The opening lines of Psalm 25 sound to me like repentance. A changing of mind. Sometimes when I think of the word repentance I feel like it has a negative connotation. When I have thought of repentance in the past I always think about what I am doing wrong. How poorly I feel about the wrong I am doing. How I don’t feel like I should be allowed to receive God’s forgiveness. I mean it isn’t the first time I have committed a sin. I keep doing them. Not intentionally, but it happens, and I feel guilty and shameful.

This Psalmist is in a similar place. Verses 1-2 essentially say “O LORD I give my life to you. I trust in you.” He is acknowledging he can’t do this on his own.

In verses 4-5, he is praying, “Show me the right path O LORD. Point out the road for me to follow.  Lead me by your truth and teach me for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.

In 6-7 he turns again to repentance, asking, “Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth Remember me in the light of your unfailing love. For you are merciful, O LORD.”

I like this because it sounds like this Psalmist understands he isn’t perfect. He has sinned, but he knows God’s unfailing love. And mercy. He repents of his sin and he longs to follow God’s path.

Good and upright is the Lord;
Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.
 He leads the humble in justice,
And He teaches the humble His way.
All the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness and truth
To those who keep His covenant and His testimonies. (v.8-10)

The Psalmist is repenting of his sin by choosing a new path. He isn’t staying in the quagmire and saying poor me, feeling bad for himself. He is putting his trust in the Lord and choosing a new path. He is believing God faithfulness.

The next part of the Psalm gives us a vision of the prosperity we find when we choose God’s ways.

Who is the man who fears the LordHe will instruct him in the way he should choose.
His soul will abide in prosperity, And his descendants will inherit the land.

The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him, And He will make them know His covenant.
My eyes are continually toward the LordFor He will pluck my feet out of the net. (v. 12-15)

However, at the same time in verse 17 he says his problems go from bad to worse.

The troubles of my heart are enlarged; Bring me out of my distresses.

“Oh save me from them all.”  I can feel his anguish. I feel his pain, I feel his struggle, and I feel his hope.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes life feels like that for me. I start my day with joy, wonder, and excitement. As the day progresses hard things come along my path. I might make a poor choice, or someone may treat me badly. I feel the war going on inside, trying to forgive that person as well as feeling the pain of how I have been wronged. Part of me wants to keep that anger because I feel vindicated in it. However, as I continue through my day I realize that I do want to go God’s way. I want to choose Jesus. I want that hope. 

Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
For I wait for You. (v. 21)

I pray that today we all will choose to put our hope in Jesus, and choose to go a different way instead of carrying the hopelessness of choosing a dead end path.  Jesus longs for us to pick Him. He wants to be a part of our lives through good and bad times.

 

{If you have thoughts about this Psalm or any of the others we’re covering this summer, hop on over to our Facebook group,  where we’re hoping to experience conversation and community around the Psalms this summer!}

 

Sonya Howsden was born and raised in Lincoln, NE. She graduated from UNL with a degree in accounting. Sonya was involved with Campus Impact as a student, and has now served as a small group coach for 8 years. In addition to hanging out with college students or her adorable nieces, Sonya is a Business Manager for the UNL Psychology Department. This summer, Sonya is enjoying bike rides and grilling out with friends and family. You can reach Sonya at sonyasjh@gmail.com.