Scriptures

Psalm 25

Introduction

This is a psalm of wisdom that is compiled together with statements of truth. In the Hebrew text, each verse of this psalm begins with a letter of the 22-letter Hebrew alphabet. This Psalm is the first Psalm which is written this way, the others are Psalm 34 / Psalm 37 / Psalm 111 / Psalm 112 / Psalm 119 / Psalm 145.

Commentators give many different reasons for some psalms being written in Hebrew alphabetical order, but I personally think it was written this way to make the learning of the psalm easy and easy to memorise.

Heading

‘Of David.’

Although the headings aren’t inspired by God, they are important because they give us some understanding of the Psalm and they help us to see why it was written. The headings usually tell us four things.

1. Who wrote them, probably wrote them or possibly wrote them.

2. Information about the historical background to the Psalm. Why it was written.

3. They tell us of the tune the Psalm was written to.

4. How it was used.

The heading here, simply tells us that this is of David.

‘In you, LORD my God, I put my trust. I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause. Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, LORD, are good.’ Psalm 25:1-7

Opposite to the person who trusts in idols and swears by false gods, Psalm 24:4, David puts his trust in God and therefore isn’t ashamed, Job 6:20 / Isaiah 30:5 / Jeremiah 8:9 / Jeremiah 14:3-4.

We must remember that the word, ‘shame’ doesn’t always mean embarrassment, here it carries with it the idea of being let down or disappointed, Romans 5:5 / Isaiah 49:23. In other words, David didn’t want to be disappointed in having God protect him.

David had many enemies, all of whom wanted to kill him, hence why he asks God not to let them triumph over him, he didn’t want his enemies to be embarrassed, he prays that his enemies would suffer shame, in the sense of being let down or disappointed.

Notice he wants God to show him His ways, teach him His paths and guide Him in His truth, Deuteronomy 32:4. This tells us how close his relationship with God was but still, he wants to get closer. He was really dependent upon God at all times, and he felt that dependence.

David experienced God’s grace and mercy many times in his life, and so he prays that God would extend the same to those who reach out for His salvation. He had received salvation from God so many times in the past, that it made him want to wait upon the Lord all the more.

Most young people make silly mistakes and make some bad decisions, as a result, when they sin, they have to live with the consequences and the guilt of those sins, here, David asks God not to remember the sins of his youth, and his rebellious ways, Jeremiah 31:34 / Romans 3:25.

‘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. For the sake of your name, LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great. Who, then, are those who fear the LORD? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose. They will spend their days in prosperity, and their descendants will inherit the land. The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare.’ Psalm 25:8-15

David knows that it is only the Lord who can and will instruct the obedient who have lost their way, Matthew 18:3. When we submit in humility to God, James 4:7, then He will teach us His way, the right way, Psalm 139:24. Without total submission to the will of God, no one can expect to be led by God, Romans 12:1-2.

David seeks forgiveness for his great iniquity, which is probably a reference to the adultery he committed with Bathsheba and the ordering of the killing of her husband Uriah, 2 Samuel 11:4-17.

When a person ‘fears the Lord’, that is, revere Him and submit to Him and His will, then God will teach that person His way, Psalm 5:7. In return, they will have peace of mind, and their posterity through their children will continue throughout generations.

In other words, they will enjoy the benefits which come from being in a covenant relationship with God both materialistically and spiritually, Exodus 20:12 / Matthew 5:5.

God made a covenant with Israel at Mount Sinai, Exodus 19-24, He kept His part of the covenant and He expects Israel to keep their part of the covenant.

The Hebrew phrase for ‘the LORD confides’ is ‘the secret of Yahweh,’ which may here be translated by ‘intimate circle’, Genesis 18:17 / Job 19:19 / Job 29:4 / Proverbs 3:32 / John 15:13-15 / 1 John 1:3.

It is to those who have that close relationship with God, that He makes his covenant known, 1 Corinthians 2:14. Those who are His friends are those who are faithful to Him, Genesis 17:9-10 / Exodus 19:5 / Deuteronomy 29:9 / Psalm 132:12.

David wanted to focus on nothing but God, Hebrews 12:1-2, and because he had submitted His life to God, he knew that it would be God who would guard him and free him from his enemies, Psalm 9:15-16 / Psalm 10:9.

‘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 be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, LORD, is in you. Deliver Israel, O God, from all their troubles!’ Psalm 25:16-22

Throughout his life, David had many times when he felt lonely, afflicted and distressed, 2 Corinthians 4:8-10, but when he did, he turned to God in prayer and asked for help.

It’s possible that he was still carrying some guilt over the sins he committed and so he asks God to take all the anguish caused by his sins away.

David trusted God as his refuge, his place of safety and strength and because he was being threatened by his enemies, he calls upon God to guard his life and rescue him.

David desires a perfect heart, and upright life, but perhaps the integrity and uprightness referred to are those righteous attributes of God, which faith rests upon as a guarantee that the Lord will not forfeit His word.

Despite all the loneliness, affliction and distresses David was going through, he prayed to God about it and still took the time to pray for others. He not only wants God to save him from his troubles, but he also prays that God will help Israel in their time of trouble.

Conclusion

As this psalm was written in Hebrew alphabetical, probably because it made it easier to learn and easier to commit to memory, singing psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, Colossians 3:16 / Ephesians 5:19, are a really great way to remind ourselves of what the Scriptures teach and it’s certainly a great way to memorise the Scriptures.

There are parts of the psalm which are used in the song, ‘Unto Thee O Lord’, written by Charles F. Monroe.

Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul
Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul

O my God, I trust in Thee
Let me not be ashamed, let not my enemies triumph over me

Yea let none that wait on Thee be ashamed
Yea let none that wait on Thee be ashamed

O my God, I trust in Thee
Let me not be ashamed, let not my enemies triumph over me

Show me Thy ways, Thy ways, O Lord
Teach me Thy paths, Thy paths, O Lord

O my God, I trust in Thee
Let me not be ashamed, let not my enemies triumph over me

Remember not the sins of my youth
Remember not the sins of my youth

O my God, I trust in Thee
Let me not be ashamed, let not my enemies triumph over me

David’s trust was fully in God and despite going through many difficulties, he walked closely with God as one would do with a friend, Amos 3:3.

His desire was to get to know God even more and so, the more time he spends learning God’s ways, the closer he gets to his Saviour, 2 Peter 3:18.

Go To Psalm 26

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