Confidence in prayer. (1-7) Prayer for remission of sins. (8-14) For help in affliction. (15-22)
Verses 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.
Verses 8-14 We are all sinners; and Christ came into the world to save sinners, to teach sinners, to call sinners to repentance. We value a promise by the character of him that makes it; we therefore depend upon God's promises. All the paths of the Lord, that is, all his promises and all his providences, are mercy and truth. In all God's dealings his people may see his mercy displayed, and his word fulfilled, whatever afflictions they are now exercised with. All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth; and so it will appear when they come to their journey's end. Those that are humble, that distrust themselves, and desire to be taught and to follow Divine guidance, these he will guide in judgment, that is, by the rule of the written word, to find rest for their souls in the Saviour. Even when the body is sick, and in pain, the soul may be at ease in God.
Verses 15-22 The psalmist concludes, as he began, with expressing dependence upon God, and desire toward him. It is good thus to hope, and quietly to wait for the salvation of the Lord. And if God turns to us, no matter who turns from us. He pleads his own integrity. Though guilty before God, yet, as to his enemies, he had the testimony of conscience that he had done them no wrong. God would, at length, give Israel rest from all their enemies round about. In heaven, God's Israel will be perfectly redeemed from all troubles. Blessed Saviour, thou hast graciously taught us that without thee we can do nothing. Do thou teach us how to pray, how to appear before thee in the way which thou shalt choose, and how to lift up our whole hearts and desires after thee, for thou art the Lord our righteousness.
Psalms 25:1-22 . The general tone of this Psalm is that of prayer for help from enemies. Distress, however, exciting a sense of sin, humble confession, supplication for pardon, preservation from sin, and divine guidance, are prominent topics.
1. lift up my soul--( Psalms 24:4 , 86:4 ), set my affections (compare Colossians 3:2 ).
2. not be ashamed--by disappointment of hopes of relief.
3. The prayer generalized as to all who wait on God--that is, who expect His favor. On the other hand, the disappointment of the perfidious, who, unprovoked, have done evil, is invoked (compare 2 Samuel 22:9 ).
4, 5. On the ground of former favor, he invokes divine guidance, according to God's gracious ways of dealing and faithfulness.
6, 7. Confessing past and present sins, he pleads for mercy, not on palliations of sin, but on God's well-known benevolence.
8, 9. upright--acting according to His promise.
sinners--the general term, limited by
meek--who are penitent. the way--and his way--God's way of providence.
9. in judgment--rightly.
10. paths--similar sense--His modes of dealing (compare Psalms 25:4 ).
mercy and truth--( Job 14:1-22 ), God's grace in promising and faithfulness in performing.
11. God's perfections of love, mercy, goodness, and truth are manifested (his name, compare Psalms 9:10 ) in pardoning sin, and the greatness of sin renders pardon more needed.
12, 13. What he asks for himself is the common lot of all the pious.
13. inherit the earth--(compare Matthew 5:5 ). The phrase, alluding to the promise of Canaan, expresses all the blessings included in that promise, temporal as well as spiritual.
14. The reason of the blessing explained--the pious enjoy communion with God (compare Proverbs 3:21 Proverbs 3:22 ), and, of course, learn His gracious terms of pardon.
15. His trust in God is fixed.
net--is frequently used as a figure for dangers by enemies ( Psalms 9:15 , 10:9 ).
16-19. A series of earnest appeals for aid because God had seemed to desert him (compare Psalms 13:1 , 17:13 , &c.), his sins oppressed him, his enemies had enlarged his troubles and were multiplied, increasing in hate and violence ( Psalms 9:8 , 18:48 ).
20. keep my soul--( Psalms 16:1 ).
put my trust--flee for refuge ( Psalms 2:12 ).
21. In conscious innocence of the faults charged by his enemies, he confidently commits his cause to God. Some refer-- integrity, &c.--to God, meaning His covenant faithfulness. This sense, though good, is an unusual application of the terms.
22. Extend these blessings to all Thy people in all their distresses.