Psalm 25:4-5 (NIV)
Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Sometimes we face trials and tribulations that are not of our own making like sickness, the loss of a job, or the tragic death of a friend or loved one. On the other hand, sometimes they are self-made…the result of our own sin or bad decisions. David lived that kind of life, as well, and the psalms are packed with his reflections, which is why they are so applicable to our lives despite the 2,000+ year gap. As his famous son, Solomon, often said (and wrote), “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecc. 1:9).
Regarding Psalm 25, Charles Spurgeon notes, “David is pictured in this Psalm as in a faithful miniature. His holy trust, his many conflicts, his great transgression, his bitter repentance, and his deep distresses are all here; so that we see the very heart of ‘the man after God’s own heart.’ 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.” Life presents every one of us with a series of peaks and valleys, though which we must find our way. Even when the dark days are the natural consequence of our sin, our Heavenly Father still stands at the ready to listen, forgive, forget, and offer help. If you are a parent, you know the satisfaction you feel when your child owns their mistakes and seeks forgiveness and advice to find a better way forward. So, it is with our Lord.
David most likely wrote this psalm later in life, so he was incorporating both his own sinful choices and activities along with those of his enemies. He pleads for God not to remember “the sins of my youth,” but rather, “according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good” (Ps. 25:7). Are you afraid to talk to God when your sin has found you out? When your choices have led to painful consequences? When your foolishness has accrued a great debt? We all need to remember that on this side of the cross…on the side of our salvation…there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1). Correction? Yes. Condemnation? No.
So, whether your tough times are self-generated, or the result of outside forces, the way forward is always the same: Follow the ways of the Lord.
David had to learn this more than once, and so do most of us, sadly. The Enduring Word commentary captures this well when it says, “We can be sure that no man or woman who has been shown the way by God, or taught in His paths, or led in His truth has ever been led into sin or compromise that led to public disgrace and dishonor.” God’s way works every time it’s tried. Not always right away…but eventually. Indeed, “All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant” (Ps. 25:10). Sometimes we experience that when we are walking in His ways, while other times it does not happen until after we are confronted and corrected but rest assured – you will experience his love and faithfulness whenever you choose to walk in his ways!