Introduction: If Psalms 22 through 24 highlight in dramatic form the revelation of Jesus as the Messiah and His glory as God, why does the Bible include 126 more Psalms? The answer is that we must learn to continue to cling to God while we anxiously await the return of the Messiah. David faced ongoing attacks from his enemies. Believers also face ongoing spiritual and sometimes physical attacks from their enemies. Here, from David’s example, God reveals several blessings that He provides to those who cling to Him during their trials. These include: (1) protection, (2) guidance, (3) mercy, (4) faithfulness, (5) love, (6) hope, and (7) redemption.
First, during one of his many trials, David stated with great confidence that he knew that he could enjoy God’s protection when he humbled himself and trusted God. When you face a trial, God will also protect you when you humble yourself and put your trust in Him. Second, in his humility, David knew that he could not find his own path to escape danger. Thus, he turned to God for guidance. When you face a trial, God also promises to guide you when you put your faith and trust in Him. Third, to maintain his relationship with God, David invoked God’s loving character and prayed for God to forgive and forget his sins. When you sin, God is also merciful and forgiving when you put your faith in Jesus and repent of your sins. Fourth, David proclaimed God’s faithfulness for those who fear Him by choosing to live in a Covenant relationship with Him. God is also faithful to keep His promises to you when you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Fifth, when David felt distress, misery, and trouble, he prayed for God to show him His love and comfort. When you face a trial and feel distress or misery, God also offers you His love and comfort when you turn to Him. Sixth, in his uncertainty, David turned to God, trusted Him, and he stated that he waited for Him. When you face uncertainty, God also offers you hope when you turn to Him and place your trust in Him. Finally, as an intercessor, David prayed for the redemption and salvation of Israel. God has also given you the power of intercessory prayer. God is also faithful to redeem and save those who put their faith in Jesus.
1. Protection: God Protects Those Who Humble Themselves and Trust Him. Ps. 25:1-3
David humbled himself and trusted in God for protection. When David faced an enemy, he proclaimed that God protects His people when they act with humility and trust in Him: “A Psalm of David. 1 To You, Lord, I lift up my soul. 2 My God, in You I trust, do not let me be ashamed; do not let my enemies rejoice over me. 3 Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed; those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.” (Ps. 25:1-3). The exact timing of this Psalm or the context of David’s struggle are unknown. What matters is how David responded. He put his trust in God for protection.
David “lifted his soul to God.” David knew that God was not someone for him to command. Thus, he humbled himself by stating: “1 To You, Lord, I lift up my soul.” (Ps. 25:1). “Make the soul of Your servant joyful, for to You, Lord, I lift up my soul.” (Ps. 86:4). The expression “I lift up my soul”, “is an expressive figure of speech speaking of the surrender, submission, and waiting upon God that David directed toward Yahweh (the LORD), the covenant God of Israel. It was as if David held his soul in outstretched hands up to heaven saying, ‘Here I am LORD, completely surrendered unto you.’” (David Guzik on Ps. 25).1 God also wants you to approach Him in humility.
David placed his trust God. Instead of taking matters into his own hands, David stated: “2 My God, in You I trust, . . .” (Ps. 25:2). “A Psalm of David. In You, LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; in Your righteousness rescue me.” (Ps. 31:1). David trusted in God, even when he could not have known the outcome of the battle: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5). “casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Pet. 5:7). “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Cor. 16:13). “Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the LORD.” (Ps. 31:24). “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” (Dt. 31:6). Even when it appears that evil is prevailing, you should still trust God: “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do.” (Lk. 12:4). Even when evil seems to be prevailing everywhere, do you trust God?
God is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. David praised God as his “shield” and his refuge: “He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.” (2 Sam. 22:31). “But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.” (Ps. 3:3). “For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him with favor as with a shield.” (Ps. 5:12). “My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Ps. 18:2). From David’s example, his son Solomon also called God his shield: “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” (Prov. 30:5). When God is your refuge, He is also your shield.
Praise God when He protects or delivers you. With confidence, David proclaimed that those with faith who “wait” on God will not “be ashamed” by their enemies. Instead, enemies who act “treacherously” will be the ones to “be ashamed.” (Ps. 25:3). When God fulfilled this promise, David was always faithful to praise God and give Him the credit: “A Psalm of David. I will exalt You, LORD, for You have lifted me up, and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.” (Ps. 30:10). “You are my God, and I give thanks to You; You are my God, I exalt You.” (Ps. 118:28). Many pray for help but then forget to thank God when he protects or delivers. Always praise God and give Him the credit.
2. Guidance: God Guides Those Who Put Their Faith and Trust in Him. Ps. 25:4-5.
David pleaded with God to make His pathways of righteousness known to David. David knew that he would make poor choices on his own. Thus, he turned to God to guide him: “4 Make me know Your ways, Lord; teach me Your paths. 5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day.” (Ps. 25:4-5). God has set narrow paths to follow: “In the Hebrew, I find the word here used is ‘wheel tracks,’ such ruts as wagons make when they go down our green roads in wet weather and sink in up to the axles. God’s ways are at times like heavy wagon-tracks, and they cut deep into our souls; yet they are all of them mercy.” (Charles Spurgeon Ps. 25).
David regularly prayed for God to guide him. Because he knew that he was a sinner, David made his prayers for God’s guidance a regular part of his walk with God: “LORD, lead me in Your righteousness because of my enemies; make Your way straight before me.” (Ps. 5:8). “He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for the sake of His name.” (Ps. 23:3). “Teach me Your way, LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.” (Ps. 27:11). “For You are my rock and my fortress; for the sake of Your name You will lead me and guide me.” (Ps. 31:3). “Teach me Your way, LORD; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.” (Ps. 86:11). “God is my strong fortress; and He sets the blameless on His way.” (2 Sam. 22:33).
God’s Word will light and guide your path. David praised God as his “lamp” who “illumines my darkness.” (Ps. 18:28; 2 Sam. 22:29). God guided David through His Word and prayer: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Ps. 119:105). If you read His Word and pray for guidance, God will also guide your path.
Meditate upon the God’s Word. David also memorized God’s Word to keep himself on the right path: “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.” (Ps. 119:11). “. . . Your law is within my heart.” (Ps. 40:8; 1:2; 119:16; Jer. 15:16). Solomon also memorized the law (Prov. 6:21-22; 7:3). Joshua also told the people to meditate day and night on the book of the law (Josh. 1:8). Moses also exhorted the people to internalize God’s Word into their lives (Dt. 11:18). Jesus also memorized the law and quoted it from memory throughout His entire life. In addition to the blessings listed above, the Word will keep your ways pure (Ps. 37:31; 119:9). It will teach and admonish you (Col. 3:16). When you follow it, David promised that you will bear fruit in God like a tree planted by water (Ps. 1:1-3). Are you meditating on God’s Word?
Be patient for God’s guidance. David stated “for You I wait all the day.” (Ps. 25:5). To teach us to be patient, God’s guidance does not come immediately. “Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the LORD.” (Ps. 27:14). Will you patiently wait for God to guide you when you pray and receive no response?
3. Mercy: God is Merciful to Those Who Put Their Faith in Him and Repent. Ps. 25:6-7
David pleaded with God to expunge his sins. In order for God to hear his prayers, David invoked God’s loving character and prayed for God to both forgive and forget his sins: “6 Remember, Lord, Your compassion and Your faithfulness, for they have been from of old. 7 Do not remember the sins of my youth or my wrongdoings; remember me according to Your faithfulness, for Your goodness’ sake, Lord.” (Ps. 25:6-7). Like David, Job was also concerned about “the guilty deeds of my youth.” (Job 13:26). Thanks to Jesus, you no longer need to worry about your old sins when you repent.
David regularly turned to God to forgive his sins. When the prophet Nathan confronted David for his adultery and murder, David immediately confessed his sins: “A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Be gracious to me, God, according to Your faithfulness; according to the greatness of Your compassion, wipe out my wrongdoings. Wash me thoroughly from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.” (Ps. 51:1-2; 2 Sam. 12:1-13). David also made repentance a regular part of his walk “Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.” (Ps. 19:1).
Praise God for His mercy and forgiveness. The Jews celebrated that God forgave their sins: “Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth;”’ (Ex. 34:6; 33:19; Nu. 19:18). “For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.” (Dt. 4:31). “You are a God of forgiveness, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in mercy; and You did not abandon them.” (Neh. 9:17). Are you praising God for His mercy and grace in your life?
Jesus will forgive your sins when you confess them. Jesus also promises to forgive your sins if you confess them: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jo. 1:9). He not only forgives sins, He will remember the sins no more: “I, I alone, am the one who wipes out your wrongdoings for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” (Is. 43:25).
4. Faithfulness: God is Faithful to Those Who Put Their Faith in Him. Ps. 25:8-14.
David praised God for His faithfulness for those who fear Him. For those who fear God and chose to live in Covenant relationship with Him, David promised God’s faithfulness: “8 The Lord is good and upright; therefore He instructs sinners in the way. 9 He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way. 10 All the paths of the Lord are faithfulness and truth to those who comply with His covenant and His testimonies. 11 For the sake of Your name, Lord, forgive my wrongdoing, for it is great. 12 Who is the person who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. 13 His soul will dwell in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land. 14 The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant.” (Ps. 25:8-14). “In Ps. 25:12, Yahweh teaches that the way that He chooses to the one who fears Him. Humility (25:9) springs from an experience of Yahweh’s holiness that results in righteous fear. To fear God is to respect Him, to know that He cannot be taken for granted or presumed upon. To fear Him is to avoid infringing upon His holiness because one dreads the consequences. Living in the fear of Yahweh does not result in a shattered state of psychological distress but in the enjoyment of God’s goodness. Thus, in 25:12 Yahweh teaches the one who fears Him, and in 25:13 that man who fears Yahweh dwells in goodness and his seed inherits the land.” (James M. Hamilton Jr., Evangelical Bible Theology Commentary Psalms (Vol. I: Psalms 1-72) (Lexham Academic 2021) p. 317).
God is faithful to keep His promises to His people. David stated that for those who fear God, “his descendants will inherit the land.” (Ps. 25:13) and God “will make them know His covenant.” (Ps. 25:14). In the Old Testament, God made Covenants with His people. This includes His Covenant with Abraham (Gen. 15:18). “I will make My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you exceedingly.” (Gen. 17:2). Believers in Jesus are heirs to God’s Covenant with Abraham: “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.” (Gal. 3:29).
God is also faithful to share His counsel with His people. David further stated that those who fear God will know the “The secret of the Lord . . .” (Ps. 25:14). “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will advise you with My eye upon you. . . Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who wait for His faithfulness,” (Ps. 32:8, 18). In Psalm 24:14, “The word translated ‘secret counsel’ (סודי) indicates that there is close, intimate communion between God and His people; He reveals His heart as well as His will to them (see, e.g., Gen. 18:17 where the Lord will not hide from Abraham what He was about to so; see also Prov. 3:22, Ps. 55:14, 15).” (Allen Ross, A Commentary of the Psalms: Volume 1 (1-41), Kregel Academic (2011) p. 603). But His counsel will frequently appear as foolishness to the world (1 Cor. 2:14).
God delights in your fellowship. God seeks out and desires your fellowship with Him: “ . . . for the LORD delights in you, and to Him your land will be married.” (Is. 62:4b). “Whereas you have been forsaken and hated with no one passing through, I will make you an everlasting pride, a joy from generation to generation.” (Is. 60:15). “The LORD your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” (Zeph. 3:17). For those who seek after his way, God will also bless them with His great delight: “The steps of a man are established by the LORD, and He delights in his way.” (Ps. 37:23).
Give thanks for Jesus’ faithfulness. As an heir to the Covenant with Abraham, you can also thank Jesus that He is faithful to keep His promises to you: “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His faithfulness to a thousand generations for those who love Him and keep His commandments;” (Dt. 7:9). “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will do it.” (1 Thess. 5:24). Among His many promises, Jesus is faithful to keep His promise to never forsake His people: “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” (Dt. 31:6; 4:31; Heb. 13:5; Is. 43:25). You can also give thanks that His faithfulness is not conditioned upon our faithfulness: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Tim. 2:13; Nu. 23:19). How are you thanking Jesus?
5. Love: God Offers His Love and Comfort to Those Who Turn to Him. Ps. 25:15-19.
David pleaded with God to show him love and comfort in his time of distress. When David felt distress, misery, and trouble, David turned to God for His love and comfort: “15 My eyes are continually toward the Lord, for He will rescue my feet from the net. 16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. 17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. 18 Look at my misery and my trouble, and forgive all my sins. 19 Look at my enemies, for they are many, and they hate me with violent hatred.” (Ps. 25:15-19). David felt that his enemies in their “hatred” had set a “net” to entrap him (Ps. 25:15). Thus, he felt “lonely” “afflicted”, “distresses”, “misery”, and “trouble” (Ps. 25:16-18). If David were motived by the flesh, he would have fought back. Instead, he “continually” looked to God (Ps. 25:15). “For my eyes are toward You, GOD, the Lord; in You I take refuge; do not leave me defenseless.” (Ps. 141:8).
God loves you so much that He sent His only Son to die for you. Jesus’ death on the cross is a testament to God the Father’s loving character and His desire to be reconciled to you: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (Jo. 3:16). “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (Jo. 10:11). “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (Jo. 15:13). “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Ro. 5:8). Jesus does not merely want to save you. He wants to delight in your fellowship, symbolized by His desire to dine with you: ‘“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev. 3:20). Are you seeking out His love and fellowship?
Jesus also offers you comfort in your distress. Because He loves you, Jesus also offers you His comfort when you cry out to Him: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Cor. 1:3-4; 7:6).
6. Hope: God Offers Hope to Those Who Put Their Faith and Trust in Him. Ps. 25:20-21.
David placed his trust in God and anxiously awaited Him to find hope in his distress. In his uncertainty, David turned to God, trusted Him, and he stated that he waited for Him: “20 Guard my soul and save me; do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You. 21Let integrity and uprightness protect me, for I wait for You.” (Ps. 25:20-21). For emphasis, David wrote three times in this Psalm about “waiting” for God (Ps. 25:3,5,21). When you wait in God, you put your hope in Him to protect you, guide you, and deliver you.
During your trials, put your hope in God. When he faced his enemies, David did not place his hope in politics. Instead, as our example, he placed his hope in God: “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD.” (Ps. 31:4) (NKJV). “And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.” (Ps. 39:7). “My soul, wait in silence for God alone, for my hope is from Him.” (Ps. 62:5).
Jesus offers you the hope of eternal joy in heaven. When you feel under attack, you can find many kinds of hope through Jesus. “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and reliable and one which enters within the veil,” (Heb. 6:19). Most importantly, He promises to resurrect you and give you eternal joy in heaven: “13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as indeed the rest of mankind do, who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead, so also God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. 15 For we say this to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who remain, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” (1 Thess. 4:13-17; Rev. 20:4-6). “And the redeemed of the LORD will return and come to Zion with joyful shouting, and everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” (Is. 35:10). “Your sun will no longer set, nor will your moon wane; for you will have the LORD as an everlasting light, and the days of your mourning will be over.” (Is. 60:2). Paul described the joy of heaven as something beyond what any have seen or experienced (1 Cor. 2:9). Are you sharing the good news with others?
The Holy Spirit is Jesus’ down-payment on your eternal joy. In addition to eternal joy, Jesus offers you an abundant life on Earth: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (Jo. 10:10). The abundant life that He offers includes the peace and joy that only the Holy Spirit can provide: “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Ro. 14:17). “[I]n Your presence is fullness of joy;” (Ps. 16:11; 21:6). Joy is also a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22; Ro. 14:17; 15:13; Phil. 2:2,17). When you suffer pain from some unexplained trial or tragedy, do you seek out the joy of the Spirit?
7. Redemption / Salvation: God Redeems Those Who Put Their Faith in Jesus. Ps. 25:22.
David pleaded as an intercessor for the redemption of all God’s people. As a man of faith, David cared about the plight of all God’s people. Thus, he prayed for the salvation of all Israel: “22 Redeem Israel, God, from all his distress.” (Ps. 25:22). The Hebrew word “ redeem” (לגאול) means to “set free”. (Allen Ross, p. 605). If Israel feared God as David did, they would live free and secure from evil: “But whoever listens to me will live securely and will be at ease from the dread of evil.” (Prov. 1:33). “The fear of the LORD leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.” (Prov. 19:23).
God’s redemption can include salvation. God offers more than freedom on Earth. He offers salvation in the form of an eternity with Him: “He has remembered His graciousness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.” (Ps. 98:3). Salvation is available to all who believe in Jesus (Jo. 3:16). The gift that He offers is free to all who believe (Ro. 6:23).
Praise your Redeemer. David called the Creator of the universe “my Redeemer”. (Ps. 19:14). Isaiah also called God his Redeemer: “This is what the LORD says, He who is your Redeemer,. . .,” (Is. 44:24). Jeremiah also professed faith in his Redeemer: “Their Redeemer is strong, the LORD of armies is His name; . . .” (Jer. 50:34). Job also professed faith in his Redeemer in heaven: “Yet as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last, He will take His stand on the earth.” (Job 19:25). Jesus came to fulfill these promises: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, . . .” (Gal. 3:13). Are you praising Jesus for your freedom and your salvation?
The effective fervent prayer of the righteous can accomplish great things. Here, David showed that he was led by the Spirit to pray for others. By praying for others, God helped David to take his eyes off himself and his sorrows. Jesus also wants you to pray fervently and in faith: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (Ja. 5:16). David was one of many great intercessory prayer warriors (2 Sam. 24:17). Others included: Abraham (Gen. 18:23), Moses (Ex. 32:11-14; Nu. 14:18-22; 16:21-24), Samuel (1 Sam. 12:23), Elijah (1 Kgs. 17:21-22), Elisha (2 Kgs. 6:17), Hezekiah (2 Kgs. 19:15), Josiah (2 Chr. 34:21), Jonah (Jo. 1:12), Nehemiah (Neh., 1:6, 11; 4:4, 9; 5:19; 6:9, 14; 13:14), Ezra (Ezra 9:6-13), the Apostles (2 Tim. 1:3; Col. 1:9; Eph. 1:16; 1 Thess. 3:10), and Jesus. Through faith, you are part of Jesus’ holy priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6). As His appointed priest, you too have the power of intercessory prayer. Are you praying as an intercessor for those whose are lost to sin?