Overcoming Fear and Regret (Psalms 25, 29, 33, 36, 39)

Scripture Reading – Psalms 25, 29, 33, 36, 39

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Today’s Scripture reading covers five chapters in the Book of Psalms. I commend you for persevering through lengthy passages that might prove daunting. Understanding the length of some daily readings, I feel it is prudent for me to limit the length of my daily commentaries.

Psalm 25 – A Prayer for Grace, Help and Deliverance

Regret, sorrow, and disappointment cast a dark shadow over the earthly sojourn of humanity, and only the most seared conscience will deny they do not look back on life and have cause for remorse.

Some bear the burden of sin and regret to their graves. John Bunyan described this type of weight as the “slough of despondency” in his classic novel, The Pilgrim’s Progress.  Those who wrestle in the mire of sin and sadness, rather than repent of their sin, tend to indulge and continually repeat the very offenses that pierce their soul with sorrow and distress.

Others entertain sinful temptations hoping the salve of temporal pleasure might assuage their empty soul. There are those who contend with guilt by blame shifting and charging loved ones for the consequences of their sinful choices.

Some turn to alcohol and drugs (legal and illegal) in a vain attempt to appease the piercing burden of regret and find no relief for their hurting soul.

Psalm 25 reminds us that there is only one place to go when you are beset with fear and regret: Go to the LORD!  I cannot tell you when David penned this moving psalm; however, its content reveal the King was struggling as he confessed his sorrows and confronted his fears.

David begins the psalm expressing his faith and confidence in the LORD and prays, “Unto thee, O Lord” (and I might add, “unto thee alone”), do I lift up my soul [life; person] (25:1).

Surrounded by enemies, in his distress the King prayed, “O my 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” (25:2).

Physically weak and emotionally fragile, David’s faith and confidence in the LORD had not wavered. He prayed,

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’s prayer was not only for the LORD to save him from his enemies, but also as a testimony to all who call upon the name of God (25:3a).  He reasoned, if some should be put to shame, let it be those who have sinned and transgressed against the LORD without provocation (25:3b).

David cried for wisdom praying, “Shew me thy ways [road; path], O LORD [Jehovah; Eternal God]; teach me [instruct; accept] thy paths [way; conduct; manner]” (25:4).

There are two ways, two paths in life. The way of man who denies God which leads to death (Proverbs 14:12); the way of the LORD that is straight and narrow begins at the cross and is the way of life (Matthew 7:14).

David’s prayer should be the prayer of every believer. We have the Word of God, but we need the LORD to give us insight, discernment and understanding. David continued,

Psalm 25:5 – “Lead me [bend; guide; aim] in thy truth [right; faithfulness], and teach me [instruct; accept]: for thou art the God [Almighty God] of my salvation [liberty; deliverance]; on thee do I wait [look; behold; hope] all the day [time].”

What does that prayer look like in a twenty-first century vernacular?

“LORD, show me the path I should take. Teach me how to conduct myself in a way that pleases You. Bend my will to be in harmony with Your truth’ (John 17:17).

David confessed, “Lord, you are my salvation, safety, and deliverer!” (25:5b).

What does a heavy soul do after crying out to the LORD? Wait! In fact, David prays, “on thee do I wait all the day” (25:5c). The word “wait” is hope. David prays, “LORD, I am looking and waiting on you!”

What do you do when you struggle with fear or regret?

If we are honest, we are prone to be impatient.  Fear and flight are the natural reactions of a troubled soul, and many refuse to accept “fiery trials” as part of God’s refining process in their lives (1 Peter 4:12).

In the midst of his sorrow, David prayed, “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]” (25:6b).

What a comforting promise! “LORD, I remember your compassion and your mercies are never ending!”

Finally, David called upon the LORD and prayed, “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]” (25:7).

Knowing the LORD is omniscient (meaning, “all-knowing”), why would David pray, “Remember not the sins of my youth?” David was not praying for the LORD to set aside an attribute that defines who He is; but rather, he was asking the LORD to not hold against him the foolish sins of his youth! In other words, “Lord, do not rehearse the sins and transgressions of my youth.”

Knowing the LORD is a God of mercy, David cast the burden of his sorrows and regret on the LORD and prayed, “according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ [welfare] sake, O LORD [Jehovah; Eternal God]” (25:7).

I close with a quote of the great 19th century 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.”

What have you done with your regret, sorrow and disappointments?

Copyright – 2020 – Travis D. Smith