Psalm 25:1-7 – “Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. 2 O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. 3 Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. 4 Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. 5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.6 Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. 7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD.”
Regret, sorrow and disappointment cast a dark cloud over the lives of many I have known in the course of my life and ministry; in fact, only a man with a seared conscience can deny we all have cause for regret when we reflect on sinful choices in the past. Consider some ways humanity deals with regret.
Some live with the burden of sin and regret in what John Bunyan described as the “slough of despondency” in his classic novel, The Pilgrim’s Progress. They wrestle in the mire of sin and sorrow and, rather than repent of their sin and turn to Christ, they turn back to the very sins that pierced their soul with regret and disappointment. Others amuse their thoughts with sinful distractions that offer the salve of temporal delights, but leave their souls void of lasting joy (after all, the literal meaning of “amuse” is not to think). Many deal with regret, falling into the ancient rut of “blame shifting”, and go through life blaming loved ones for the consequences of their own sinful choices. Finally, the epidemic use of alcohol and drugs offers ample evidence that a man might dull the piercing sorrow of regret, but they offer no lasting salve for the soul.
I have not asked, but what have you done with your regret, sorrow and disappointments? You will see in the opening verses of Psalm 25 that David models for believers that the answer to trials, troubles and regret is prayer and faith (Psalm 25:1-7).
Psalm 25:1-7 – “Unto thee, O LORD [Jehovah; Eternal God], do I lift up [remove; take away] my soul [life; person]. 2 O my God [Almighty God], I trust [trust; confident; bold] in thee: let me not be ashamed [confounded; disappointed; put to shame], let not mine enemies [foes; adversary] triumph [rejoice; exult] over me.”
Many believe this psalm was written in the last years of David’s life and, though a man after God’s own heart, he struggled with sorrows and confessed the reality that his enemies relished the opportunity of reveling in his troubles and trials. The king cried out to God, “Unto thee, O Lord”—I might add, and “thee alone” (25:1). David expressed faith that, even though he was physically frail and emotionally fragile, his trust and confidence had not wavered in God.
Psalm 25:3 – “Yea, let none that wait [look; hope] on thee be ashamed [confounded; disappointed; put to shame]: let them be ashamed [confounded; disappointed; put to shame] which transgress [offend; act deceitfully] without cause.
David pleads for the LORD to save him from his enemies, not only for his sake, but also for the sake of all who call upon the name of the God of Israel (25:3a). Indeed, if someone should be put to shame, let it be those who have sinned and transgressed against the LORD and His law (25:3b).
Psalm 25:4-5 – “Shew me thy ways [road; path], O LORD [Jehovah; Eternal God]; teach [instruct; accept] me thy paths [way; conduct; manner]. 5 Lead [bend; guide; aim] me in thy truth [right; faithfulness], and teach [instruct; accept] me: for thou art the God [Almighty God] of my salvation [liberty; deliverance]; on thee do I wait [look; behold; hope] all the day [time].”
We have seen in earlier devotionals that there are two ways, two paths in life—the way of man that denies God and leads to death (Proverbs 14:12) and the way of the LORD that is straight and narrow (Matthew 7:14) and begins at the cross. David’s prayer ought be the prayer of all the saints. Like David, we have the Word of God, but we need the LORD to give us insight, discernment and understanding. We need to pray as we read the Word of God, “LORD, show me the path you would have me take; teach me how to conduct myself in a manner that pleases You; bend my will to be in accord with Your Truth (John 17:17); and teach me!”
David confesses that salvation; safety and deliverance are something God alone can give a troubled soul (25:5a); therefore he commits himself to “wait” on the Lord (25:5b). Let’s be honest, impatience is a trouble to us all when we are in the midst of troubles. Fear and flight are the natural reaction of a man who refuses to accept that fire is a part of God’s refining process in our lives.
Psalm 25:6 – “Remember, O LORD [Jehovah; Eternal God], thy tender mercies [compassion] and thy lovingkindnesses [mercy; kindness; goodness]; for they have been ever of old [eternity; everlasting; perpetual].”
In the midst of his troubles, David reflects on the evidences of God’s compassion and mercy in the past (25:6a) and remembers that the mercy and grace of the LORD will never be exhausted (25:6b).
Psalm 25:7 – “Remember not the sins of my youth [childhood], nor my transgressions [sin; trespass; guilt]: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ [welfare] sake, O LORD [Jehovah; Eternal God].”
Finally, David calls upon God to forget, “remember not”, do not rehearse the sins and transgressions of his youth (25:7a). Knowing the LORD is a God of mercy, David casts the burden of his sorrows and regret on the LORD and prays that he would be the object of His grace and mercy (25:7b).
I close with a quote of the great 19th century Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon: “It is the mark of a true saint that his sorrows remind him of his sins, and his sorrow for sin drives him to his God.” [Spurgeon, Treasury of David]
Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith