis 18:17)
"Whether we translate the first word 'secret' or 'friendship,' the sense is substantially the same. Obedience and the true fear of Jehovah directly tend to discernment of His purposes, and will besides be rewarded by whispers from heaven."
Whispers from heaven!!!
The rest of psalm 25 reminds us that King David was in distress, something was happening and he was calling out for help from his heavenly Father. His feet were caught in a snare.
But though his feet were caught in a trap and his world was falling around him, David knew what he needed most was God.
Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.
Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins.
See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me!
Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, LORD, is in you.
David had many enemies, even within his own house, but the thing that David feared the most was that God would turn His back on him.
Wow. That is faith.
Deliver Israel, O God, from all their troubles!
The 17th century English theologian, Matthew Poole, summarizes David's closing sentence as this:
"Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles. If thou will not pity and help me, yet spare thy people, who suffer for my sake, and in my sufferings."
What a blessing this little alphabet psalm is. What a gem.
Father in heaven, may we have faith like David. May we call upon you in good times and bad. May we seek you, fear you, and trust in you when all the world seems to fall around us. When we fear for tomorrow, may we cry out to you and seek you. The more the world screams around us, the more we seek you and your whisper from heaven. Thank you, Father, that in the midst of chaos and sickness and division and worry and fear, you never change; you remain steadfast and true. Strengthen us by your mighty hand and great love.