I’ve been asked to preach again at my local church while the Pastor is on vacation this Sunday and Sunday night. What really has been ministering to my heart is a commentary in which I’ve been reading comments on the Psalms, and I’d like to take you along with the congregation as I share what the Lord has taught me in this Psalm.
In Psalm 25 we see David asking for guidance. In the modern day more and more people are seeking God’s will. In a way, this is a puzzling phenomenon– not because we should not want God’s will, but because we seem to have more and more people that don’t seem to know what it is.
How many times is this story true of us or someone we know:
Walter Knight told of an old Scottish woman who went from home to home across the countryside selling thread, buttons, and shoestrings. When she came to an unmarked crossroad, she would toss a stick into the air and go in the direction the stick pointed when it landed.
One day, however, she was seen tossing the stick up several times. “Why do you toss the stick more than once?” someone asked. “Because,” replied the woman, “it keeps pointing to the left, and I want to take the road on the right.” She then dutifully kept throwing the stick into the air until it pointed the way she wanted to go!” (Today in the Word, May, 1989.)
We want a clear sign, and usually we want it in our way. David too was looking for God’s will, and I think we can learn a lot from Psalm 25 about how to go about looking for God’s Will.
David had three pleas with God concerning his petition. In Psalm 25:2, David wants protection from his enemies. In Psalm 25:4, he’s looking for direction, and in Psalm 25:6 he is looking for the Lord’s pardon.
It’s interesting that his plea starts with bringing the immediate need to God’s feet. In his plea he appeals to Jehovah and to Elohim— to the God of covenant and the God of creation. I find two things that are fascinating in this appeal. The first is how he begins. He lifts the name of God high and puts him in the correct place. God is the God that keeps His Word, and can keep it because He made all things.
The second thing I find interesting is the comfort it must give David to realize that all things are in God’s control. I think that it is all too often that we go to God with a request because we think that the thing is out of control– or cannot possibly work out.
I can remember how it was when I was dating, and there were many times when I wondered if God would ever bless me with a wife. In His time, He did. It’s easy to say that– but not so easy and you beg and plead with the Lord for Him to just show you who it is. You get impatient. You wonder why God doesn’t just send a note from the sky to show you who the right girl is. You beg and pray for the girl you are dating to be the one so that you don’t have to date any others. There are many things that happen when we do not have our focus right– that God is Sovereign and in control.
David wanted to be piloted. He wanted God to lead him in the right way. He desired something that we say we desire, but too often mean just the opposite. We want God to go our way; we want Him to conform to our will. David was a man that realized what happens when we choose our way rather than God’s way. He chose to stay home from battle, to have an affair with Bathsheba and to kill her husband. He was reaping the folly of his will, and so he begs for God’s will.
David was willing to be led wherever that took him. God is not in the habit of handing out travelers brochures. He does not promise an easy life, but He does promise to be with you through it. He does not promise glory in this present life, but promises life eternal with Him in Heaven. He does not hide that it takes work. He told us that it was a narrow way. He told us to take up our cross daily. He told us that he who gives up his life shall find it.
You see, too often I think that we have the attitude that we will look and see what ministry has to offer us and choose based on what I can get out of it instead of doing it because it is what God wants us to do. Again, we say we want God’s will, but we merrily go about our business choosing what we think is best for us. David, speaking in Psalm 25 was not like this– and he gave us the key to God’s will– being in the Word. It’s as if God is saying “You see this book? Get into it and I’ll lead you.”
David was not impatient, though, and realized that many times the journey is more important than the destination. He says that he’ll wait all the day for Him. God is never in a hurry. Often He will make us wait and wait before finally making the path clear. God does things on His schedule. Quoting from John Phillips:
That is where most of us break down; we are impatient so we act without God’s guidance and then complain when things go wrong.
Often when facing an important decision we will find that everything is cloudy at first. Guidance will come only as we wait. It is Satan who says: “Hurry! Act now! It’s now or never! If you miss this you’ll miss God’s will.” Satan guides by impulse; God guides us as we wait.
God wants us to grow in dependence on Him. He wants our body, mind and soul, and is carefully directing us toward the way in which we should go.
David wanted God’s pardon. This is the first recorded instance of confession in the Psalms. He realized that God does not hear the prayer of the unrepentant heart, and one cannot seek direction of Him without repentance. David pleads God’s mercy and His loving-kindness.