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Psalm 25: Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah

Although this Psalm may have been written by David when he was facing some difficult time, it has abiding relevance for us today. David uses the term “shame” or “ashamed” three times in the opening verses.  While we use those terms to mean embarrassed, or feeing foolish, disgraced or dishonored the Bible uses the terms differently.  Jesus said, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Mann will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory” (Luke 9:26).  Also, Paul wrote: “I am not ashamed of the gospel” (Rom. 1:16).  The Bible uses the terms differently. The idea is that of being let down or disappointed or of having trusted in something that in the end proves unworthy of our trust.  Paul used it so we can understand what the Bible means: In the older KJV, we have “Hope makes not ashamed” (Rom. 5:5).  The NKJV renders that verse “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  This means that the Christian’s hope will never be exposed as being vain, illusory.  This is the concept David had in mind: David said God would never let him down.  We need to know that the Lord will not let us down.  Paul reiterates this in his first letter to Timothy: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Tim. 2:13).  Therefore, this Psalm is not a psalm of anguish but of mature trust and confidence in God and especially important instruction for us.

Just as David faced difficult situations in his life, we, too, face situations in our life that we cannot control: sickness, loss of a loved one, family problems, financial setbacks, persecution, injustices, attacks from other people.  David in this Psalm teaches us how to handle such problems: Turn and trust in God.  If we are honest, we will admit that we are not able to deal with the adversities of life on our own. Therefore, as David:

Trust and call upon God and present your crisis to Him: That your enemies (trouble, trials) are about to overpower you (vv. 1-2).

Express your confidence in God: That we will not be disgraced, but that wicked deceivers will be (v. 3).

David knew that if he was to remain faithful to the Lord he needed to be taught by God so he could walk in the ways of the Lord: “Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. 5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day” (v. 4-5).  Now he asks the Lord to "show," "teach," and "lead." True discipleship engages the whole person. Beloved, we cannot pretend that we are serving the Lord if we do not obey Him in all that He requires:

“Why do you call me “Lord, Lord,” and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great. (Luke 6:46-49)

David in verses 6 and 7 pled for mercy which is enduring (Psa. 103:17): "But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting."  He knew that he was not perfect in his life and needed God’s mercy of forgiveness.  God forgives those who turn to Him in their sins seeking forgiveness and He guides those who are willing to receive His teaching. (v. 8-11).

David also describes the character of those who trust in God and seek to sincerely serve Him (12-14).  The essential trait of a disciple in these verses is that he fears God. This "fear" is really a sense of reverence before God's holiness and majesty. It also includes recognition of God's awesome power.  David informs us that God will confide in those who trust in Him. The Hebrew word for “confides” is a noun meaning “secret” (KJV) or perhaps “counsel” (see HCSB).  The thought here is the Lord shares and fellowships with all who reverence Him.  The most important decision one can make in life is to choose to reverence and obey the Lord.  This decision will not only affect us in this life, but also in eternity.

“But in every nation, he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Ac. 10:35).

“And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding” (Jb. 28:28).

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl. 12:13).

In verses 15-22 is David’s plea for deliverance.  In true judgment God must turn away from us, but in His grace, we are permitted to have fellowship with Him. Thus, David cries, as he did in verses 5-7, "Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me."  David describes the consequences of sin:  he feels "desolate," that is, alone. He is "afflicted," or "humbled." The "troubles" or, literally, the constrictions of his heart have increased. "Bring me out of my distresses!" he cries.  "Look on my affliction and my pain, /And forgive all my sins" (v. 18). David knew that God alone could rescue him from his sin and his enemies.

Some important lessons to take away from this wonderful Psalm: (1) Sin carries painful, long-lasting consequences and we should seek God’s forgiveness. (2) To walk with the Lord, we must serve Him in obedience and righteous living. (3) When we are facing some crisis in life whether sin or difficult situations we should turn to the Lord because He is the only one that can deliver us.

“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55:7).