PSALMS | Soundtrack for our Souls | Path of Mercy | Psalm 25
Topic: Old Testament Passage: Psalm 25
Christopher Rich – August 29, 2021
PSALMS | Soundtrack for our Souls |
Path of Mercy | Psalm 25
Introduction | What path are we on?
Good Morning! Welcome to Mercy Fellowship where we are Saved by Jesus Work, Changed by Jesus’ Grace, and Living on Jesus’s Mission. Today we continue our series Psalms: Soundtrack for our Souls.
This collection of divinely inspired songs was brought together into a rich anthology to help us have a realistic and artistic voice for understanding the complex relationship between God and His People. The collection is brought together for a purpose. For a people, both individual and corporately, to be able to navigate and make sense of the God, the world, their lives and hearts in a language that speaks deeply to the soul. Additionally, they teach doctrine and the give poetic voice to what is true about God and His people.
What Path are we on? What obstacles do we face? We all regularly face crossroads of conflicts, crisis, and challenging circumstances. The speed and number of changes and decision points seem to be increasing rapidly leaving us a bit disorientate which can easily lead us to disillusionment or despair. There are times to take pause on the path in order to reorient ourselves on what is true and hopefully gain the resolve to walk the path before us with clarity and confidence. Where do we look for guidance and grace on the path?
We need to start with an honest expression of what we are feeling and what we are going through. Honesty can be in short supply. When we have shame we disassociate from ourselves our actions or what has been done to us. When we have fear we retreat and mask what we think or feel not wanting to face the consequences of our raw thoughts to a world and culture that seems to be flowing a different direction. When we are angry we put walls up between us and others. So when it’s time to process the path we need a place and a person we can run to where we can be ourselves without pretense and where we can be uncensored.
We self-sensor all the TIME! On Social Media, in public, with our friends and maybe even with our spouse. Sometimes this ok more than necessary, a fool gives full vent to his spirit. But intimacy means being able to be real and raw. In order for us to not be emotionally stopped up we need an outlet and a counselor. You do not and should not self-sensor with the Lord. When you are disheartened or discourage God is ready and able to hear your clear or even intense doubt or… You can and should bring them to God without Holding back. You can be clear, raw, and bold with God. Knowing He can handle it AND being prepared to receive a response of both comfort and when necessary, correction. God can and should redirect us to what is true and lead us on a path to joy and flourishing. God will never leave you or forsake you so you can be assured God will listen, love and lead when you are seeking Him. We walk with Him and for Him on a Path of Mercy.
PART I |Path of Tension | v1-5
Psalm 25:1-5 | To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. 2 O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. 3 Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. 4 Make me to know your ways, O 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 long.
Path of Tension - We start a path with tension. On the one hand we want our souls lifted and trust resting in a place of security, here David says it is to be lifted in the Lord. On the other we know there is external opposition to flourishing, there is evil seeking destruction AND our inability to remain faithful or change on our own. Before recognizing our doubt or beginning unraveling in deconstruction, maybe we ask where is our trust is and if it’s primarily in ourselves reconsider how that is working out for us. The tension begins hope because in begins with trust in the Lord. Lifted soul leads to greater trust in God. To say, “To you I lift my soul” acknowledges a soul that has been brought low, maybe even humbled, but is in need of being lifted up. It is assessing internally and saying, “I don’t want the condition of my soul to remain the same.” The depths of despair and desert of dissatisfaction cannot continue. I need and want more. This might not be a one-time decision or recognition but rather an ongoing choice and change of direction. Stops, starts, retreats, and repentance and renewal are all part of the path. There ae big situations and small challenges along our path. These lead us to decision points and choices so our direction is not just a one-time decision but a daily and moment by moment leading of the Lord. I am not talking about a path that leads to salvation but walking out Path of Mercy we’ve already received. There is great confidence displayed “None who wait for you shall be put to shame.” AND there is great realism in the fact there are enemies present and humiliation possible.
Shame or Honor – Shame in this context is more than just internal feeling we don’t want to associate with, in David’s “Honor/Shame” culture it is the public and societal being brought low. You, your actions and attitudes are not part of the society we deem appropriate so you are “put to shame” this would impact your family and your finances (business). If only there we examples of this today ☺. How much of what we do is to avoid public and social shame. It started with the cool kids table in middle school now its did I share the right #hashtag do I have the right social political opinions being championed by the media and those in power? Do is signal the right virtues so others in society will not shame me but hold me in honor? There is a tension because none of us want to be publicly shamed but we also don’t want to simply give up on ourselves. Defeat or victory? We fear being overcome and having defeat overwhelm us. God I am worried about defeat and disgrace. I know enemies and evil are real so I fear… AND I know you’re victorious. No one who wait for you are put to shame. There is an end of Shame there is a victory assured not going to be defeated from the enemy either externally or internally. This is a normal tension to walk in. Who/what is the enemy? Where is justice? God brings it! Shame will come to the “wantonly treacherous” This is great hope in Justice! If you have a concern about injustice then know God is against what and who are evil. “God these enemies see their path to honor only through my shame and defeat. Lord protect me and bring justice by bringing them to shame.
We have to be clear about the tension we face that we don’t even always choose what we truly want, do we?
“Make me know your ways” is an admission that we know I cannot make it on my own. God don’t have the will or want to so you’re going to have to do it for me!! There is a reliant confidence in God’s ability to save faithfully and a realistic confidence in ourselves to remain faithful. The tension needs to be solved by us fighting harder to make it but rather surrendering to God’s leading because He is the God of my salvation.
Persistent Patience - Wait is to accept God’s timing over your own… This is SO hard. We want resolution now!! We want deliverance now!! We want it better now!! It’s not a lame reservation… of someday… it’s a patient resolve that it WILL be someday better with a lasting salvation. So we can be eagerly waiting now and hoping while remaining on the path of steady patience.
PART II |Path of Pardon | v6-12
Psalm 25:6-12 | I 6 Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. 7 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord! 8 Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. 9 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. 11 For your name's sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great.
From Self- Righteousness to Humility - We can assume the biggest challenges on the path we face are external. When our focus is on the external solely it leads to a self-righteousness either as the great hero or the great victim while ignoring the villain inside all of us. The path of tension can only be resolved with a necessary pardon from the Lord for our sin and a disposition of humility because of our sin. The contrast made in these verses is between God’s character and our own. To be on a path of mercy assumes you need mercy in the first place.
Who are we? Sinners from our youth, currently transgressors, and ones of great guilt. This is a holistic and again realistic view of who we are. Yes we have been sinned against, but we cannot forget our sin and need for forgiveness. So we are people who need a pardon, need forgiveness. The result of repentance is implied, a turning from sin, “That is who I was” and an intention to walk in a new direction even if that isn’t perfect. The admission of our inability needs to be followed with our desire and need for pardon. The is an appeal as much as there is for deliverance and victory from enemies, there is an appeal for Mercy. Remember me (is an action not just an idea) not because of who we are but because of who God is.
Who is God? Good and upright. God’s reputation proceeds Him and it’s the nature of the appeal for the pardon. God you know my reputation…. If you’re going pardon me it’s got to be based on your goodness and good name because it cannot be my own. This is not because we deserve God’s favor and leadership but because we desperately need it. He is one who answers our transgression with Mercy, one who meets our Guilt with Pardon, One who forgives and forgets our sins. God is good SO “therefore” He instructs sinners. This is so important on the Path of Mercy He doesn’t just leave us and forsake us to figure it out ourselves, but He instructs us on what our path should look like in a way that is Right, steadfast, faithfulness. God are you sure you want to pardon me? What if that becomes a mark against you. God’s so good, perfect, and holy. He can pardon you and me and it doesn’t defile or defame Him it’ cleans and redeems us!!
Covenant Keeper – Pardon leads to Promises of ultimate salvation.
Humility Required - We need new leadership and we need new desires too. We redirect our perspective and what/who we are focused on. Pride keeps us from learning and growing. Humility is necessary to go on a path of growth. To be pardoned is to receive something you haven’t earned. And it’s to acknowledge it’s something you actually need. To have received mercy should lead to gratitude and even sacrifice.
Romans 12:1-2 | I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Grace is what drives the pardon not our personal growth. I’ve earned the condemnation and the sentence, I don’t earn the pardon, it’s granted with Mercy and Grace for the purpose of life and growth. Being guided on the path is a disposition of humility as someone who has received great mercy. God forgets your sins He doesn’t forget you. God remembers you, not your sin.
PART III |Path of Presence | v13-15
Psalm 25:13-15 | 12 Who is the man who fears the Lord? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose. 13 His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land. 14 The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.15 My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
As we then go on the path we are not alone. We are not just pardoned sinners left to leave the confines of a prison sell only to wander aimlessly in a wilderness. As we are freed and declared not guilty, we are also welcomed and walked with an identity of innocent, with loved with intimacy and lead with intentionality.
Life Abundant/ Legacy Assured (v13) – That soul that was lifted up to the Lord dwelling with the Lord. Abide is a resting and dwelling in a place of security. The Hebrew word for “well-being” is “at ease” or “prosperity”, that is were the soul dwells. We have great hope because of the promise of a lasting legacy.
Friendship/Faithfulness (v14) – We walk along the path with God as our faithful friend. Not peer or buddy but faithful counselor and confidant. It is a fellowship of shared purpose. It’s not just wanting the direction on the path but the presence and companionship on the path to not only know the way but also to know when you’re on the way you are not alone. This path of Mercy has the benefit of God being faithful to His promises.
Perspective/Protection (v15) – We can have our perspective adjusted when our protection is assured. Like a tight rope walker with moving with confidence looking to the destination, we don’t have to be constantly distracted with great fear. We stay focused on the Lord because of His promises to us. We don’t have to walk in fear because we know that God will save us if and when we stumble or are ensnared.
PART IV | Path of Endurance | v16-22
Psalm 25:15-22 | 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 Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins. 19 Consider how many are my foes, and with what violent hatred they hate me. 20 Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. 21 May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you. 22 Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.
We are not home… yet. While we are not left alone in the wilderness, we are still in wilderness, we are not home. The Path will not be easy, but it is able to be endured, so we are back to realistic expectations and experiences of doubt and distress. We can at times doubt God will continue with us or worry He’ll leave. Here it a call… Say with me Lord I don’t want to go on the path if I am not with you. Wilderness is where are, but home is where we are going. We are lonely, Afflicted, Hearts shrinking, Distress growing, still dealing with external afflictions, external opponents and internal conflicts and even ongoing sin. These hinderances are great, but our God who leads us and sustains us is greater. He will remove and/or give us the strength endure what is on the path. We will persevere because God is our refuge we will patiently endure with God as our strength. Not just individually, but all his people collectively. We are not alone we are loved and led.
Romans 5:6-8 | 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Because Jesus enduring the path of wrath for our sin on the cross we can walk the Path Mercy.
Because Jesus resolved the tension of “take this cup from me” with “not my will but your will” faithfully we can be led in faithfulness and have assurance of mercy when we are not.
Because Jesus paid for our sin on the cross, we can be pardoned in our sin.
Because Jesus humbled him and endured great shame being reviled, we can live in the reality of honor.
Because Jesus was forsaken for us we know we will never be forsaking and be welcomed as friend.
Because Jesus said “It is finished!” on the cross we can have assurance we will finish the path God has for us.
Because Jesus rose again we can walk in new life now and have the hope of a lasting legacy for eternity.
The Path of Mercy beings today for some of you as you your soul is lifted by the God who comes down to us. For others it continues, renewed and refreshed, with the God who walks with us. It’s not done yet we’re at a place not of completion but of assurance. So we are safe to share and cry out to God.
We can rest and walk with resolve knowing God promises that He who began a good work in us is faithful and just to complete it in the day of our Lord. Let’s walk out the path of mercy as we continue to Trust Jesus.
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