Theme: In God’s School
This week’s lessons instruct us of the need to put our trust in God throughout our lives, because he alone will never let us down.
Scripture: Psalm 25:1-22
David knows that is not going to happen, however, because, as I have been saying, this is not a psalm of anguish but a psalm of mature trust in God and instruction for others. From the beginning David’s assertion is that he will not be put to shame (“no one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame,” verse 3) and that this will happen to his treacherous enemies instead.
But there is another side to this confidence, valid as it may be, and that is that if this is to happen—if David is to remain firm to the end—then he must be taught of God so that he will be enabled to walk in God’s way and so be found always to be a person of integrity and uprightness (v. 21). In other words, although it is true that God will not let us down, abandon us or disappoint us, this blessed truth of perseverance is not something that merely works itself out automatically or mechanically but rather is something that requires learning, obedience, faithfulness, trust and reverence on our part.
Verses 4 and 5 show that what is needed is to know the truth, that is, the truth found in the Bible, and thereby also to know the ways in which we must walk if we are to be pleasing to and be preserved by God. This is a very practical matter. It is not a question of abstract ideas but of obedience.
One of the most helpful contemporary commentators on the psalms is Peter C. Craigie, who taught at the University of Calgary, Alberta, until his early death in 1985. He made this point by comparing Psalm 25 with the well-known opening psalm of the Psalter. He writes:
The prayer of Psalm 25 complements the wisdom of Psalm 1. The latter, in the
more didactic tradition of wisdom, established the two ways, that of the righteous and that of the wicked. But taken alone the dispassionate wisdom of Psalm 1 could be misleading; it might be taken to imply that the essence of life was simply choosing the right road—once the choice had been made, all would be well. But in Psalm 25…the prayer is that of a person who has made the choice [presented in Psalm 1] and is walking the road of the righteous; but the dispassionate wisdom has been transformed to passionate petition, for the right road is not an easy one on which to walk. It is lined with enemies who would like nothing better than to put the walker to shame; and the traveler on the road is also plagued with internal doubts, as he calls to mind previous wanderings from the path and former sins. The essence of the road of the righteous is this: it is a road too difficult to walk without the companionship and friendship of God.4
How, then, does the psalmist arrive at his settled confidence that God will instruct him and lead him unerringly on this road? The answer is that this very instruction teaches him this, because it teaches him about God’s character.
Why does Dr. Boice say this is a psalm of mature trust? What do we learn about the Christian life from it?
What is the foundation for this settled confidence? How does this differ from other competing foundations in the world today?
Application: The Bible tells us that the road is broad that leads to destruction, but narrow that leads to eternal life. Pray for opportunities to speak with someone about these two very different roads, with very different destinations.
4Peter C. Craigie, Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 19, Psalms 1-50 (Waco, TX: Word, 1983), p. 222.