Psalm 25 always strikes me. It is one of those Psalms that touches a nerve with almost every verse. It is Psalm which is so easy to pray because it is a rich prayer to God. It is the cry of a dependent heart.
The first nerve that this Psalm touches for me is the deep awareness David has of his own sin and his utter need for forgiveness.
Remember, O LORD, Your compassion and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
According to Your lovingkindness remember me,
For Your goodness’ sake, O LORD. (Psa 25:6-7)
David feels the urgency to “remind God” to “remember” His own compassion and covenant love. God’s compassion and loyal love form the foundation for David to ask God not to remember the sins of his youth or his transgressions. Remember me, O God! Remember your compassion and loyal love! Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions. David, like us, knows what it is to look back with shame on our sins – the foolish sins of our youth or our current transgressions. David knows the weight of guilt (Pss. 32 and 51). He knows the only way to live this life is to be completely dependent on God for the forgiveness of those sins through His mercy and compassion.
Do we feel that same weight? That same dependence? Do we cry out with that same urgency? Or have we become easy companions with our past and present sins?
David doesn’t stop there. He reiterates his dependence on God for forgiveness two more times.
For Your name’s sake, O LORD,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great. (Psa 25:11)
Look upon my affliction and my trouble,
And forgive all my sins. (Psa 25:18)
His petition in verse 11 is based on God’s name sake, that is, His glory. David knows that if God is going to forgive, it won’t be for any merit in him, but it will be for God’s own glory. He knows his sin is great. He knows the glory of grace is greater. But he has asked twice now. Is this because he doesn’t believe it? Not at all. When we are guilty of great sin, the heart is not settled by simply asking once for forgiveness. We ask again and again. We wake up in the night and ask again. We wake up in the morning with “pardon my iniquity, for it is great.”
David, then in childlike dependence, asks God to look upon his affliction and trouble and forgive all his sins (v. 18). His affliction and trouble come from his enemies (v. 19). But they also come from his sin. His own sin afflicts him. “O God,” for a third time he cries, “Forgive me, look at my afflicted soul and bring me forgiveness and peace.”
The cry of the dependent heart is first and foremost the cry to our Father for the forgiveness of our sins. But the cry does not stop there.
David is also dependent on God for God to teach him. David not only wants forgiveness, he wants to walk in God’s truth, in God’s way, he wants to go in the way he should choose, for God’s glory. These petitions fill the Psalm. In a Psalm that deals with enemies (25:2, 19), the urgent prayer is to the God who delivers and then teaches and leads. God does this for sinners and the humble (25:8, 9). When the sinner is humbled and forgiven, he wants to live a life pleasing to the Lord, a life that is in accord with His will, His Word, His ways. Afterall, the LORD is the God of our salvation (v. 5).
The child of God who has sinned, not only wants to know the burden has been lifted, the sins forgiven, but that God is committed to leading him and teaching him in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
So spend some time in Psalm 25. Feel the dependence, yes, feel the dependence, on God for forgiveness and instruction. God through His Son is a God of deliverance, who redeems Israel out of all his troubles. How our hearts should cry out to Him in dependence for everything.