The Hope of Psalm 25
I’m struggling this week.
After a few weeks of studying the End Times in Beth Moore’s Children of the Day Bible Study AND being married to a sometimes very fear-filled cop who is struggling with all the personal, psychological, political and social ramifications of being in his line of work AND having a friend recently, suddenly and unexpectedly go to Heaven AND praying nightly for my daughter’s classmate who has been in a coma for the past three weeks AND having a modicum of knowledge regarding the bashing of police officers that is going on across our nation’s media (although I don’t personally read or watch the news) AND hearing of yet another officer who was killed in the line of duty the night before she was going to bring her finally-stable premature daughter home from the hospital AND having some disturbingly bad dreams last night AND heading into 4-5 solid weeks of constant travel, visiting with extended family and end-of-school-year chaos… I am feeling… well… burdened, I guess you could say.
Desperately in need of God and His Hope and His Truth and whatever grace and patience and wholeness He can offer me.
I am always in such critical need of Him.
So yesterday morning I escaped from my home and family and hit the hills for a good long hike. But before I headed up the hill, I grabbed my Bible and had some quiet time with Jesus. Right there in my vehicle in the parking lot near the trail, I used the simple “SOAP method” of Bible study.
In hopes that what I read might possibly encourage one of you as well, I’ll share with you what I got out of my time yesterday.
Basically, the “SOAP method” is this: SOAP is an acronym for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. The idea is that first you read a portion of scripture (I chose the Psalm that matched the calendar day I was on— so since it was May 25th I non-scientifically chose Psalm 25). After reading the passage, you then simply talk about or note or write down what you observed in what you read. Then you consider how that might apply to your real life. And then you pray.
Pretty simple, right?
Well, what I discovered yesterday was super encouraging to me. Perhaps, if you feel weighed down by the cares of this world, you might be encouraged as well?
So, first Scripture::
1 In you, Lord my God,
I put my trust.
2 I trust in you;
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one who hopes in you
will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
who are treacherous without cause.
4 Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
6 Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you, Lord, are good.
8 Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
9 He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful
toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
11 For the sake of your name, Lord,
forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
12 Who, then, are those who fear the Lord?
He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.
13 They will spend their days in prosperity,
and their descendants will inherit the land.
14 The Lord confides in those who fear him;
he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever on the Lord,
for only he will release my feet from the snare.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart
and free me from my anguish.
18 Look on my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins.
19 See how numerous are my enemies
and how fiercely they hate me!
20 Guard my life and rescue me;
do not let me be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my hope, Lord, is in you.
22 Deliver Israel, O God,
from all their troubles!
Next, I Observe::
Psalm 25, at its base, is a prayer— a prayer from David for David’s own self and, in the last verse, for all of Israel.
In looking at this passage I see that David trusts and hopes in the Lord. He asks for guidance, grace, protection and rescuing. He asks God to remember him and what he is going through in his life— and He asks God to look on him with love and mercy and forgiveness. In his prayer, David states several truths about who God is and about the ways in which God works; he recounts the ways God helps out his kids by teaching them how to live and he recalls that all of God’s ways are loving and faithful. David says he takes refuge in God, and keeps his eyes ever on the Lord. In the final verse of the prayer, David looks beyond himself and asks God to deliver his country from all its troubles.
If the things David is saying are true, I can also learn several things about God from this passage. If David speaks truth, then God is good and upright. God teaches, guides, and instructs His kids. God also confides in us— revealing amazing mysteries about Himself and about the way the world works. He is also amazingly capable: He releases us from snares, relieves troubles, takes away sins, guards, rescues, and delivers. On top of it all, He is gracious— willing to turn to us when we are lonely or afflicted or confused or in need of guidance.
What an encouraging prayer this is for me! Especially with all the junk I feel overwhelmed by. I love all of the talk about God’s ways and His paths and His truth – and the fact that David is asking to be shown and taught and guided in that.
That’s what I want too. Just some guidance. Some perspective. Some comfort. Some truth.
The next step is Application::
What does any of this have to do with me and my life? Well, I, too, can pray this way: I can put my trust in the Lord, ask Him to show me, teach me, guide me, and instruct me. I, too, can declare truth about who God is. I, too, can keep “my eyes ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare” (25:15). I, too, can ask God to guard my life and rescue me.
And, lastly, I Pray::
Lord, I DO put my hope in You and I trust in You. Please show me more of what that means and how I can do that better. Please guide me and instruct me in Your ways. I so often feel like a lost child— I truly do want Your guidance and Your instruction in my life. Thank You, Lord, that You see me and know me and that I matter to You. Thank You that the fact that I feel overwhelmed at the anticipation of all the stress the next month holds isn’t daunting to You. You, Lord, will give me all the wisdom, grace, strength, energy and discernment I will need for it all— and, knowing You, I will be stronger and closer to both You and my family at the end of it all. I love how You work all things together for good (Romans 8:28). Thank You for that.
Thank You, also, for always being loving and faithful, intelligent and trustworthy. Thank You, Lord, that You “confide in those who fear [You]” (Psalm 25:14). Thank You that You care about us who are lonely and hurting. Thank You that You see me and, even more importantly, You care and are capable of guarding me, rescuing me and being a refuge for me.
Thank You for Psalm 25 and all the truth and encouragement it holds.
And Lord, please deliver me and the rest of this globe, O God, “from all our troubles!” (as it says in verse 22).
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What about you?
What scripture passages or books or stories encourage you when you’re feeling burdened by the cares of the world? Do you know of any other simple ways to approach scripture?
Please feel free to share your thoughts or journey in the comment section below.