NLT Study Bible Blog.
Psalm 25 (Mosaic, Advent 1)
David's prayer in Psalm 25 plays a counterpoint melody to the harmony of Isaiah's vision in Isaiah 2:1-5. Whereas Isaiah saw a great vision for the future reign of God, David prays from the midst of human struggles, conflicts, enmities, temptations, and sins.

Unlike Isaiah's vision in Isa 2:1-5, David's prayer in Ps 25 bears a strong resemblance to life as we live it on earth. He mentions to the Lord his enemies, and the possibility of being disgraced, defeated, and ridiculed. He is well aware of "the rebellious sins of my youth" (25:7) and "the traps of my enemies" (25:15). He even exclaims, "My problems go from bad to worse" (25:17), as he describes his pain and the vicious hatred of his enemies.

David's prayer is, at the same time, surrounded by the harmony, not of a perfect world, but of hope and trust in the Lord to save. In Ps 25:1-3, "the psalmist expresses confidence that the godly will be vindicated and his enemies will not succeed" (NLTSB, note on 25:1-3). In 25:4-7, "the psalmist turns to the Lord for instruction in wisdom. He confesses his past failures and acknowledges that his hope lies with his merciful Savior" (NLTSB, note on 25:4-7). And in 25:15-22, "the psalmist expresses confidence in the Lord, commits to a life of integrity, and prays for rescue" (NLTSB, note on 25:15-22). These paragraphs of David's prayer are filled with hope and trust in the Lord, yet they are not polyanna wishes -- they are rooted in a life that has been filled with grief and hardship, rooted deep in the soil of human life on earth. The circumstances of David's prayer make it earthy and real. But it breathes the air and soaks in the sunshine of hope in the Lord. "Biblical hope does not mean wishing for an event to turn out favorably. Hope trusts the Lord's will and gives the courage to face disappointments" (NLTSB, note on 25:5).

David's prayer plays the melody of our own lives, but he plays that familiar tune to the harmony of hope for God's justice, mercy, and peace. Here is where David's prayer departs from our own experience of life, because we often do not go to the Lord with the same faith and hope that he has. David's prayer is thus a model for us, an exemplar of responding to hardship in the light of God's presence, God's sovereign rule, and God's love.

One thing about David's prayer, which we don't see in any English translation, supports this understanding of it: "This psalm is a Hebrew acrostic poem; each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet" (NLTSB, note on Ps 25). This means that Ps 25 was written to be memorized, meditated on, and to serve as instruction in the hearts of God's people. We would do well to take it to heart.

From the middle of life, let us long for the Lord and pray with David, "O God, ransom Israel from all its troubles" (Ps 25:22).

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posted by Sean Harrison at 7:00 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Biblical hope does not mean wishing for an event to turn out favorably. Hope trusts the Lord's will and gives the courage to face disappointments"
The first part of this para is very true of most of us. When events in our life turn bad, we do wish for it to turn in our favor, and what our mind and experience can understand. It is hard to turn it into total trust of the Lord's will and way. If we do the latter, we feel like the bystander, seeing something happen but not fully grasping the how and why of the happening. The pain of seeing a result which is not what we expect it to be causes some to turn away from the Lord, because we cannot accept the Lord's way. It is then a case be My will be done.

December 5, 2009 3:45 PM  

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