Psalm 25

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, March 25, 2019 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

I’ve heard it said that when you don’t know what to pray, you can use the psalms as a guide and pray the psalms. Today we’re going to look at Psalm 25, which is a great example of a psalm that functions well as a prayer. I encourage you to read it in its entirety before continuing on with this post.

The basic structure of this psalm is that it starts out with a prayer for deliverance in verses 1-3, a prayer for guidance forgiveness in verses 4-7, assurance of God’s working in verses 8-10, another brief request for forgiveness in verse 11, the response to God’s forgiveness in verses 12-14, and finally a prayer for deliverance and protection in verses 15-22. This psalm was written by King David, though it’s unclear at what point in his life he wrote it.

The psalm starts out in verse 1 with a declaration of trust in God: “In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.” This really sets the foundation for the entire psalm, because without trust in God, why even ask Him for anything? We have to have that trust as a foundation of our faith, or else our faith is meaningless. If we are trusting in anything other than God, then we would expect who or what we have our trust in to help us, and anyone or anything else will fail us at some point. If your trust isn’t fully in God (as I know mine isn’t all the time), then this is a prayer we all need to pray, that we would trust God more. This statement may not be so much a statement of fact as it is a plea for what we desire.

Verses 2-3 then show us the confidence that comes from that trust, that no enemy will triumph over the one who fully trusts in God. No evil can overpower him because the God He trusts in is all-powerful. Shame will come on his enemies who don’t trust in God, not on himself.

The psalm continues with David asking God for guidance and forgiveness. While David is confident in what God can and will do, he also needs to remain humble and submit to God’s guidance in his life. He asks God to teach him and guide him (verses 4-5). David desires to imitate God, as we should as well. We’re not necessarily called to submit to a list of laws and rules, but instead to submit to following our Savior no matter what.

Verse 7 is a prayer for forgiveness: “Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good.” David doesn’t deserve forgiveness on account of what he has done, since he is clearly a sinner, but on account of God’s character. God is good and loves His people, so because of that David can confidently ask God to be forgiven for all the times he has messed up on that.

Verses 8-10 build on the character of God that we saw in verse 7. We see in more detail how God is good, how He guides and teaches His people, and how He is loving and faithful to those who follow Him. Since God never changes, we know all of this is true of God today as well! We can count on God to always exemplify these characteristics.

Verse 11 is another request for forgiveness, similar to the one we saw in verse 7: “For the sake of your name, Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.” Again, David knows that he does not at all deserve God’s forgiveness, but God and His name are so great that they can cover all of David’s sins. Our sins are great as well, but God’s name is still greater that we can ask for and receive that forgiveness too!

David’s response to God’s forgiveness is in verses 12-14. When he knows he is forgiven, he responds to that with “the fear of the Lord” (verse 12), which is the Old Testament way of indicating being a disciple or follower of God. God will teach us how to follow Him and will make His promises known to us, on account of the forgiveness we have received by confessing our sins and believing in Him.

In the last section of the psalm, verses 15-22, David prays for God to deliver him and protect him. This section contains a number of imperatives (commands): turn to me, be gracious, relieve, free me, look on me, take away, guard my life, rescue me, etc. All these petitions and requests of God are framed by declarations of trust: “My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare” (verse 15) and “May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you” (verse 21). David has confidence that God will deliver him and grant all these requests for help because of who God is.

In the last verse, David turns his attention onto the nation of Israel as a whole instead of just focusing on his own life. This both invites Israel to pray this psalm with David, as well as inviting us to pray it and to focus on the bigger picture outside of our own troubles. We all have difficulties in our individual lives, but so does our nation and the broader family of our brothers and sisters in Christ across the world. We are encouraged to pray for not only ourselves and our immediate circle, but also for the bigger picture of what God is doing in the world.

I challenge you this week to pray Psalm 25 for yourself. Declare your trust in God. Ask for his forgiveness. Respond to that forgiveness by following God with your life. Request that God lead and guide you through life. Be confident in God’s character, that He always loves you and you can fully put your hope and trust in Him.

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