A Psalm of David. Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul.
The true significance of the present is not revealed in the present. Only the lapse of years makes us dispassionate judges of our earlier selves. The text is the utterance of a man who is letting a sorrowful and faultful past come home to his matured judgment to be tried by its higher standards and its clearer discrimination.
I. "Remember not the sins of my youth." The truth assumed in these words is one which concerns the character of God, the truth, namely, that God cannot be passive in any moral relation. For God to remember sin is to assume an active and hostile relation to sin.
II. In answer to such an appeal as this, we are not to expect either that God will shut sin out of His remembrance, or change His attitude towards sin. But His remembrance of the sinner involves all the infinite activity of His love towards the sinner. It is on this relation of God to the sinner that David throws himself.
III. How then, in answer to this prayer, will man stand related to the follies and sins of his past life? (1) He will not be entirely rid of their consequences, especially of their physical consequences. (2) Nor will God cease to use the faultful past in the new man's education. (3) In the heart will come a tranquil rest, founded simply upon the conviction that God has taken the whole sadly confused and stained life into His own hands. (4) With this conviction there will come a turning with fresh zest to redeem the time which remains.
M. R. Vincent, Gates into the Psalm Country, p. 75.
Reference: Psalm 25:8.—J. Irons, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. xvi., p. 81.
Psalm 25:9I. Humility dates from Jesus Christ. At the feet of Jesus Christ, at the feet of Him whom St. John calls the Light, worldly virtues grow dim and are effaced, as the brilliancy of the most cleverly imitated jewels grows dim near the lustre of a pure diamond. But there is something more efficacious than the sight of the perfection of Jesus Christ to produce humility; it is the sight of His love. It is at the foot of the Cross humility is born; that Divine flower, hitherto unknown by the world, came out of the earth moistened by the blood of Christ. That is its natural soil. Elsewhere it can only perish and dry up.
II. Christian humility should penetrate our entire being. Since all parts of our being have participated in the revolt of sin, all must bow before God. (1) Our intelligence must be humble. A great Christian has said, "I love a shadow at the side of God much better than a light at the side of men." It is good for the soul to sit down in that shadow, to breathe the air of the mysteries which humble us and sanctify us. (2) Humbleness of the intelligence is blended with humbleness of the heart, and the humility of the heart should pass into the life.
III. Consider the promise which God makes to Christian humility in the text: "The meek will He teach His way." These words bind earth to heaven. There is here below therefore a way which leads to God, a way where we can walk with God; in the midst of all these roads which cross each other, and which nearly all lead to vanity, there is a way which ends in no abyss, and which crosses victoriously the valley of the shadow of death. Would you know the way that leads to God? Be humble. Pride wants to see God face to face, and His splendour blinds it. Humility bends itself before Him, and sees its path all flooded by His light. The Lord teaches His way to the humble.
E. Bersier, Sermons, vol. i., p. 237.
References: Psalm 25:9.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. ix., p. 257. Psalm 25:11.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. iii., p. 145. Psalm 25:13.—J. Keble, Sermons for the Christian Year: Ascension Day to Trinity, p. 343.
Psalm 25:14I. The secret of the Lord must be a secret of knowledge.
II. The secret of the Lord must be a secret of safety.
III. The secret of the Lord is a secret of strength.
IV. God's secret is a secret of peace.
The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him. The fear of God, like everything else, must come instrumentally by practice.
C. J. Vaughan, Memorials of Harrow Sundays, p. 263.
References: Psalm 25:14.—W. A. Essery, Christian World Pulpit, vol. i., p. 182; W. Logan, Ibid., vol. xxi., p. 291. Psalm 25:18.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xiii., No. 741; Ibid., Evening by Evening, p. 102. Psalm 25—I. Williams, The Psalms Interpreted of Christ, p. 438.
O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.
Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.
Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.
Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD.
Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.
The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.
All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
For thy name's sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.
What man is he that feareth the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.
His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.
The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.
Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.
Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses.
Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.
Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred.
O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee.
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.
Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.