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Our Common Prayerbook 25 – 4

posted by Scot McKnight

Offering.pngOur theme for Psalm 25 is that prayer is soul-ish wandering. Soul-ish wandering begins in one place and the spirit and soul wander from place to place and from thought to thought while in God’s presence. One could say that genuine prayer often meanders from one thought to another. 

Psalm 25:12-14 lands the meanderer in the realm of the theme of “fear of God” though the NetBible, which we quote after the jump, focuses on being faithful or loyal. Goldingay’s commentary is our preferred translation: “those who fear God.”
Meandering, the psalmist reflects on YHWH’s faithfulness to those who revere YHWH.
But what’s the point here? That God is with those who revere/fear him. Those who revere God flourish — or are blessed. The psalmist focuses on choosing that path: YHWH instructs those who fear him in the way they should choose, or in the way they “should” live.

Psalms 25

Psalm 25

By David.

25:1 O Lord, I come before you in prayer.

25:2 My God, I trust in you.

Please do not let me be humiliated;

do not let my enemies triumphantly rejoice over me!

25:3 Certainly none who rely on you will be humiliated.

Those who deal in treachery will be thwarted and humiliated.

25:4 Make me understand your ways, O Lord!

Teach me your paths!

25:5 Guide me into your truth and teach me.

For you are the God who delivers me;

on you I rely all day long.

25:6 Remember your compassionate and faithful deeds, O Lord,

for you have always acted in this manner.

25:7 Do not hold against me the sins of my youth or my rebellious acts!

Because you are faithful to me, extend to me your favor, O Lord!

25:8 The Lord is both kind and fair;

that is why he teaches sinners the right way to live.

25:9 May he show the humble what is right!

May he teach the humble his way!

25:10 The Lord always proves faithful and reliable

to those who follow the demands of his covenant.

25:11 For the sake of your reputation, O Lord,

forgive my sin, because it is great.

25:12 The Lord shows his faithful followers

the way they should live.

25:13 They experience his favor;

their descendants inherit the land.

25:14 The Lord‘s loyal followers receive his guidance,

and he reveals his covenantal demands to them.

25:15 I continually look to the Lord for help,

for he will free my feet from the enemy’s net.

25:16 Turn toward me and have mercy on me,

for I am alone and oppressed!

25:17 Deliver me from my distress;

rescue me from my suffering!

25:18 See my pain and suffering!

Forgive all my sins!

25:19 Watch my enemies, for they outnumber me;

they hate me and want to harm me.

25:20 Protect me and deliver me!

Please do not let me be humiliated,

for I have taken shelter in you!

25:21 May integrity and godliness protect me,

for I rely on you!

25:22 O God, rescue Israel

from all their distress!



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T

posted August 2, 2010 at 2:02 pm


I’ve enjoyed seeing this extended commentary on Psalm 25, and I think the summary of “soulish wandering” is fantastic. One of my own darkest periods led me to camp out in the Psalms, and in that period, Psalm 25 was my favorite. I let it pray for me so many times.



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Scot McKnight

posted August 2, 2010 at 2:11 pm


T,
Thanks for that. Psalm 25 is a good one and I’m glad you like “soul-ish wandering.”



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T

posted August 2, 2010 at 3:56 pm


The opening lines of this psalm–entrusting myself to God–always sounded a deep echo in me, as did the prayer for God to show me his way, and for forgiveness (and the confessions that accompany that request). And certainly guidance for “those that fear him” is more comforting than guidance for “loyal followers.” I, for one, have certainly feared him and simultaneously had little confidence in the faithfulness of my “following.” In that vein, one of my favorite ideas in the whole psalm is that the Lord shows “sinners” and “the humble” his way. Praise God for that! Of course, that favortism goes hand in hand with my appreciation for the idea of “soulish wandering.” If I hadn’t been acutely aware that I was wandering, I wouldn’t have been so excited to hear that God shows sinners “his way.”



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