Meditations in David’s Psalms : 29 : Trust, Guidance, Forgiveness – Psa 25:1-10
Psa 25:1 In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.
As this is quite a large psalm we will take it in two halves and the first half has as its contents those three aspects in our title: trust, guidance & forgiveness. We might suggest that they flow in a logical order. When we come to a place where we trust the Lord, we are then open to His guidance. As He brings guidance into our lives, we realise He knows all things and understands all things and has what we might call ‘standards’, and we soon realise that we have not been living up to those standards and are in need of His forgiveness. So let’s look at what David writes.
Trust: He starts out with this clear declaration: “In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.” (v.1) I know we have commented on it in previous psalms but it is significant and therefore bears repeating. Notice the capital letters of ‘LORD’. This is the name, the I AM, revealed to Moses. It is The revealed name and it’s the name by which David acknowledges God, the God of their history. This is the One he has come to know over the years, the One in whom he now trusts. Now this ‘trust’ is a very practical thing: “I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.” (v.2) He trusts the Lord to keep him safe when there is a threat from his enemies.
This means that he can be at peace knowing that the Lord will be there for him in a very practical way. Being defeated by an enemy would mean both he, Israel and the Lord being put to shame. This is what drove him when Goliath was challenging the armies of Israel. He considered shame was being brought on Israel and on the name of the Lord because of what was happening and that provoked him into action. Whatever are the present circumstances, that is what he now fears. But now, because of his knowledge of the Lord, he has a confidence: “ No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.” (v.3) ‘Hoping in the Lord’ is no casual wanting something to come about but a strong assurance that God is there and acts on our behalf. When we have this strong assurance, then we can also know that God will turn up for us, but those who are violent and all out for themselves, they are the ones who will know shame.
Guidance: Having this strong assurance of the Lord being there for him, David has a further confidence, that he can ask the Lord to bring him into a closer understand of the way the Lord works “ Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.” (v.4) That’s almost exactly the same as Moses asked of the Lord (Ex 33:13). Show me the way you work please Lord, show me where you go, what you do; I want to know because I want to learn to walk more closely with you (implied). This is a very practical request for guidance; this is no mere intellectual request. It is a request that will bring a radical change to his life. He continues, “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long.” (v.5) David’s trust is in God who has been his saviour, that He knows best and His ways are the right ways, and so he, too, wants to walk in them. But even as he thinks on this, he realises that he falls short of God’s standards, which takes us on to the next section.
Forgiveness: He appeals to the Lord’s mercy and love: “Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.” (v.6) i.e. in His revelation to His people, the Lord has shown Himself to be a God of love and mercy so with this in mind, David feels secure enough to pray, “ Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good.” (v.7) David is aware that he hasn’t always had this awareness of the Lord and so he needs God’s forgiveness for the times in his youth when he was less than what he should have been. He is also aware that he still has a propensity to be self-centred and self-seeking and ignoring the Lord. What a measure of self-awareness! But in his appeal he reveals a further awareness that many of us either do not realise or are not sure about – that God is good! And so he continues: “Good and upright is the Lord.” (v.8a) This is a further confidence that he has, that whatever dealings the Lord has with him, they will be for his good and they will be good.
Because everything the Lord does is good, the ways He deals with different people will be good and appropriate and, thus, “therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.” (v.8b) Sinners, by definition, are not living according to the way God has designed them and therefore they need correcting, or teaching, bringing back to the right way. But then there are those who are not proud and self-centred: “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.” (v.9) These people He will guide and show them the way He wants them to go. They are open to Him (unlike the proud) and so He can guide them into the ways of blessing (implied).
Again and again David reveals his confidence in the Lord. Here comes another time: “All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.” (v.10) Keeping the covenant expressed through the Law was the means of doing what God required and for those people, David knew by experience, that would mean blessing because the Lord was loving and faithful.