Main point summary
Afflicted and needy David calls to God, deliberately, urgently, confident in God's commitment to His name.
The final verse of Psalm 25 is David's cry to God for Israel. Having called out to God for his own troubles (verses 1-21), in verse 22 David extends his cry on behalf of Israel. Setting aside this final verse (for now), the Pslam's main point is in verse 15. Caught in trouble and affliction, and hated by his enemies, David looks to the LORD alone for rescue. The remainder of the Psalm reveals how David does this, and is structured in three sections: David's considered prayers (verses 1-7), his brief and urgent prayers ( verse 16-21 ), and the grounds for his prayers (verses 8-14) . Verses 1-7 - Considered prayers for guidance David initial prayer states the direction of his soul: To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. David directs his soul towards God. God is the object of his trust. David then calls to the LORD with three broad requests. In each he acknowledges conditions for a favourable response: let me not be put to shame ... none who wait for you shall be put to shame. What causes us to be put to shame? We are put to shame when we are found to have put our hopes in the untrustworthy, and neglected the trustworthy. We see this in Jeremiah 10:14: Every man is stupid and without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his images are false, and there is no breath in them. The goldsmith is put to shame because the idols in which he hoped are shown to be false. How might we be put to shame? We might trust in the prestige or security of our position: our job, our possessions, our reputation. These things fail; the things we boasted in are found to be untrustworthy. We are put to shame. When David prays, let me not be put to shame , he also acknowledges that none who wait for you shall but put to shame . David has come to the conviction that LORD will never be found untrustworthy. make me to know your ways ... because you are the God of my salvation and I wait for you all the day long. David does not only pray 'teach me your ways', but he prays 'make me to know' your ways. He needs a supernatural teacher to not just teach, but to lead. He asks for this because the Lord is his hope all the day long. As we pursue satisfaction in entertainment or other distractions, we show that God is not our hope, and we have no claim to ask him to lead and teach us. remember me according to your steadfast love ... (not because of me but) so that your goodness may be renowned. David asks God to remember his mercy: Call to mind your mercy Lord. Call to mind your steadfast unfailing love. Remember not my sins, O LORD; by the standard of your steadfast love remember me. Why does David want God to remember him? Look at the final clause of verse 7. For the sake of his goodness. Remember me according to your steadfast love, so that your goodness would be magnified. Do not remember me on the basis of my worthiness, but remember me according to the standard of your steadfast love, and so that your goodness would be made known. Verses 16-21 Urgent prayers for help Mostly these are short requests coupled with a cry of deep need: turn to me, be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted (verse 16), the troubles of my heart are enlarged therefore bring me out of my distress (verse 17) consider my affliction and my trouble (verse 18) forgive my sin (verse 18) consider how many are my foes (verse 19) consider with what violent hatred they hate me (verse 19) David asks God to view his afflicted situation, and trusts God to take care of the rest. Verse 8-14 The ground for David's prayers David's prayers are grounded in his knowledge of God. The LORD is good and upright. The LORD's goodness means that he instructs sinners and leads the humble (see the 'therefore' in verse 8); and David counts himself part of this number. David asks the LORD to teach him his paths (verse 4), because he knows that these paths are steadfast love and faithfulness (verse 10). Note the conditional nature of verse 10 - God's steadfast love and faithfulness are only experienced by those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.What did David mean? We can see it does not mean to be without sin, because in verse 8 the LORD teaches sinners his ways. He instructs sinners in the way and leads the humble in what is right. We should acknowledge our sin, humble ourselves under his mighty hand, and learn from him. From the immediate context (verse 11-14), to keep his covenant and his testimonies means at least four things: (verse 11) I know and feel the depth of my sin ('it is great'). My sin, and my resultant guilt, is very great. I know that God's commitment to his own name ('for your name's sake') is the only grounds for pardon from my sin. David does not seek pardon based on his own religious faithfulness. He asks God to pardon his great sin, for the purpose of upholding His name. This implies that God's grace (his favour towards those who deserve punishment) is at the core of God's character. But God's glory is ultimately shown through his grace (Eph 1:2-6) I ask God, because of his commitment to his own name, to pardon my sin. [And I trust that God has indeed upheld the honour of his name and propitiated my sin through the death of his son Jesus. (Romans 3:23-25)] I fear God. This fear does not drive me away but towards him, that I might learn from him (verse 12). It is a fear that leads to inner well being (verse 13), and a friendship with the LORD (verse 14). See also Hosea 3:5.
To you, O Lord , I o lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I p trust;
q let me not be put to shame;
r let not my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, s none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
they shall be ashamed who are t wantonly u treacherous.
v Make me to know your ways, O Lord ;
teach me your paths .
Lead me in your w truth
and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.
Remember your x mercy, O Lord ,
and your steadfast love,
y for they have been from of old.
Remember not z the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your a steadfast love remember me,
for the sake of your goodness , O Lord !
b Good and upright is the Lord ;
therefore he c instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the Lord are d steadfast love and faithfulness ,
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
For your e name’s sake , O Lord ,
pardon my guilt ,
for it is f great.
Who is the man who fears the Lord ?
Him c will he instruct in the way that he should choose.
His soul shall g abide in well-being,
and his h offspring i shall inherit the land.
j The friendship 1 of the Lord is for those who fear him,
and he makes known to them his covenant.
My k eyes are ever toward the Lord ,
for he will l pluck my feet out of the net.
m Turn to me
and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
bring me out of my distresses .
n Consider my affliction and my trouble ,
and forgive all my sins .
Consider how many are my foes ,
and with what violent hatred they hate me.
Oh, guard my soul,
and deliver me!
o Let me not be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
for I wait for you.
p Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.
This is comforting ... that God instructs sinners in the way. He leads and teaches humble sinners. He instructs those who fear him .
David asks that, for the sake of his name, the LORD might pardon David's great guilt. Why does David want the Lord's name to be reason ( or purpose) for this action? How does pardoning guilt enhance God's reputation? By forgiving sins the Lord's renown for mercy is enhanced.
How do these qualities relate to the ones mentioned in the note at verse 8b? What is the relationship between integrity/uprightness on the one hand, and recognising oneself as a sinner /being humble/ fearing the Lord on the other?
Why the switch from the individual personal perspective to the national perspective? Is this statement a summary of the psalm? Is it recasting the individual lament on a national scale?
The psalmist talks: about God to God
The rescuer take the initiative. But rescue efforts may be triggered by the needy one crying out for help.
God's goodness does not change. Therefore I expect this means for the sake of your goodness being manifest.
We have choices, the Lord instructs us in these choices.
Enjoyment of God's goodness is conditional: He instructs sinners (verse 8) He leads the humble (verse 9) His steadfast love for those who keep his covenant (verse 10) What is covenant keeping (verse 11-14): acknowledging sin and asking for pardon (verse 11) honoring the LORD's commitment to his own name (verse 11) fearing the LORD (verse 12-14) What is fearing the LORD (verse 12-14): knowing his mercy ( verse 6 ), goodness (verse 8), righteousness (verse 8), steadfast love and faithfulness (verse 10), friendship (verse 14); being teachable in His ways (verse 12), being teachable in His covenant (verse 14)
How does David look to God? From a position of weakness, he cries for help. Weakness in that he is: lonely (verse 16) troubled, distressed (verse 17), afflicted, at least partly due to his own sin (verse 18) surrounded by enemies who hate him (verse 19) confused and in need of guidance (verse 4) He looks to God with confidence in God's goodness (verse 8-14).
To not wait on the LORD is treachery.
What does David mean by Israel? David speaks on behalf of the nation, which God rescued out of Egypt. What does it mean to redeem? To redeem is to release; to set free.