John T. Willis

Saturday, February 28, 2015

God's Protection from Enemies--Psalm 28

The composer of Psalm 28 beseeches Yahweh to protect him from dangerous, malicious enemies. All godly people encounter evil people who attempt to destroy their reputation, their character, their very lives. The prayer in Psalm 28 is very helpful for godly people. This psalm naturally falls into three parts:

I. The worshipper implores Yahweh to answer his cry. Psalm 28:1-2.
    a. The psalmist begins abruptly, "I call to YOU," O Lord. He calls Yahweh "MY ROCK," a very common term for Yahweh's protection and support. See e. g., Deuteronomy 32:4, 15, 18; Psalms 18:2, 31; 144:2; 1 Samuel 2:2. The poet beseeches Yahweh not to "refuse to hear" him and his cry. He says that if Yahweh is "silent" by not responding to his prayer, he will go down to the Pit, to Sheol, the grave. 28:1.
    b. The psalmist repeats his desperate cry, and states that he needs Yahweh's "help." Using the common practice of prayer, the psalmist "lifts up his hands" to seek Yahweh's response at the sanctuary, the Jerusalem temple. On this important practice in prayer, see e. g., Psalm 141:2; Lamentations 3:41; 1 Timothy 2:8.

II. The worshipper asks Yahweh to repay his enemies according to their wicked deeds. Psalm 28:3-5.
     a. God often assures his faithful people that he will punish the wicked. Exodus 34:6-7; Romans 2:1-11. First the psalmist describes the practices of the wicked. They are workers of evil. They speak peace with their neighbors, but mischief is in their hearts. Wicked people normally use gentle, smooth speech to deceive innocent people in order to harm them in any way possible. A great example of this practice is in Psalm 55:20-21:
    My companion laid hands on a friend
          and violated a covenant with me
          but with a HEART SET ON WAR;
    with WORDS that were SOFTER THAN OIL,
It is so unfortunately that many WOULD BE CHRISTIANS speak one way and live another. Psalm 28:3 deals with the very same problem:
    They SPEAK PEACE with their neighbors,
         while MISCHIEF is in their HEARTS. 28:3.
    b. Accordingly, the poet implores Yahweh to repay the wicked according to their work, their evil deeds. God in his own way doles out retribution on the wicked. 28:4-5.

III. The worshipper rejoices that Yahweh answers his prayers. Psalm 28:6-9.
      a. Apparently, since the psalmist uttered his prayer in verses 1-5, Yahweh has somehow answered his pleas. Thus he praises Yahweh that he is his STRENGTH and SHIELD. The word "shield" is a common metaphor in the Bible symbolizing protection. Thus, the poet "trusts in" Yahweh. Naturally he "gives thanks to" him. Unfortunately, we often fail to stop and thank Yahweh for all the ways he blesses us in so many ways. 28:6-7.
      b. The psalmist repeats in verse 7 that Yahweh is his STRENGTH, and then declares that Yahweh is his REFUGE, another common term for protection. Yahweh blesses not only the psalmist, but Yahweh's people and Yahweh's "anointed one," the earthly king. 28:8.
      c. The composer concludes by asking Yahweh to help his people in FOUR ways:
          1. Save your people.
          2. Bless your heritage, your people.
          3. Be their shepherd. The Bible often compares God with a shepherd, and we are the sheep. See e. g., Psalms 95:7; 100:3.
          4. Carry his people forever. Like a shepherd often carries his sheep in his arms, Yahweh carries his people when they are weary, lame, or lost. For this picture, see Isaiah 40:11.

Share YOUR insights and thoughts and experiences and problems and hardships with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Majoring in Minors--V

Jesus spent much time dealing with would-be religious people majoring in minors. One great text that emphasizes this truth is Matthew 23. Here we focus on Matthew 23:23-28:
    "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
      For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglect the weightier matters of the law:
                                  justice and mercy and faith.
      It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others.
      You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!
      Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
      For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate,
      but on the inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
      You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean.
      Woe to you, scribes, and Pharisees, hypocrites!
      For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful,
      but on the inside they are fully of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth.
      So you also on the outside look righteous to others,
      but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness."

I. It is clear that God is concerned about the heart, and not about external religious acts or practices. If we can ever examine and change our hearts, we will naturally serve God in our singing, preaching, deeds, and everything else.

II. The louder a religious person shouts, the clearer it is that that person has a very deep person which he or she is trying to hide. There are many stories about this hypocrisy. Religious people often seek attention and praise and approval. This attitude is radically opposed to God's will. Greed and self- interest and self-indulgence drive many people.

III. A major concern for many people and many churches is the way they look to other people. We all want to appear to be righteous. If anyone has to PROVE that he or she is righteous, that person is self- centered and needs lengthy counseling and deep repentance.

IV. The true focus of true godly people is on God, not on oneself, not on the church, not on the nation, not on anything or anyone else, but on God. Paul strongly declares in Colossians 3:1-3:

   "So if you have been raise with Christ, seek the things that are above,
     where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
     Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth,
     for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God."

Share YOUR temptations and feelings and successes and failure and doubts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Lord is the Antidote of Fear--Psalm 27

The superscription of Psalm 27 says only: "Of [To, For] David," and thus gives no information about the situation lying behind this psalm. The psalm itself makes clear that the psalmist is faced with malicious enemies who utter slanders against him and bear false witness against him. Worse than this, his father and mother have abandoned him either because they believe his enemies' slander and false witness or they are unwilling to stand against people who seem to have power and influence in the community. In spite of all this, the psalmist boldly remains confident in Yahweh and rejoices in this. Psalm 27 falls into two parts. In the first section, the psalmist speaks ABOUT Yahweh in the third person; in the second section, he addresses Yahweh directly in the second person.

I. The poet is confident in Yahweh. Psalm 27:1-6.
    a. The composer begins by declaring that Yahweh is his light, his salvation, and the stronghold of his life. Thus, he is not afraid of any people or situations which confront him. This thought recalls Psalm 118:6, which the author of Hebrews quotes in Hebrews 13:6 and applies to Christians experiencing similar circumstances. 27:1.
   b. The poet continues, saying that when his enemies attack him to devour his flesh, they will stumble and fall. "Devour the flesh" is apparently an idiom meaning "utter slanders against another person," as indicated by Daniel 3:8; 6:24. 27:2.
   c. The speaker's enemies are like an army encamped against him to go to war against him, but he is not afraid because Yahweh is faithfully with him. 27:3.
   d. The psalmist's one desire in life is to live in the house of the Lord throughout his life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. The beauty of the Lord in this context may refer to the ark of the covenant, and to inquire of the Lord probably means that the worshipper used the Urim and the Thummim of the ephod, which apparently were stones or pieces of wood cast as lots to determine whether the answer of the Lord to a particular question was Yes or No, as suggested by texts like 1 Samuel 14:41-42; 23:9-12; 28:6, or that he asked a prophet to reveal Yahweh's will or that he used dreams to determine it (see 1 Samuel 28:6; 1 Kings 3:5, 15).  27:4.
   e. The poet is confident that Yahweh will shelter him in the day of trouble, conceal him under the cover of his tent, or set him high on a rock safe from the threat of enemies. 27:5.
   f. Because of this, the psalmist declares that his head is lifted up to stand secure in the presence of Yahweh (see Genesis 40:12; Psalm 3:3) above all his enemies around. Now he will go to the Jerusalem sanctuary and offer sacrifices to Yahweh with shouts of joy. He will sing with his voice and make melody with musical instruments to Yahweh. 27:6.

II. The composer prays confidently that Yahweh will answer his prayer. Psalm 27:7-14.
     a. The psalmist begins by beseeches Yahweh to answer his prayer for help and protection. He implores Yahweh to be gracious to him. He seeks Yahweh's face, his presence, and begs him not to hide his face from him. He addresses Yahweh as "the God of my salvation," and beseeches him not to turn him away in anger or cast him off or forsake him. 27:7-9.
     b. Apparently, the poet's parents have forsaken him for some reason, but he is confident that Yahweh will take him up and support and protect him in this situation. 27:10.
     c. Since his enemies are strong and threatening, the psalmist beseeches Yahweh to teach him Yahweh's way and lead him on a level path. His enemies have brought false witnesses against him, and are breathing out violence. Thus, he implores Yahweh not to give him up to the will of his enemies. 27:11-12.
     d. Finally, the psalmist addresses one of his comrades [in the singular].  He announces that he believes he shall see the goodness of Yahweh, and encourage his comrade to "wait for" [that is, trust in] Yahweh, to be strong and let his heart take courage in light of these present difficult circumstances. 27:13-14.

Share YOUR experiences and fears and encouragements and reversals and thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Majoring in Minors--Part 3 continued

One matter that some people have considered as MAJOR in the Church of Christ Denomination is that it is unscriptural and thus against the will of God for women to participate orally in a church assembly. This has included (1) sharing thoughts on the Lord's Supper, (2) passing the Lord's Supper, (3) leading singing or music; (4) teaching; (5) preaching; (6) serving as a deacon; (7) serving as an elder; (8) leading the assembly in prayer; (9) baptizing another person; (10) giving a testimony. Depending on an individual and a local church, this list may be much longer.

I. This is based on two New Testament texts: 1 Corinthians 14:33-36 and 1 Timothy 2:8-15. Of course, one is free to study numerous scholarly articles and commentaries and Bible Dictionaries and monographs on these two texts. One will discover a wide variety of interpretations. Only one blog will never cover or satisfy every thinker. Here are only a few ideas for consideration.
    a. 1 Corinthians 11:5 clearly states that for Paul it was perfectly fine for a woman to "pray or prophesy" in the church as long as her head is veiled. To prophesy clearly means to preach. Thus, at the Corinthian Church, women lead public prayers and they preached. Is this a contradiction to 1 Corinthians 14:33-36. Is Paul contradicting himself? It is more logical to recognize that the problem Paul addresses in 1 Corinthians 14:33-36 has to do with speaking in tongues, NOT with leading prayers or preaching. The problem in 1 Corinthians 12-14 is SITUATIONAL or OCCASIONAL. Paul NEVER dreamed that what he was proclaiming was for all churches at all times in all circumstances.
     b. 1 Timothy 2:8-15 is also SITUATIONAL or OCCASIONAL, not an eternal teaching for all churches in all places in all times. Carefully write a list of the instructions Paul gives in this text.
          1. Men should pray, lifting up holy hands. How many churches insist that men lift up their hands when they pray? On the contrary, many people and churches have declared that such a practice is against God's will--against the Bible. How ironic is such a thought!!! Verse 8
          2. Women should dress themselves modestly and decently in suitable clothing--note that what follows clearly has in mind wearing too much clothing as a show. Verse 9
          3. Women should not have braided hair, gold, pearls, or expensive clothes. How many people and churches demand that women not have braided hair, wear gold, pearls or expensive clothes? Verse 9
          4. Women should do good works. Paul does not specify what good works involve. This leaves this idea wide open. Verse 10
          5. Women should learn in silence with full submission. Women should not teach or have authority over men. Women are to be silent. Does this mean that a woman cannot engage in a dialogue with a man in church? What is the real issue that Paul is trying to get at? A simple example might be helpful: Was it a sin for Priscilla [a Christian woman] to teach Apollos [a Christian man] to teach the Way of God more accurately? Acts 18:24-26. Verses 11-12
          6. Women will be saved through childbearing. Is Paul saying that if a woman cannot have a child, she cannot be saved? Verses 13-15.
      c. There are several clear texts in the New Testament which show that Jesus, Paul, and composers in the early church taught that women are to preach, teach, and lead God's people. Here are ONLY a few examples.
           1. The four unmarried daughters of Philip who had the gift of prophecy or preaching--Acts 21:8-9.
            2. Peter announces that when the church is established:
                  God declares: I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
                                            and your sons and YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY,
                                         and your young men shall see visions,
                                            and your old men shall dream dreams.
                                         Eve upon my slaves, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN
                                             in those days I will pour out my spirit;
                                             and THEY SHALL PROPHESY (Acts 2:17-18).
             3. Paul says in Romans 16:1 that Phoebe [a woman] was a DEACON of the church at Cenchrea.
              4. Paul emphasizes the important role of two women in the church at Philippi: Euodia and Syntyche, worked side by side with Paul in the work of the gospel along with some men as well. Philippians 4:2-3.

II. An equivalent biblical teaching from Jesus Himself is that his followers must WASH ONE ANOTHER'S FEET.
     a. Just before the Jewish religious leaders arrested and crucified Jesus on the cross, Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper and during that event, Jesus washed his disciples' feet. Then he said to them: "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord--and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you." (John 13:12-15). How many individuals and churches follow Jesus' example and commandment in this text? It is inconsistent to make a major issue about women praying and prophesying in the church and not make a major issue about true Christians washing one another Christian's feet.
      b. 1 Timothy 5:9-10 contains this teaching: "Let a widow be put on the list if she is not less than sixty years old, and has been married only once; she must be well attested for her good works, as one who has brought up children, shown hospitality, WASHED THE SAINTS' FEET, helped the afflicted, and devoted herself to doing good in every way." How many individuals and how many churches insist that they help a widow of that widow has washed the saints' feet? It is inconsistent to make an issue about women participating freely in church assemblies and not make an issue about washing one another's feet.

III.  At least five New Testament texts contain the commandment: "Salute or Greet one another with A HOLY KISS--Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26;
1 Peter 5:14.
       a. How many Christian people and churches obey this commandment to salute one another with a holy kiss? They insist that the proper way to greet people is by a hug or a handshake. This is NOT what the Bible teaches. Why do we not follow the Bible on this matter?
       b. It is not consistent to make a MAJOR ISSUE out of the function of women in church assemblies and not make a major issue about the greeting or saluting one another with a holy kiss.

IV. All of this is to say that throughout history, Christian individuals and churches have Majored in Minors. One of these is diminishing the role of women in the church.
       a. The REAL issue is treating all human beings with honor and respect as creature of dignity because every human being on earth is created in the image and likeness of God. Genesis 1:26-27.
       b. It has ALWAYS been common to make mountains out of mole hills, to EXAGGERATE a belief or a concept or an idea and to oppress, mistreat, desecrate, disrespect human beings--whether this be a person of another race, a child, a woman, a blind person, a lame person, etc. The Bible emphasizes this truth consistently throughout all scripture, Old and New Testaments.

Share YOUR ideas and reversals and misgivings and dreams and experiences with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


Saturday, December 06, 2014

Standing on the Solid Ground of Integrity--Psalm 26

The superscription of Psalm 26 contains on the term: "Of [To, For] David." Thus this superscription gives no clue about the historical situation. The composer of Psalm 26 has been falsely accused by his enemies. He begins by pleading with Yahweh to vindicate him so that he will not be "swept away" with sinners, whose devices are evil and who are full of bribes. This psalmist presents four proofs of his innocence. Naturally, Psalm 26 falls into four tiny segments.

I. The innocence of an examined heart. Psalm 26:1-3.
    a. The psalmist wastes no time to address Yahweh: "Vindicate me." He never tells the hearers or readers the alleged crime of which the poet is supposed to be guilty. 26:1a.
    b. The poet's first proof is that he has walked in his integrity, and trusted in Yahweh without wavering. 26:1b-c.
    c. To make sure that he is not hypocritical, he beseeches Yahweh to "prove," "try," "test" his heart and mind. These three verbs come from the practice of putting a precious metal just taken from the ground in a very hot fire so that the alloys may be sluffed off to retain the pure metal, as silver or gold. The same language appears in Psalm 17:3 and 139:1-6. 26:2.
    d. Then the psalmist declares that he is depending only on Yahweh's steadfast love and faithfulness--a major theme occurring throughout the Psalter. 26:3.

II. The psalmist's second proof is that he does not associate with sinful people. Psalm 26:4-5.
     a. The writer of this psalm describes the wicked using four terms. The wicked are worthless and hypocrites. They pretend that they are godly, when in reality they are very evil. 26:4.
     b.  In the next two lines, the poet defines the ungodly as evildoers and wicked. These terms appear often throughout the Psalter. 26:5.

III. The poet's third proof is that he has washed his hands with innocence. Psalm 26:6-7.
       a. The composer affirms that he has performed the ritual acts in the temple prescribed for one accused of his crime. "Washing one's hands" is a symbolic act for innocence. This appears in Deuteronomy 21:6-7; Psalm 73:13; Matthew 27:24. The psalmist declares that he has gone around Yahweh's altar at the temple. He has joined in process with his fellow worshippers (see Psalm 118:27). 26:6.
       b. The author of Psalm 26 sings loudly thanksgiving to Yahweh, and tells the gathered worshippers all of Yahweh's wondrous deeds. 26:7.

IV. Fourth and Finally, the composer professes that he genuinely loves the temple. Psalm 26:8-12.
      a. The psalmist declares that he loves the temple because this is where Yahweh dwells and his glory abides. 26:8.
      b. The poet begs that Yahweh will not sweep him away with sinners, who are full of evil devices and bribes. 26:9-10.
      c. As in verse 1, the psalmist proclaims that he has walked in his integrity. 26:11a.
      d. The psalmist then beseeches Yahweh to redeem him and be gracious to him. To "redeem" means to save a person from the death penalty which his accusers are desiring. 26:11b.
      e. With great conviction, the psalmist concludes by confident feelings: His foot stands on level ground, and he will bless, i. e.,  praise Yahweh, in the great congregation. 26:12.

Share YOUR intentions and shortcomings and dreams and faults and determinations with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Majoring in Minors--Part 2

It is very easy for well-meaning Christian people to focus on a "religious" issue and totally miss the "big picture" of "real life" under God our Father through Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus and many other biblical speakers and composers emphasize this same problem, because this is an ongoing human problem. In the previous blog, we discussed two issues: wealth and beauty. Let us continue here.

3. Speech.
    a. In every generation, many individuals develop eloquent speech. In doing this, they move and persuade large audiences. This is great IF the speaker is genuine and if the message is God-centered.
    b. Jesus addresses the public practice of prayer in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:5-8:
        "And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray
          in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others.
          Truly, I tell you, they have received their reward.
          But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is
                                    in secret;
          and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
          When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do;
          for they think that they will be heard because of their many words.
          Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."
      c. Proverbs 28:9 contains this warning:
          "When one will not listen to the law,
                even one's prayers are an abomination."
      d. Proverbs 15:8 says:
          "The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
                 but the prayer of the upright is his delight."
          Similarly, Proverbs 15:29 says:
          "The Lord is far from the wicked,
                 but he hears the prayer of the righteous."
     e. Obviously, in God's eyes, what counts in prayer is not eloquent words, but genuine hearts, righteous lifestyle, integrity in daily living. Our emphasis must not be on external eloquent speech, but a godly life and a pure heart.

4. Correctly Performed External Isolated Acts of Religion.
     a. It is well-known that the Church of Christ denomination has emphasized the necessity of baptizing adult people by immersion in order to be saved. Without going into a discussion of this affirmation, two important truths stand out.
     b. First, if a person is baptized by immersion, this is at the very least ONLY a TINY aspect of Christian living. To cite just one example, Paul addressed this very issue in 1 Corinthians 1:14-15:
         "I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that none can say that
          you were baptized in my name."
         Paul emphasizes that what is important in NOT baptism ONLY, but THE WHOLE GOSPEL. He says in verse 17: "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power." Many people in Churches of Christ have been baptized by immersion, and their marriages are in shambles, their lives are corrupt, their ways of life are darkness and not light to a gloomy world.
     c. Second, if anyone carefully studies Jesus' Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, he finds that Jesus calls his followers to "MAKE DISCIPLES" of all nations. Baptism is ONLY the first step of discipleship. What follows baptism is that one must "TEACH all nations to OBEY EVERYTHING that Jesus has commanded." This calls for a lifetime of commitment in heart and life. To submit oneself to go into water and be immersed is very simple. The challenging aspect is to LEARN and to OBEY God through Jesus Christ. 

To be continued

Share YOUR thoughts and shortcomings and reversals and experiences and fears with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Sunday, November 09, 2014

A Psalmist Prays for Yahweh's Forgiveness and Protection--Psalm 25

Psalm 25 is an acrostic. Each verse begins with the next letter in the Hebrew alphabet: 'aleph, beth, gimel, daleth, he, etc. The superscription contains only: "Of David." No one knows whether this is inspired or not originally. Two themes run throughout Psalm 25: The psalmist asks Yahweh to forgive him for his sins; the psalmist beseeches Yahweh to protect him from all his troubles. Throughout this poem, the composer speaks of himself in the first person singular, but in the last verse, he beseeches Yahweh to redeem all of Yahweh's people. The path through Psalm 25 falls into four parts.

I. The Psalmist asks Yahweh to teach him his ways. Psalm 25:1-5.
    a. The psalmist begins by imploring Yahweh to keep him from SHAME. He begins by declaring: To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. Then he proclaims: in YOU I trust. Then he asks Yahweh: Do not let me be put to SHAME or let his enemies prevail over him. He asks that Yahweh will not let those who WAIT FOR [i. e., trust in] Yahweh be PUT TO SHAME. In contrast, he prays: Let those who are wantonly treacherous BE ASHAMED. 25:1-3.
    b. Since the psalmist WAITS FOR [. e., trusts in] Yahweh, he beseeches Yahweh to MAKE HIM KNOW Yahweh's ways, TEACH him Yahweh's paths, LEAD him in Yahweh's truth, and TEACH him. What an important prayer for all of God's people in every generation!!! 25:4-5.

II. The Psalmist implores Yahweh to forgive him of all his sins. Psalm 25:6-15.
     a. The psalmist turns to address his sins. He beseeches Yahweh for his MERCY and STEADFAST LOVE. This is Yahweh's nature from the very beginning (see Exodus 34:6-7). Because of Yahweh's STEADFAST LOVE, the poet asks him not to remember the sins of his youth and his transgressions. This is not because the psalmist is good or righteous, but only "for Yahweh's goodness' sake." 25:6-7.
     b. The psalmist extols Yahweh's nature to forgive sinners. Yahweh is GOOD and UPRIGHT. Therefore, he alone INSTRUCTS sinners in the way. Yahweh LEADS the humble in what is right. He TEACHES the humble Yahweh's way. ALL THE PATHS OF YAHWEH are STEADFAST LOVE and FAITHFULNESS for those who keep Yahweh's covenant. 25:8-10.
     c. The psalmist then addresses Yahweh. He admits that his guilt of sins is GREAT. Thus he beseeches Yahweh to PARDON his guilt, not for the goodness of the psalmist, but for Yahweh's name's sake. Then he asks: Who are they that fear Yahweh? Yahweh will TEACH them the way they should choose. He seeks Yahweh's guidance all the way. This brings this bold promise that those who follow Yahweh's forgiveness and guidance will abide in prosperity, their children will possess the land, the friendship of Yahweh will be upon them, and Yahweh makes his covenant known to them. Thus the poet concludes with the resolve: My eyes are always toward Yahweh, because Yahweh will pluck his feet out of the net. 25:11-15.

III. The Psalmist beseeches Yahweh to relieve him from all his troubles. Psalm 25:16-18.
       a. The psalmist begins with the simple request: Turn to me, O Yahweh, and be gracious to me. He admits that he is lonely and afflicted. This poem does not go into detail about WHY the psalmist is lonely and afflicted. Clues in this psalm imply that this is because of the danger of his enemies and the feeling of guilt of his sins. But probably, many other issues reside in his heart. 25:16.
       b. The psalmist continues: Relieve the troubles of MY HEART, and bring me out of my distress. The troubles and distress are unclear. This leaves this psalm open to be applied to our personal lives and feelings of heart. 25:17.
       c. The psalmist concludes: O Yahweh, PLEASE consider my affliction and trouble, and forgive ALL MY SINS. The psalmist is greatly troubled, and seeks Yahweh's presence and help. 25:18.

IV. The Psalmist concludes by beseeching Yahweh to deliver him from all his enemies. Psalm 25:19-22.
      a. The poet reveals the fact that his enemies are very serious and dangerous. His enemies are MANY; they HATE the psalmist with VIOLENT HATRED. Obviously, they are determined to destroy the psalmist. Thus, the poet turns to Yahweh for help. 25:19.
      b. The psalmist TAKES REFUGE IN Yahweh. Accordingly, he beseeches Yahweh to GUARD his life against his enemies, DELIVER him from his dangers, and LET HIM NOT BE PUT TO SHAME--thinking back to verses 1-3. 25:20.
      c. The psalmist WAITS FOR [i. e., trusts in] Yahweh, and thus he prays that his integrity and uprightness might preserve him. 25:21.
      d. Finally, the psalmist thinks of his associates--all of God's people. Thus, he beseeches Yahweh to REDEEM Israel out of all her troubles, like he had besought Yahweh to deliver the psalmist. 25:22.

Share YOUR insights and beliefs and shortcomings and reversals and fears with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis