TEACH ME YOUR PATHS, LORD
Lord, You are all that my heart desires.
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.
“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer” (Joseph Medlicott Scriven, 1820–1886).
Psalm 25 is “a prayer of confidence.” “My God” presupposes an intimate relationship (1,2). The basis of the psalmist’s approach is faith (2a). He is unafraid to ask God to teach him his ways and paths (4). He waits on God all day (5). He remembers God’s work in history, his love and mercy, and on this he trusts (6,7). He knows God and his infinite capabilities. He understands that the path to wisdom, well-being and friendship with God is reverence towards him (12,14). His eyes are ever towards God (15). He is in pain but does not blame God, for he knows that God is good and seeks him (16).
God (the Lord, Elohim) is the psalm’s central focus. Not only “my God,” he is also a guide who directs ways and paths (4,5). He is “God my savior” (5). From “of old” (6), all his paths are steadfast love and faithfulness (10). He is mercy, goodness and uprightness (6,8). He remembers us (7). He is the instructor of sinners and the humble (9), plus the friend of those who fear him (14). He is supremely capable and able to answer petitions.
The psalmist prays for a range of things, notably, victory over enemies, a serious issue in contexts racked with war (2,19,20). He seeks God’s instruction (4,5); that God in his love would remember him (6,7); that he would forgive his sin (7,11); his grace towards him in his loneliness and affliction (16–18); integrity and uprightness (21); and the redemption of the nation (22). With Matthew’s Jesus in mind, “God with us,” what a brilliant choice from the psalms to have as a basis for our prayer today.
Reread the psalm, clause by clause. Make it a prayer to God, Father and Son. Personalize it, placing your story in it. Finish with petition for all God’s people.
Lord, Your boundless love for us and Your infinite capability function as a source of great comfort to Your people.