Summary: God guides us through:1) A Path of Trial (Psalm 25:1-3), 2) A Path for Training (Psalm 25:4–5), 3) A Path for Thought (Psalm 25:6–7), 4) A Path for Teaching(Psalm 25:8-10)
The hardest part of any journey is the part that you have to take alone. It is especially difficult if you have not traveled the path before. When we lose someone we care about so much, like the loss of Doreen this week, we are called to continue the journey of life minus one who has thus far traveled with us.
The journey that the Psalmist recorded in Psalm 25, was one of a path of pain, instruction, reflection, and deliverance. AT what precise period this psalm was written, is not certainly known; but probably about the time of Absalom’s rebellion. It is evident that David’s sorrows were very great: but those which appear to have pressed with the greatest weight upon his mind arose from a view of his past transgressions, and probably from that flagrant iniquity committed by him in the matter of Uriah (Simeon, C. (1836). Horae Homileticae Vol. 5: Psalms, I–LXXII (145). London: Samuel Holdsworth.).
Continuing the journey of faith when we are uncertain of the path, or finding it difficult, is to consider who is with us. Although through the transitions of our lives people will come and go, God remains ever faithful to guide and comfort us.
In considering our way, in the path we should take, God guides us through:
1) A Path of Trial (Psalm 25:1-3)
Psalm 25:1-3. [25:1]To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. (ESV)
Psalm 25, in the form of an acrostic. That is, with a few slight variations, each of the verses of the psalm begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet—the first word of the first verse beginning with aleph, the first word of the second verse beginning with beth, and so on. It is a thoughtful prayer by one who knows that the only adequate foundation for any worthwhile life is God (Boice, J. M. (2005). Psalms 1–41: An Expositional Commentary (222). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.).
As the Psalmist David begins his prayer he opens himself up to God, lifting his soul as an offering is lifted before the altar in sacrifice. At the same time, he confesses his confidence in God. The Hebrew phrase does not mean a temporary raising of the heart to God, but a permanent setting of the affections on him (see Deut. 24:15; and comp. Ps. 24:4) (Psalms Vol. I. 1909 (H. D. M. Spence-Jones, Ed.). The Pulpit Commentary (180–181). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.).
The petition in verse 2, shows to whom David trusted and the reality of an enemy. He turns to his covenant God with his whole being, out of utter dependency on him. The close relationship between the Lord and the psalmist is set forth by the phrase “O my God.” To his God, who cares for him, he can come with confident expectation, as he draws close to him in prayer (“I lift up my soul,” cf. 86:4; 143:8). (VanGemeren, W. A. (1991). Psalms. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Volume 5: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (F. E. Gaebelein, Ed.) (227). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House)
The attitude of trust is the key to the psalmist’s preparation, for trust signifies dependence and hope based upon the covenant character of God. He trusts because God is faithful as the God of the covenant promises; he trusts because those who have trusted in the past have experienced the presence and help of God. Trust, then, is neither naive and misplaced confidence, nor is it self-confidence; it is a human response to God’s self-revelation in covenant and in historical experience, both personal experience and that of the community (Craigie, P. C. (1998). Vol. 19: Psalms 1–50. Word Biblical Commentary (218). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.).
• The enemy common to us all is death itself. God did something about this enemy in sending His Son Jesus Christ. His death, burial and resurrection conquered the grave and His return will mean the end of death forevermore.
In verse 3 David’s previous cry to the Lord is now generalized: “Indeed, none/let no one who wait for/on You be put to shame”. This waiting is not a grim or stoical sense of resignation; rather, it is an eager hopefulness, which looks forward expectantly for God to act (cf. 27:14). Its meaning is well illustrated in Isa. 40:31, “Those who wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Such trust and waiting do not mean blind obedience. The psalmist acknowledges his need for instruction, for teaching in the “ways,” “the paths of the LORD.” (Davidson, R. (1998). The vitality of worship: A commentary on the book of Psalms. International Theological Commentary (89). Grand Rapids, MI; Edinburgh: W.B. Eerdmans; Handsel Press.)