Psalms 25 & 26
A Psalm of David
“Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD. Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. For thy name’s sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great. What man is he that feareth the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth. The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant. Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net. Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses. Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins. Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred. O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee. Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.” (Psalm 25:1-22)
“Psalm 25, “A Psalm of David”, we’re not sure of the exact circumstances that the Psalm was written in context of. Some feel it’s David fleeing from Absalom, we’re not sure. It seems certainly most likely it’s after his sin with Bathsheba. There are certain verses that talk about his shame, his struggle, what he doesn’t want to see, shame comes up immediately and he’s saying ‘LORD don’t let me be ashamed, LORD,’ just there’s something that comes out [in the Psalm] very quickly. And then he tells the LORD, you know, ‘teach me, teach me, show me,’ then ‘Remember, remember, remember,’ there’s some repeated things. But throughout the Psalm over and over we hear of ‘the way, thy way, LORD, thy ways, thy paths, thy paths,’ David is begging the LORD for something here. Now it is one of what are called “the acrostic Psalms”, there are 9 of them in the Book of Psalms, Psalm 9, 10, 25, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119 and 145. An acrostic Psalm is written according to the Hebrew alphabet, with a different letter starting each verse, which made it easier to memorize. Ah, this one is not a complete acrostic, this is where somebody can yawn now, but for those of you that are digging, because Psalm 25 and the first half of Psalm 26 are both Aleph, the first letter. And verses 17 and 18 are both Resh, which means they’re related to one another, so it’s not the full acrostic, but it is an acrostic, still, it goes through. So, verses 1 and the first half of verse 2, “Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee:” (verses 1-2b) those ideas go together. And then verses 18 and 19, “Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.” ‘Look on me,’ then 19 is ‘Look on my enemies,’ “for they are many; and they hate me with cruel” ‘or violent’ “hatred.” So, but the whole idea flows. So, we’re going to look at this, the first seven verses are a prayer. The first seven verses are unto God, and then verses 8 to 10 are “of God” speaking “of God.” Then the last seven verses return to a prayer again. So it’s an interesting set of verses, it’s seven verses, three verses, three verses, one, three verses, one, then seven, an interesting breakdown, this Psalm, we’ll look at it.
‘LORD, Don’t Let Me Be Ashamed’
Verses 1-7, “Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD.”
“Unto thee, O LORD,” (Jehovah) “do I lift up my soul. O my God” (Elohim), “I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.” (verses 1-2) So David in some great difficulty, immediately says, ‘LORD, unto thee do I lift my very life, my soul, LORD, I put my very life in your hands.’ “O my God,” ‘Elohim, God of Covenant, God of power,’ “I trust in thee:” and how does he trust? Now four times he says “let” knowing that the LORD is in charge, “let me not be ashamed,” we’re going to have “ashamed” twice in verse 3, we’re going to have “ashamed” in verse 20. “let me not be ashamed,” first thing he asks, understanding that God governs these things, “let not mine enemies triumph over me.” So, ‘LORD, to you I lift up my soul, I trust in you, and what I’m asking, because I put my heart, my mind there, is LORD, don’t let me be ashamed, don’t let mine enemies triumph over me.’ Is it Absalom, is it in the process at this point in time, where he’s fleeing? “Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.” (verse 3) ‘LORD, not just me, don’t let any, LORD, that trust you and wait upon you be ashamed.’ He says, “let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.” (verse 3b) ‘LORD, if there’s going to be some shame, let the ones who transgress against you, violently, without a cause, let those be the ones that in fact are ashamed. But LORD, don’t let me be ashamed, I don’t want that in my life.’ It’s interesting, it tells us this in Hebrews, it says “For both he that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all one, for which cause he is not ashamed to call them his brethren.” He’s not ashamed to call us his own, David’s saying ‘Don’t let me be ashamed, LORD, I’m owning you, I’m lifting my soul up to you, I’m trusting in you, LORD, don’t let me be ashamed. If there’s going to be somebody whose ashamed, LORD, let it be those that are sinning or transgressing without a cause.’ Shame, it’s different in that culture in some ways, then now. I mean, we have shame, but we deal a lot with condemnation here in our culture, sometimes more than shame. Particularly, in the Far East, shame, I remember when Toyota was having those problems, or when General Motors was trying to say Toyota was having those problems, and they were actually having more problems than Toyota, but (that’s a whole different story), I remember seeing the President of Toyota, from Japan, before Congress, weeping. And it was a demonstration of shame [what the Japanese call “loosing face”], ‘This shouldn’t be happening, this is my family name.’ It was very interesting. And here David is talking about shame, ‘don’t let that,’ and he’s very keenly aware that he had crossed lines in his life. But he’s saying ‘LORD, don’t let that happen, LORD, just be merciful to me, if there’s going to be shame at this point, LORD, let it be against those who are transgressing without a cause,’ and certainly that would have been Absalom and those that were chasing David out of Jerusalem, if in fact that is the context here.
‘LORD, Show Me, Teach Me Thy Ways, Thy Paths’---God Knows The End From The Beginning
And then he says this, he’s praying this, this is all to the LORD, “Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.” (verse 4), down in verse 8, “the way”, down in verse 9, “his way”, in verse 10, “the paths”, in verse 12, “the way”, over and over we hear this idea that there is, look, both in our lives there is a way or there’s a path that we are to travel. You know, Paul says ‘That I might finish my course with joy,’ when he comes to the end of his life he says to Timothy, he says, ‘I have finished my course, I have kept the faith,’ and he goes through that process. So in that context, we believe, that if the LORD knows the end from the beginning, Psalm 139 says ‘All our days are written out before we live any of them,’ that God is sovereign. I have no problem with that, and there is a path, there is a way. But there is another word that comes in here, where we’re talking about ‘teach me thy ways, thy ways.’ In Psalm 103, beautifully, it says, ‘That he revealed his works to the children of Israel, but he made known his ways to Moses.’ For Moses it wasn’t just seeing the miracles, he just knew, ‘God, you didn’t just turn water into blood to freak people out, or just a freaky frog show to freak out the Egyptian women, it was something more, I want to know.’ And in the Wilderness, it’s like, ‘Show me your glory,’ he knows there’s something, he’s asking for something of the person of the LORD himself, not just his acts. He made known his works to the children of Israel, but he made known his ways to Moses. Again, my wife, you know we’ve been married for 35 years, we’re going on 35 years. She has a way about her, and by the way, men, if you learn your wife, she has a way, if you learn her way, you break the code. [quiet laughter] You know, ‘Honey, I know you’re not feeling good, should I really be traveling to California?’ ‘Ya, ya, you go.’ That doesn’t mean you go [loud laughter]. That means ‘If you can’t figure this out, you don’t understand me that well, I’m not gonna hold you back, you’re gonna stay because you’re a spiritual man, or you’re a carnal man and you’re gonna go.’ You know, just, the way she, I watch her worry about people, I watch her constantly take care of people, she has a way, you know. And remarkably, we’re going to hear about David saying ‘LORD, teach my thy ways.’ He thought he knew so much, after, you know Uriah, after Bathsheba, and if in fact Absalom, your own son trying to kill you. And David somehow, remarkably in his faith in the middle of more heartache than we can imagine, he’s learning things about the LORD that he would not have learned without his failings. David, at the end of his life, is never the man that he would have been if he hadn’t sinned, and he’s never the king that he was before he sinned. He emasculated himself in many ways, Absalom and Tamar, the sins then in his own house, how could he point the finger? How could he, ‘He committed incest, well he committed adultery,’ you know, Absalom committed murder, he committed murder. But David was, as time went on, a much better Psalmist than he’d ever have been. And some of the most remarkable things he wrote about the LORD came out of his failings, his brokenness, his repentance. And he discovered so much of the New Testament God. You know, he had committed murder and adultery. Both of those were capital offenses in Israel, stoned, you could be stoned for either one of those. And David wanted to come and worship the LORD after that, and he said ‘Sacrifice and offering thou hast not desired, there is no sin offering, there’s no sacrifice I can offer for murder or for adultery, both of them are capital offenses. But a broken and contrite spirit thou wilt not despise.’ That’s New Testament theology. Again, just in 2nd Samuel 23, when he signs off, he doesn’t call himself the king, the giant slayer, he calls himself the sweet Psalmist of Israel. And he has such a vision of the LORD, of the Messiah, he says ‘He shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises, even a morning without clouds, like the tender grass, growing out of the earth with the clear shining on it after rain, like the brilliant green grass when it first grows out of the earth, and in the morning it’s glistening because of the dew. That’s the way his Kingdom is going to be. That’s the way it’s going to be.’ He understands that, signing off. So he’s saying some things to us here that are remarkable. He says in verse 4, “Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.” (verses 4-5) They’re beautiful phrases. Where he says here in verse 4, ‘Show me thy ways,’ in the Hebrew it’s “Cause me to know,” ‘make this happen in my life.’ David is very aware, and it’s wonderful for me as I read his Psalms, I read his heart. I understand perfectly well that the shepherd is never dependant on the IQ of the sheep, which is a HUGE consolation for me, as a sheep. All the shepherd needs from the sheep is a heart that’s willing to follow. If we’re willing follow, you don’t have to figure it out, you don’t have to have a…is your heart genuinely willing to follow, do we really mean it when we say, ‘LORD, teach me thy ways’ ? ‘Show me, I want to know your will.’ If we really mean that, then the ball is in his court. If we are really willing to follow, he leads, he leads. If we’re really willing to follow. Some of us, we don’t want, ‘ok, look, I don’t want to be a fanatic, you know, I want to get to heaven, I want fire insurance, but I don’t want Lordship.’ Have your way. I want to tell you something, there’s something about being broken before the him. There’s something about hearing his voice. There’s something about, he says here “lead me in thy truth,” and it isn’t just knowing the Bible, it isn’t just studying the Bible, not just, again, theological study. I mean, one of my favorite acrostics, Psalm 119, understand this, if you’re going to Bible college, if you’re going to seminary, if you’re making a pursuit of study, understand, this is not just a subject, there is the horizontal of it, and we should study, I want to be a scholar, I don’t want to be an academician, but I do want to study for the rest of my life, to show myself approved, straightly dividing the Word, that’s my responsibility, I want to do that, you should want me to do that, and you should want to do that. [I try] But there isn’t just the horizontal of the Word, there’s the vertical of the Word. And David is saying, it is what he’s talking about here, ‘Show me, cause me to know thy ways O LORD,’ “teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me:” (verses 4-5a) You know, he said, and I believe it’s David in Psalm 119, ‘Teach me’ again, ‘O LORD, the way of thy statutes, and I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law, yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments, for therein do I delight.’ Notice, ‘Incline my heart,’ because it isn’t inclined on its own, ‘Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity, and quicken thou me in thy way, establish thy Word to thy servant who is devoted to thy fear, turn away my reproach which I fear, for thy judgments are good. Behold, I have longed after thy precepts, quicken me in thy righteousness.’ (Psalm 119:33-39) You know, the Psalmist cries, there’s vertical to all of this. It’s the Word of God, and then there’s an appealing to the God of the Word. It’s the Word of God that’s come to the page, through the writer. David’s inspired as he writes Psalm 25, when he puts the quill down he’s no longer inspired, the Psalm he just wrote is, the Word of God to the very page, to the page.
Waiting Is One Of The Important Parts Of Guidance From The LORD
And here it’s David praying, pouring out his heart, but speaking to us, ‘cause me to know thy ways, O LORD, you have to do this.’ “teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.” (verses 4-5) Listen, that is a key part of knowing God’s will for your life, and it’s the part that we hate, ‘I wait on thee all the day long.’ ‘Cause me to know, teach me, teach me.’ And God may be saying, ‘Well then just stay put, stay still.’ ‘But I want to know now, is this the one I’m supposed to marry? I want to know!’ ‘Just wait, calm down, there’s over 7 billion on the planet, [half of them men, half of them women] I know how this happens. You just wait.’ ‘Lord, I need to know now, do we have the job, do we have the houses, is this working out, if I do this, if I wait on you it’ll never happen, I’ll be an old maid, I’ll be 24, and I’ll still be single, what do I do Lord?’ [you can’t even complain that until you’re 68 like I am, then you may be able to say that, and still even at 68 God says, “wait on me, it’ll work out, I know the beginning from the end, stop worrying.”] ‘Wait.’ It’s one of the important parts of guidance from the Lord. ‘Teach me, lead me,’ David was a great leader, because he was a great follower. When he did not follow, he fell. It was the time of the year when kings go forth to battle, and David stayed in Jerusalem, and ended up in trouble with Bathsheba. He was a king, he should have went forth to battle, it was a time of the year when kings go forth to battle. But when David was great, when he followed, he was always a great leader. Great leaders are great followers amongst God’s people. “Cause me to know thy ways, O LORD, teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.” (verses 4-5) ‘without you I got nothing.’ “on thee do I wait all the day.” ‘I am waiting on you, teach me your Word, lead me in your truth,’ it’s always his Word, John 17:17 says ‘Lord, sanctify them by thy truth, thy Word is truth.’ Not ‘Thy Word is true,’ ‘Thy Word is truth.’
‘LORD, Remember Your Tender Mercies’
Then he comes to “remember”, verse 6, verse 7, “Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old.” “mercies” are plural, “kindnesses” are plural, “Remember, O LORD, thy tender” not just mercies, “tender mercies.” It’s interesting, because the Hebrew is “your bowels of mercies”, he perceives the LORD as having a visceral relationship with him, actually feeling his mercies towards him, that God actually feels. You know, it’s interesting, it tells us that we’re not supposed to grieve the Holy Spirit, whose God [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/TheHolySpirit.htm or in some unexplained way, a part of God]. To grieve not the Holy Spirit is the same word that’s used when Paul says ‘I don’t want you to sorrow,’ 1st Thessalonians chapter 4, verse 13, ‘I don’t want you to sorrow, even as others who have no hope,’ that’s the word “sorrow” for the loss of someone in death, mourning, to be mourning for a loved one, ‘I don’t want you to sorrow, like those who have no hope,’ same word where it says to you and I, ‘Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.’ God, the reason we have feelings, the reason fathers and sons, and fathers and daughters and mothers, the reason in relationship there’s love, there’s vulnerability, is because it comes from God the Father and Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, we’re created in his image and likeness. David doesn’t just say, ‘LORD, remember O LORD, your mercies,’ he says, ‘Remember LORD, your bowels of mercies, your tender mercies.’ “and your lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions:” (verses 6-7a) ‘You know, there are some things I want you to remember, some things I don’t want you to remember.’ “Remember not the sins of my youth,” isn’t that interesting? We think of David, he was over 50-years-old when he fell into adultery with Bathsheba, so we think of the sins of his old age. He’s got some stuff going on in his youth he didn’t tell us about. And we don’t need to know, by the way. Because we all got some stuff going on that everybody else here don’t know about, that we don’t want up on the PowerPoint. “Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD.” (verse 7) You know, isn’t it interesting, God can’t forget, he’s God, he knows the end from the beginning, it’s impossible for him to forget. But he can choose not to remember. That’s his choice. It tells us in Psalm 103, ‘Your sins and iniquities I will remember no more.’ He can’t forget them, but he chooses, in his mercy, because he has pity towards us as a father pitieth his children, ‘that your sins and iniquities I will remember no more.’ David understands that, he’s talking about it here. And that’s kind of now the end of the prayer where he’s speaking to God.
David Now Speaks Of, About God
Verses 8-10, “Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.” Now in verse 8 he starts to speak of God. He’s going to tell us about God. In the last seven verses he’s speaking to God. Now he says “Good and upright is the LORD:” and it’s certainly true, or he wouldn’t be able to get those first seven verses out of his mouth. “Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.” ‘Because of that, will he teach sinners the way.’ David’s saying, he’s going to do that, that’s who he is, I’m a sinner, that’s why I can go to him and ask for that. He says “Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.” (verses 8-9) Those humbled, those whose hearts are contrite before the LORD. “All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.” (verse 10) Now he’s answering the earlier prayer, ‘teach me your way,’ and so forth. Now he says, “All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.” Look, beautifully, as we look at this, when you’re dealing I would say with other people, when someone has offended you, you know, the Lord teaches us ‘Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.’ It says here, “All the paths of the LORD are mercy…” So, when it comes to relating to other people, I would say, when in doubt, err on the side of mercy. When you’re thinking about another person, and you really want to be right, and you’re thinking ‘Now do I come down and rebuke them, or do I just wait and be merciful?’ and you’re not sure, and you’re afraid you’re going to make a mistake. Err on the side of mercy. And you will stand before the Lord someday and say, ‘Lord, I wasn’t sure what to do with that, but I knew all of your ways are mercy, and you had been so merciful to me, that I didn’t know where to come down on that issue, and I thought it was a greater honour to you to be forgiving, to be merciful.’ “All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.” (verse 10)
First Confession Of Sin In the Book of Psalms
Verse 11 now, a proclamation between stanzas, “For thy name’s sake, O LORD, pardon mine inquity; for it is great.” Now the ancient rabbis tell us, this is the first confession of sin in the Book of Psalms. We’re twenty-five Psalms into it, their estimation is, this verse 11 is the first real confession of sin in the Book of Psalms. And David says ‘Do it [pardon mine iniquity] for your name’s sake, O LORD.’ Yeshua, Jesus, has become salvation, the LORD is our salvation. “for thy name’s sake, O LORD” ‘O Jehovah, pardon mine iniquity, for it is great.’ It’s not, ‘Pardon my iniquity, it’s only a tad, are we going to make a big deal about it?’ No, ‘For your name’s sake, pardon my inquity, for it is great.’ Now, verses 12 to 14, he tells us of the LORD that man should trust. And then when he gets down to verses 16, 12 to 14 is the LORD that man should trust, and then he goes to man who trusts the LORD. I’m trying to pull this together in my mind here, I have brain damage [daime bramage].
‘Who Will The LORD Teach His Ways, His Intimate Counsel?’---Where Would We Be Without God’s Word, The Bible?
But “What man is he that feareth the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.” (verse 12) that’s what he had prayed for earlier. “His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.” this is what he says, “The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.” (verses 13-14) The “secret,” it’s a very interesting word, and when you read it in the Hebrew it doesn’t mean “secret”, it’s speaks of intimacy, of counsel, the idea is, it’s “the intimate counsel” of the LORD, the thing that he would say secretly and intimately to you. “The intimate counsel of the LORD is with them that fear him.” We come before the LORD in awe, with a broken heart, the fear of the LORD is clean, you remember Psalm 19, Psalm 90, it’s good. ‘The secret, the intimate counsel of the LORD is with them that fear him.’ This is not groveling fear, this is not ‘he’s gonna punish me, he’s gonna chew me up and spit me out fear,’ this is genuine reverence, ‘I am sinful and God is holy.’ And it says “The intimate counsel of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.” (verse 14) Yahweh, a covenant-keeping God, it is always in the Word, his covenant. Where would we be without his Word? Let me ask you a question, what do you know without his Word? Look at the world you’re living in, go home and watch the news, watch the advertisements, watch the world you’re walking in, watch your facebook, I don’t recommend it, but you go there, you look at the way people dress. What do we know without his Word? What do we know about how people should dress? What do we know about morality without his Word? What do we know about sobriety without his Word? You know, in States where it’s illegal to get a big soda, like in New York, but social marijuana is ok, we’ve lost our minds. We want to save the Spotted Owl and we’re aborting a million babies a year. We’ve lost our minds, we park on driveways, we drive on parkways, we have no idea what we’re doing. Without the Word what would our expectation be today as we see what’s happening in the Middle East, Iran is still developing nuclear power [and thus nuclear weapons], Egypt’s in disarray, South America’s turning in regards to its direction, animosity towards North America? You just look what’s happening in the world, where’s your hope? How would you have hope? The wonderful thing is, you and I, looking at all these things, they’re harking to us of something, and it gives us our place in this world. You know, if Jesus in Matthew chapter 5 said ‘You are the light of the world, you are the salt of the earth,’ (verses 13-16) Both of those are emphatic. What he says is ‘You alone are the light of the world.’ Not the Buddhists, not the Hare Krishna’s, you alone, it’s emphatic, nobody else. ‘You alone are the salt of the earth,’ salt was a preservative [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/wearesalt.htm]. The only reason there hasn’t been a full-scale nuclear exchange is because the Church still has their feet on the ground, God’s people are still here. ‘Shall not the God of all the earth do right?’ Abraham said to God when he was going to Sodom and Gomorrah. ‘Certainly you’re not going to punish the righteous along with the wicked?’ The fact that we’re still here means that the Lord still has a plan for our generation. [Calvary Chapels believe in a pre-tribulation rapture. Whether that’s true or not is sort of theologically up for grabs, no one can seem to agree. See http://www.unityinchrist.com/Prophets_Prophecy.html] “he will shew them his covenant.” Isn’t that a wonderful place to be tonight, in covenant with the Living, Almighty, All-Powerful, Holy God through our Saviour?
“I Am Desolate And Afflicted”---It Can Be Lonely Following God
He says “Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.” (verse 15) ‘He’s going to take me,’ David was being chased, he was in some particular danger, he’s going to do that for him, ‘get me out of this.’ The first time he uses the word “pluck me out”, it’s the same Hebrew phrase in verse 17 “bring thou me out”, verse 15 anticipates God’s not even going to let David get into it, he’s going to get him out of it before he gets in there. Verse 17 is a bit different. But the same phrase. Verse 16 he says, “Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted.” David is lonely, and he admits, lonely, afflicted. Listen, you know, in your Christian experience you have those days [how about years]. Some days doing what I do is the loneliest thing that I’ve ever done in my life. My wife can’t step into this spot with me, my assistant pastors can’t, my kids can’t. Some days, what I do, and some days what you do, is the loneliest thing you’ve ever done in your life [same here]. And David, he speaks of it here before the LORD, he says “I am desolate and afflicted.” Look, the people we admire, ‘Make me like Abraham, make me like Daniel, make me like Joseph in Egypt, make me like Paul of Tarsus.’ Really? Really? Have you observed the process in any of those lives? And they were all solitary figures. There’s a cost to stepping aside from everything and saying ‘Lord, let me walk in your ways,’ even amongst God’s people sometimes. “I am desolate and afflicted”, particularly if your own son is trying to kill you. I can’t imagine a greater pain, I can’t imagine if one of my son’s is out to try to kill me, I can’t imagine. He says, “The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses.” (verse 17) ‘LORD, I am brokenhearted,’ some of you can say that tonight. “Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.” (verse 18) Some of you can say that tonight. There’s regret here, it seems, he’s saying ‘I don’t want to be ashamed,’ there certainly seems like there’s regret, where he says “forgive all of my sins.” Back in verse 11 he said “pardon mine iniquity; for it is great” you know, there’s an awareness of his humanity and of his failings. “Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred.” (verse 19) “Cruel hatred” in the King James is “a violent hatred,” there’s genuine danger. It’s ok for us to sit here and read this tonight, but imagine somebody being pursued by an army, by soldiers. You know, this is just a reality, he says ‘there’s fear here, genuine danger, there’s violent hatred, my enemies LORD, trying to surround me,’ “O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee.” (verse 20) Because you know, what he’s thinking, as he’s fleeing from Absalom, ‘This is all because of my sin, this is all because of what I did, this is all because of what I started, God this is payback, I deserve this.’ You and I do the same thing, sometimes. It’s so hard to settle back in, and receive God’s grace, and realize ‘You know, he knew I was going to do that the day he saved me. And the only one who is really surprised about the stupid thing I did is me.’ He’s not surprised. He’s not in heaven going ‘I got another lemon, this was a bad year.’ He knew, and he saved us anyway. He knew, and he saved us anyway. He knew, and he saved me anyway. He knew, and he made me his own anyway. He knew, and he called me his own, anyway. “O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee. Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.” (verses 20-22) He doesn’t want mercy just for himself, ‘LORD be gracious to your people, redeem Israel, O God, out of all of his troubles,’ Jacob, the children of Israel. Just like all of us, Lord, have mercy upon us.
A Psalm of David.
“Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide. Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reigns and my heart. For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth. I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evildoers; and will not sit with the wicked. I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD. That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works. LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth. Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men: in whose hands is mischief, and their right hand is full of bribes. But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me. My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregation will I bless the LORD.”
What David Has Done
“Now, as we come to this idea here in verse 21 [of Psalm 25], “integrity and uprightness preserve me”, as he goes into Psalm 26 he’s going to begin and end talking about his integrity, same word in the Hebrew, and he’s going to begin saying there, ‘You put me on the path,’ the things that he’s prayed about in Psalm 25 seem very, you know, congealed and come together in Psalm 26. So, when it says “integrity”, you know, you and I in our culture, “integrity”, what does it mean to be around somebody that has integrity? It means you can trust them. It means ‘ok, I can let my guard down,’ or ‘this guy gave me a handshake, he’s good for his word,’ integrity, it’s from the word “integer” which means “to be one.” Sometimes as Christians again we have duplicity in our lives, we’re not what we should be, we fail, that’s duplicity. Hypocrisy, which he’s going to speak about next Psalm, is when we’re acting like something we’re not. That’s different than duplicity. I act like a Christian most of the time. Once in a while something comes out of my mouth or my attitude that doesn’t gel with what I profess, that’s duplicity. What I want is integrity, means “to be one,” I want my talk and my walk to be the same thing [i.e. to be one with what you profess]. “Integrity” here, in all three places, in the end of Psalm 25 and in the two places in Psalm 26, the Hebrew word is “blamelessness,” it’s interesting. David would never say sinlessness, he knows he’s not sinless, but through a sacrificial system, he can be blameless. Through a genuine repentance, God says ‘I’ll remember your sins and iniquities no more.’ So there isn’t anybody here in this room tonight, that’s sinless, nobody. Wives, husbands, nobody’s sinless here. Again, Revelation chapter 5, John weeps and he cries, because they sought, no man in heaven, no man on the earth, and no man under the earth was found worthy to open the scroll. That’s a tremendous relief when you understand what that means, because you thought for sure you had to be the worthy one. None of us are sinless, none of us are worthy. That’s the idea here in this word “blamelessness” when it says “integrity” here. He says “Let blamelessness and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee. Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles” (Psalm 25:21-22) And now as we come Psalm 26, David says, see, it says it’s a Psalm of David, “Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide.” (verse 1) It’s a prayer. I don’t start many prayers that way, I don’t know about you guys. “Judge me, O LORD”, the reason? “for I have walked in mine integrity” it’s what he just prayed about, and he’s going to say it again in verse 11, at the end of this Psalm. “I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide.” (verse 1b) I kind of like that, not the electric slide here. The Hebrew word is “falter”, “I shall not falter”, we say “backslide.” He starts out by saying ‘Judge me, O LORD’. Now look, that means, it’s the intent “to vindicate,” ‘LORD judge me, examine me, to vindicate me, LORD,’ “for I have walked in mine blamelessness:” ‘LORD, I’m walking in that, I understand repentance, I understand,’ “I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide” ‘I shall not falter, I’m not going to backslide. LORD I’m transparent before you, I’m walking in the blamelessness that you’ve provided through the blood of your Son, I am trusting in you, LORD, and I’m going to trust in you, I don’t need to get stoned, I don’t need to provide my own sexual pleasure, I don’t need to be looking at pornography, I don’t need to punch this guy, if I’m trusting you, I’m not going to backslide, it’s not gonna happen.’ “Examine me” isn’t it interesting? “Judge me” the idea is “to vindicate me”,
‘Examine Me, Prove Me, Burn The Dross Out Of My Life’
verse 2 he says “Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.” ‘try my reins, my motives, the deepest part of my being, and my heart.’ Now it’s interesting, “Examine me” the idea is, again, to find a fault. “prove me” is “assay me,” it’s the word from the smelters house, when the dross would be burned out of the gold and silver in a crucible, that’s our word there, ‘Examine me there LORD, prove me, LORD, burn all of the dross out of me, LORD, this thing I’m going through that’s really hard and really difficult, LORD, then let it be purifying, LORD. I couldn’t be in this if it wasn’t for you LORD. That doesn’t work with my logic, because sometimes I sit around and say ‘If you love me, how can this be happening to me?’ If you love me and you’re on the throne, what in the world are you doing!? If I was God’ like he’s open to those kinds of suggestions. But sometimes we come to the point where we say ‘alright LORD, purify me, in this situation, LORD, burn all the dross away, examine me, prove me, try my reins and my heart,’ what he realizes, “For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth.” (verse 3) Not the problem, not the difficulty, “thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes” and you know, it’s hard, sometimes to keep his lovingkindness before our eyes. Guys, I would recommend, one of the best ways to do that is to stay in the Word. Stay in the Word. Not ‘A Bible, I have to read a Bible, that’s what they always said,’ you don’t understand if your attitude’s like that. This is the Word of God on the page, it is alive, it is powerful, it is sharper than any twoedged sword. This is the thing that came into your heart, and you were born-again. [Comment: During God’s calling process, when he places his Holy Spirit within an individual, now that indwelling Holy Spirit engineers a change of attitude within your mind. In Romans 8:1-9 it describes that change, where those verses show that those that are not of God have a hostile attitude toward God and his laws, his Word. But as Hebrews 8:6-13 and Jeremiah 31:31-34 also show, God is now writing his laws within our hearts and minds, the Romans 8:7 factor of hostility toward God and his laws, his Word the Bible has been reversed. That is what has come into our hearts upon genuine conversion, what Pastor Joe calls “being born-again from above.”] Not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible seed, of the Word of God. It comes down from heaven like the snow and the rain, and it never returns void, it always accomplishes what God sends it down to do in our lives, it is a lamp unto our feet, it is a light unto our path, ‘Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way, [or an old idiot like me]? By taking heed unto thy Word, O LORD. I have hidden thy Word in my heart that I might not sin against thee.’ But, you know, if you get alone with this, you need to hear God talking to you. People always ask me, ‘How can I pray for you, Pastor Joe?’ Pray for my alone-time. I’m so busy doing stuff for God, I don’t get time to spend time with the God I’m doing stuff for sometimes. My service can be the greatest enemy with my communion with him. But when I’m alone with him, and my Bible’s open, and sometimes early in the morning, sometimes in a lonely place, just sitting with my Bible, I’ve got tears running down, it’s not long before the Word is climbing off the page and hitting me on the head, and going into my heart. And I can pause at that point and say ‘Lord, you’re speaking to me, you’re speaking to me, Lord.’ “For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth.” in the Word. I don’t just read it, I live in it, I walk in it.
What David Has Not Done, What We’re Top Be Separate From
Here’s what he’s not done. Now he tells us there (verses 1-3), this is what I have done, “I have walked in thy truth.” Now he says this, “I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.” (verse 4) “Dissemblers,” hypocrites, ‘I’m not hanging out with that crowd.’ You know, the first Psalm, orphan Psalm written by David, ‘Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful, his delight is in the law of the LORD, on his law he doth meditate day and night, he’s going to be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, bringing forth his fruit in season, whatever he does is going to prosper,’ you know, all of that is there, he’s saying that here. He said ‘I have not sat with,’ it’s that first Psalm, ‘vain persons,’ “neither will I go with dissemblers.” Look, it doesn’t say you’re never going to be around sinners, it’s not what it’s saying. Jesus ate with tax gatherers and sinners, and he was accused because of it. Because the religious hoi polloi, the Pharisees, were shocked that he would talk to tax gatherers and sinners and harlots. Here’s what you have to understand, Jesus didn’t go to them to have fellowship with them. There’s no fellowship between light and darkness, he went to speak life into their being, to evangelize. You’re going to be around people who are unsaved, you need to be the messenger of truth. You can’t give somebody the Measles unless you’ve got it. You need to be contagious with Jesus, so when you’re around unsaved people, they get infected. Again, you’re not hanging around with them just to have fun, those days are over. I can’t hang with, when I first got saved, I’d struggle back and forth. I’d go sit with my old friends, they’d pass a joint around, you take a few hits with that, and then you’re thinking ‘Lord, don’t come now, don’t come now Lord, don’t blow the trumpet now! Don’t come now, Lord Jesus,’ just you realize, if you let a German Shepherd run with a pack of wolves, the wolves don’t become domestic, the German Shepherd becomes wild. And we can’t run with the wolves anymore. We can go to them to evangelize them, to share God’s love, we’re not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. But we can’t go to hang out with them, because we don’t have any common ground anymore. You know what, I’m 62-years-old. The guys I hung around with, that aren’t saved, are still hanging in the same bar, still listening to the Rolling Stones, most of them are divorced, they haven’t changed in over 40 years. You can’t change without Jesus Christ [and Jesus Christ and God the Father dwell inside you through the Holy Spirit, cf. John 14]. But I’m a new creation, I have a new destiny, I have new perspectives, I have new hopes, my whole life is different [for that hope, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/cor15-16.htm]. I can’t find anything in common with them. I care for them, I pray for them, I’m glad if I see one, they know I’m a Bible-thumper or something, they’re not sure what I am. They have no idea, because they remember me BC, they think ‘Why any of you would come here and listen to me, you’re all deceived.’ Paul was worse, so. But he says, ‘This is what I have done, LORD, I have walked in your truth.’ “I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evildoers; and will not sit with the wicked.” (verses 4-5) Isn’t it interesting, evildoers have congregations too, not just us. We congregate, that’s a good thing. ‘We’re not supposed to neglect the gathering together of ourselves, especially as we see the day drawing near.’ We’re to be stirring one another up to faith in good works. And if you don’t see “the day” drawing near, you need to read your Bible again [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming_4.htm]. But unbelievers have their own congregations. In the Church [he means the greater Body of Christ], critics have their own little puss-pockets, backsliders, prodigals, they got there own little clubs, ‘oh yea, it’s because they do this, oh yea, they don’t care,’ and they have their own little, you know those little breadbaskets on the table with little promises, every morning you have these precious promises, Christians read those? Well backsliders have their own little loaf there, ‘Let him without sin cast the first stone,’ you know, they got all their own verses in there, there’s four of them, I think. [laughter] But they have their own congregations, they congregate. You know, we say ‘Birds of a feather flock together.’ He says here, look, ‘I’ve hated the congregation of the wicked, I don’t hang out there, I’m not going to sit with the wicked, I don’t find fellowship there,’
What We’re To Be Separated Unto
“I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD: that I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.” (verses 6-7) He talks about sanctification here, he talks about separation here. ‘Listen, I hate to hang there, I don’t do that,’ that’s separation. But that’s only half of the equation. “To be separate from” is one thing, but then you have to turn around, and what are you “separated unto”? Separated from is one thing, separated unto is another. He says “I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD” because this is what I am separated to. All of the sin, all of this other stuff, he says, ‘it’s driven from me, so I will compass thine altar, it seems he’s washing by the brazen laver there, he’s coming to the LORD, I’m going to, I’m driven there, I’m going to compass your altar,’ “that I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.” (verse 7) David would rather no doubt have been a priest than a king. He says, “LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.” (verse 8) Sweet, tonight, huh, the habitation of his house. I mean, where did we used to hang out on Wednesday nights, you know, I mean? Isn’t it interesting, I never thought, first of all, before I was a Christian, if somebody had said to me, ‘Some day you’re going to be a pastor,’ I probably would have decked him. Because that was a bad category, whatever I thought that was. But I never dreamt I’d go to church Sunday morning, and like it, and sing the songs. Listen, and then come back Sunday night, and then come Wednesday night, then go to a home fellowship, I’m addicted. It’s a wonderful addiction. “I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.” King James says “thine honour” the Hebrew is “glory,” “I love the place where thine glory dwelleth.” He inhabits the praises of his people. He says now, “Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men: in whose hands is mischief, and their right hand is full of bribes.” (verses 9-10) I don’t want to be scooped up in that mess. Whatever difficult time David is writing about, enduring.
‘My Foot Stands On Level Ground In The Assembly’
“But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me.” ‘I will walk in my blamelessness, LORD, I’m in a place of blamelessness, because I love your altar, because I love your house, because you are the God of my salvation.’ “as for me, I will walk in mine blamelessness: redeem me, and be merciful unto me.” and wonderfully here it says, the last verse says, “My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the LORD.” (verse 12) “congregations” plural. That’s what the King James says. This is what the Hebrew says, “My foot standeth on level ground in the assembly, I will bless the LORD.” Isn’t it interesting? “My foot standeth on level ground in the assembly,” when we come here, there’s something that happens, when we sing, when we study his Word, and he inhabits our praises, ‘Where two or three are gathered, there he is in the midst,’ you know, we come here and we find. You know, we were out there during the week, they were making fun of us because we believe in creation, or they’re making fun of us because we think marriage between a man and a woman is sacred, or they’re making fun of us if we believe in morality, or they’re making fun of us for this or that. And then, all of a sudden, we come here and we get together with a whole bunch of people that got beat up all week that believe the same thing we do. It feels good, it feels good, ‘my feet are on level ground in the assembly,’ ‘Ah, comrades, you’re bleeding, me too, you have lumps on your head, me too, you’re tired of all that? Me too. All week you’ve been thinking ‘Lord, blow the trumpet and get me outa here?’ Me too. We’re on level ground here, level ground. I’ll go in there, I’m on level ground in the assembly of God.’ ‘Bless the LORD, bless the LORD.’ Does that sound like a good idea? Let’s bless him, let’s have the musicians come. Let’s stand, let’s pray, let’s worship. ‘Lord, you dissect us with these things, Lord, you lay bare our own hearts to ourselves, and Lord, as your Word went through David, through the quill to the page, and now it’s preserved, Lord, these centuries and centuries and centuries, thousands of years later, Lord, still alive, still powerful, Lord, still speaking to the deepest part of one of your children, to our hearts, to our reins, Lord, still bringing health and healing, Lord, still causing us to know your ways, Lord, and all your ways are mercy, Lord, and lovingkindness. Lord, we’re growing in that, Lord, we’re growing in it, Lord. Let us take hold of those truths in faith. You tell us that even in the ages to come, we’ll still be learning of your lovingkindness, your mercy, your grace. But Lord let us have all we can embrace now, Lord. We know that your Word tells us we love you because you first loved us, and sent your Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Lord, we lift our voices with love for you now, Father, we lift our brokenness in hope, we lift our hurt and our pain to you, you are the God of our salvation. Lord we lift our discouragement to you now as we lift our voices in prayer, Lord we lift all that we are to you, Lord, and we thank you Lord for your Word, in Jesus name and for his glory, amen.’