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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Psalm 25: Sweet Sorrow

Psalm 25, trusting God in bad circumstancesTo read insights for last week's study, scroll to the bottom of the original study HERE.

She joined our group, broken, hurting, afraid. 

It was my first Bible study group as a new Christian, and even though she was several years younger than I was, she was an "elder" in the faith. 

I shall never forget the prayer time when she spontaneously began singing the praise song "Unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul" (Psalm 25). 

Her husband was openly and unapologetically carrying on an affair despite his past commitment to Christ. 

And, like the Psalmist, her song was sweet, sorrowful, hopeful and faithful all at the same time. 

And we joined her in a chorus of shared tears. 

Verses four and five were her request: "Show me your ways...guide me in your truth," and she never wavered in the confidence expressed in verse ten: "All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful." 

I never read Psalm 25 without remembering her beautiful song and her faith in the midst of trial.

Would you like to hear this 70's praise song?
You'll find it HERE

Bible Study

What help does Psalm 25 offer us when we are going through painful trials or confusing difficulties?

To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul. 2 O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me. 

3 Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause. 

4 Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. 5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day. 

6 Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, For they are from of old. 7 Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your mercy remember me, For Your goodness’ sake, O LORD. 

8 Good and upright is the LORD; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way. 9 The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way. 

10 All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies. 

11 For Your name’s sake, O LORD, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great. 12 Who is the man that fears the LORD? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses. 13 He himself shall dwell in prosperity, And his descendants shall inherit the earth. 

14 The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant. 15 My eyes are ever toward the LORD, For He shall pluck my feet out of the net. 

16 Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, For I am desolate and afflicted. 17 The troubles of my heart have enlarged; Bring me out of my distresses! 18 Look on my affliction and my pain, And forgive all my sins. 

19 Consider my enemies, for they are many; And they hate me with cruel hatred. 20 Keep my soul, and deliver me; Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You. 21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You. 22 Redeem Israel, O God, Out of all their troubles! (KJV)
copyright 2014, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com 
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted 

Please work through study before reading these insights

Psalm 25:1 is an especially intriguing verse to me. In various versions, it is translated as thus: "I worship you (NRV)...I bring my life (AMP)...I lift my inner being to you (CJB)...I offer my heart (CEV)...I put my life in your hands(ERV)...I give myself to you (NCV)...In you, Lord my God, I put my trust (NIV)" 

Matthew Henry says this about this phrase: "This psalm is full of devout affection to God ... "Up with you hearts," was anciently used as a call to devotion. With a holy contempt of the world and the things of it, by a fixed thought and active faith, we must set God before us, and let out our desires towards him as the fountain of our happiness." 

In the preceeding Psalm (24:4), the Psalmist describes the one who has a close relationship with God as he who has NOT "lifted up his soul unto vanity" (KJV). It appears that we all "lift our souls"--give ourselves-- to something, good or bad. Lifting our soul to God and placing it in His hands is the most freeing, protective, purposeful, productive thing we can do. 

The remainder of Psalm 25 is a mixture of 3 elements: 
  • Praise 
  • Pleading for God's help 
  • Asking forgiveness 
David realizes some of his problems are caused by others, some of his problems are caused by his own sins (even sins he committed years earlier that had lasting consequences - v.7). 

So he comes to the Lord, repentant, dependent, and confident in God's ability to help him. This is an approach that will always help us when going through difficulty.

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