GOODNESS AND MERCY
Almighty God, teach me what it means to fear You.
Read Psalm 25
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.[b]
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,[c] is in you.
22 Deliver Israel, O God,
from all their troubles!
a Psalm 25:1 This psalm is an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
b Psalm 25:12 Or ways he chooses
c Psalm 25:21 Septuagint; Hebrew does not have Lord.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhen you read of “the fear of the Lord,” how does this make you feel?
There are times in our lives where we are not sure of the path ahead, times where we may be betrayed by those we love or overwhelmed by difficult circumstances.
This psalm finds David in anguish (17b): lonely, afflicted, distressed (16,18) and surrounded by his enemies (2,19). David does not hide behind false, spiritual clichés, but instead he is brutally honest about his worries and insecurities.
Reacting to his circumstances, he reminds himself of the goodness of God (7b)—a God who exhibits mercy and love (6)—and he puts himself in God’s hands (15). David asks God for guidance, to “show me your paths” (4) and “guide me in your truth.” And David doesn’t only point the blame at those wishing him harm. He has a realistic view of himself, and is aware of his own wrongdoing and brokenness (7,11,18b).
Ultimately David stresses the importance of the “fear of the Lord.” Eugene Peterson describes this as a posture whereby we “interrupt our preoccupation with ourselves and attend to God” (Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology, 43). Fear of the Lord requires humility (9) and dependence, but ultimately it also brings us closer to the one who made us (14).
Are you battling worries and insecurities? Write them down, turn them into requests to God and keep them in a place where you can revisit them down the road. See how God comes through.
Pray through this psalm, putting your life in God’s hands and asking God to show you a way forward.