Psalm 25:4
Show me your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Psalm 25:4. Show me thy ways, O Lord — That is, the way or thy precepts, what I ought to do in my circumstances and difficulties; by what methods I may obtain thy favour and help. Whatsoever thou doest with me, as to other things, grant me this favour, teach me my duty, and cause me to keep close to it, notwithstanding all temptations to the contrary. Reader, art thou a traveller to heaven? Remember, then, thou art in danger of being drawn aside and losing thy way. The way is marked out in the word of God, and to walk according to that is to walk in the way. God only can put thee in the way, and preserve and forward thee therein, for which purpose continue instant in prayer, after the example of David, to the God of thy salvation, that he would teach thee to know and do his will.25:1-7 In worshipping God, we must lift up our souls to him. It is certain that none who, by a believing attendance, wait on God, and, by a believing hope, wait for him, shall be ashamed of it. The most advanced believer both needs and desires to be taught of God. If we sincerely desire to know our duty, with resolution to do it, we may be sure that God will direct us in it. The psalmist is earnest for the pardon of his sins. When God pardons sin, he is said to remember it no more, which denotes full remission. It is God's goodness, and not ours, his mercy, and not our merit, that must be our plea for the pardon of sin, and all the good we need. This plea we must rely upon, feeling our own unworthiness, and satisfied of the riches of God's mercy and grace. How boundless is that mercy which covers for ever the sins and follies of a youth spent without God and without hope! Blessed be the Lord, the blood of the great Sacrifice can wash away every stain.Show me thy ways, O Lord - The "ways" of God are His methods of administering the affairs of the world; His dispensations; the rules which He has prescribed for Himself in the execution of His plans; the great laws by which He governs the universe. Deuteronomy 32:4, "all his ways are judgment; a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he." The prayer of the psalmist is, that he may be able to understand the methods of the divine government; the principles upon which God bestows happiness and salvation; the rules which He has been pleased to prescribe for human conduct; the arrangements by which He confers favors upon mankind; the scheme by which He saves people. The idea evidently is that he might understand so much of this as to regulate his own conduct aright; that he might not lean upon his own understanding, or trust to His own guidance, but that He might always be under the guidance and direction of God.

Teach me thy paths - The paths which thou dost take; to wit, as before, in administering the affairs of the world. The prayer is expressive of a desire to be wholly under the direction of God.

4, 5. On the ground of former favor, he invokes divine guidance, according to God's gracious ways of dealing and faithfulness. Thy ways, i.e. the way of thy precepts, which I ought to do in my circumstances and difficulties; by what methods I may obtain thy favour and help. Whatsoever thou dost with me as to other things, grant me this favour, teach me my duty, and cause me to keep close to it, notwithstanding all temptations to the contrary. Show me thy ways, O Lord,.... Either those which the Lord himself took and walked in; as those of creation and providence, in which he has displayed his power, wisdom, and goodness; and which are desirable to be known by his people, and require divine instruction and direction; and particularly his ways of grace, mercy, and truth, and the methods he has taken for the salvation of his people, both in eternity and in time; or those ways which he orders and directs his people to walk in; namely, the paths of duty, the ways of his worship and ordinances; a greater knowledge of which good men desire to have, as well as more grace to enable them to walk more closely and constantly in them;

teach me thy paths; a petition the same with the other, in different words.

{c} Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.

(c) Retain me in the faith of your promise that I swore not on any side.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. Shew me thy ways] Lit. make me to know thy ways: the prayer of Moses in a moment of perplexity (Exodus 33:13). Cp. Psalm 27:11. God’s ‘ways’ and ‘paths are the purposes and methods of His Providence; or more specifically, the course of life and conduct which He prescribes for men. Cp. Psalm 27:11; Psalm 143:8.Verse 4. - Show me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. An echo of the prayer of Moses when his people were rebellious at Sinai (Exodus 33:13), reiterated by David in Psalm 27:11, and perhaps again in Psalm 86:11 (see also Psalm 119:33). Man is so wanting in spiritual understanding, so morally blind and ignorant, that, unless enlightened from on high, he cannot discern aright the "way of godliness;" he does not know at any given moment what God would have him to do. Hence it is the constant prayer of every religious man that God will "lighten his darkness;" "make his way plain before his face;" "show him the path that he should walk in;" enable him to see, if no more, at any rate the next step which it is his duty to take. The idea has been beautifully expressed by a modern poet -

"Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom
Lead thou me on.
The night is dark, and I am far from homo;
Lead thou me on.
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me."
The festal procession has now arrived above at the gates of the citadel of Zion. These are called פּתחי עולם, doors of eternity (not "of the world" as Luther renders it contrary to the Old Testament usage of the language) either as doors which pious faith hopes will last for ever, as Hupfeld and Hitzig explain it, understanding them, in opposition to the inscription of the Psalm, to be the gates of Solomon's Temple; or, what seems to us much more appropriate in the mouth of those who are now standing before the gates, as the portals dating back into the hoary ages of the past (עולם as e.g., in Genesis 49:26; Isaiah 58:12), the time of the Jebusites, and even of Melchizedek, though which the King of Glory, whose whole being and acts is glory, is now about to enter. It is the gates of the citadel of Zion, to which the cry is addressed, to expand themselves in a manner worthy of the Lord who is about to enter, for whom they are too low and too strait. Rejoicing at the great honour, thus conferred upon them, they are to raise their heads (Job 10:15; Zechariah 2:4), i.e., lift up their portals (lintels); the doors of antiquity are to open high and wide.

(Note: On the Munach instead of Metheg in והנּשׂיאוּ, vid., Baer's Accentsystem vii. 2.)

Then the question echoes back to the festal procession from Zion's gates which are wont only to admit mighty lords: who, then (זה giving vividness to the question, Ges. 122, 2), is this King of Glory; and they describe Him more minutely: it is the Hero-god, by whom Israel has wrested this Zion from the Jebusites with the sword, and by whom he has always been victorious in time past. The adjectival climactic form עזּוּז (like למּוּד, with ı̆ instead of the ă in חנּוּן, קשּׁוּב) is only found in one other passage, viz., Isaiah 43:17. גּבּור מלחמה refers back to Exodus 15:3. Thus then shall the gates raise their heads and the ancient doors lift themselves, i.e., open high and wide; and this is expressed here by Kal instead of Niph. (נשׂא to lift one's self up, rise, as in Nahum 1:5; Hosea 13:1; Habakkuk 1:3), according to the well-known order in which recurring verses and refrain-like repetitions move gently onwards. The gates of Zion ask once more, yet now no longer hesitatingly, but in order to hear more in praise of the great King. It is now the enquiry seeking fuller information; and the heaping up of the pronouns (as in Jeremiah 30:21, cf. Psalm 46:7; Esther 7:5) expresses its urgency (quis tandem, ecquisnam). The answer runs, "Jahve Tsebaoth, He is the King of Glory (now making His entry)." צבאות ה is the proper name of Jahve as King, which had become His customary name in the time of the kings of Israel. צבאות is a genitive governed by ה and, while it is otherwise found only in reference to human hosts, in this combination it gains, of itself, the reference to the angels and the stars, which are called צבאיו in Psalm 103:21; Psalm 148:2 : Jahve's hosts consisting of celestial heroes, Joel 2:11, and of stars standing on the plain of the havens as it were in battle array, Isaiah 40:26 -a reference for which experiences and utterances like those recorded in Genesis 32:2., Deuteronomy 33:2; Judges 5:20, have prepared the way. It is, therefore, the Ruler commanding innumerable and invincible super-terrestrial powers, who desires admission. The gates are silent and open wide; and Jahve, sitting enthroned above the Cherubim of the sacred Ark, enters into Zion.

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