TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13
An appeal to the covenant and pledge to keep God’s ways even in the face of personal adversity
|1 In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.||More literally, I lift up my soul. Or set my heart on you.|
|2 I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.||David was not perfect, but as we know his essential character was to be God-revering and dependent, walking closely with God and seeking His leading in everything.|
|3 No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.||David affirms that his actions have not been the cause of the hostility he faces.|
|4 Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.||“Show me your ways” and “teach me your paths” and v8, “instruct in [Your] ways” are phrases we can pray when we seek guidance. They remind us that God’s guidance is like Him — moral and righteous. We pray: God, show us the way! And He shows us to pray to learn and discover His way. So His guidance doesn’t always give us the answer. It may be to align us with His way, and to grow us as we work it out.|
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, 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.
|See note to verse 3 above. Whether he has given cause or not, he gives the Lord permission to show him his fault, if he has taken an independent path or has not fully repented of former rebelliousness. His motto, which is worth following, is “repent anyway!”|
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.
|David, who is a king (and a great king at that), here identifies with sinners who need instructing and the humble who look for guidance.|
|10 All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.||Being humble before the Lord (v.9) – acknowledging our dependence and lack of our own resources – is a first step in keeping the covenant.|
The attacks of slander experienced by David comes today when we put the kingdom of God over church-centred religion, or love for those outside a relationship with God above fellowship priorities. Strange though it may seem, our attacks often come from those near to us and professing the same beliefs. Reading the psalms, this seems to have been David’s experience.
David starts off by saying that he has given his enemies no cause for their malicious actions. We all start by justifying ourselves. But this is not what David is doing, as the verses that follow make plain. He appeals to the Lord on the basis of His mercy — not David’s sense of entitlement. That’s an important difference. If the Lord has a word of correction for him (vv.8-9) David is ready to hear.
In these verses, there are a good half-dozen requests for guidance, direct or indirect. David knows that God’s guidance will be guidance of attitude as much as action. In a way he has handed over the problem, declaring his trust that he won’t be put to shame, and that his enemies won’t exult over him (vv.1-3).
Then he positions himself as one who needs help, who needs guidance –– and this is likely to be guidance on how to stay in the Lord’s will, keeping a clean heart (forgive) and clean hands (no retribution) – help and guidance on how to keep reflecting the Lord’s love and mercy. We all need that. Psalm 24:3-5
For reflection and discussion
When we face a situation of hostility and perhaps people saying things that are not true about us, we all want to hit back, at first. How difficult is it for you to let go of your desire for a ‘solution’ and ask Him to show you His way according to His love and goodness?