John T. 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

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