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(Click or hover over the above Scripture reference link to read the passage.)
Psalm 25 has the notion of seeking after God to it. I think sometimes we cheapen the word seek in our Christian context. One of our two uses of the word refers to people who don’t know Jesus, but who have some interest in learning more, whom we call seekers. The other use is a generic word used maybe for prayer and Sunday morning worship: “Seek him this morning!” But the word seek has much more desperation to it than that. I picture someone hacking a path through the jungle with a machete, seeking a treasure, or seeking safety from a predator who is following them. This type of seeking gets my blood pressure pumping. It’s not a seeking that comes from weekly monotony, but from a place of true and desperate need. This is the type of seeking we find in Psalm 25.
The psalmist’s seeking is a process of putting his trust in the Lord. In fact, the very word “Lord” depicts trust. A lord is a ruler. A lord is in charge. I trust you, God, to be the Lord of my life, instead of me being the lord of my life. You rule my life instead of me ruling my life. It takes an incredible amount of trust to make that decision, and the psalmist shows here that there are deepening layers to this process of trust. I would argue it’s even a lifetime process of going deeper and deeper into this trust, and that a primary portion of our regular prayer life should involve this type of deepening of trust.
You get the sense throughout Psalm 25 that the writer is definitely not out of the woods as he seeks God and aims to trust him. As he asks God to not let his enemies triumph over him, he also asks God to show him his ways and teach him his paths. He asks God to guide him in his trust and teach him. This is such an active and living process. The psalmist would have known the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible). In this sense, he knew God’s written will, but he is still asking the living God to reveal his ways and paths and truths to him. I think there is great beauty in this, and I can relate well to this desperation. The beauty is in God’s living presence. His living communing with us through the ups and downs and complexities of living in this fallen world.
The psalmist puts his hope in God, his Savior. (In verses 6-7, 11…) He rests in the gospel of God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness of sins (centuries before Jesus–there’s a theological zinger for you).
The psalmist’s feet are currently in a snare (verse 15) as he seeks God for this path and as he puts his hope in the gospel and rests in God’s mercy, grace, and forgiveness. In verse 16, the mood of his prayer shifts. He has remembered God’s mercy and grace, and has reminded God of these attributes of His, now he implores God to show them to him. His raw emotion and experience in this fallen world come to light: for I am lonely and afflicted.
What a prayer we can relate to!
Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.
In our loneliness and anguish, we can come back to the gospel. We can be reminded of God’s amazing grace, mercy, and love toward us. We can ask God to pour more of his grace, mercy, and love on to us. Asking him to help us experience these truths more fully in the midst of the anguish we are in.
Like so many psalms prior, the psalmist concludes but taking his refuge in God in the middle of the storm. By putting his hope in God in the middle of the war.
May God be your refuge in the midst of the storm you are in. With your feet stuck in their snare, may the grace, mercy, and love of the gospel quell your loneliness as you cry out to God.
Prayer for the day: God I seek you! Show me your ways. Show me your paths. This world is so lost and confused and I find myself being sucked into its ways and its values, even though I know they only bring emptiness. Help me to trust you Lord! Take me into deeper and deeper depths of trusting you. Show me where I’m in sin, where I’m rebelling against your will, so that I may repent and walk according to your ways. Be my hope. Be my refuge. Fill me up in my loneliness. Meet me in my loneliness. Remind me of the active love you have for me. Remind me that I am your son / daughter and you hold me in your arms.
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