By Jeff Whitsell
Psalm 25 appeals to me for two reasons:
First, it is written in acrostic form, the first verse begins with the first letter in the Hebrew
alphabet, followed by the second letter beginning the second verse, etc. I suppose acrostic verses appeal to me because they seem to stand out and say, “look at me.”
Secondly, I can’t help but find a correlation between the Psalm and the Lord’s Prayer as
taught in Matthew 6:9 and Luke 11:2.
The Pater Noster (Lord's Prayer) can be outlined into seven parts and represents the ideal way that we should pray to God. Some of the verses in Psalm 25 fit in more than one part of the Lord’s Prayer, but I see the structure as follows:
1. Hallowed be thy name: The recognition of God’s holiness, that He is trustworthy, and
25:1-2a, “O my God, in you I trust”
25:5b “for you are the God of my salvation [or deliverer]”
25:6 “Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been
from of old”
25:7b “…according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your
goodness, O Lord!”
25:11a “For your name's sake, O Lord…” – Also translated, “As befits Your
name, O Lord…”
2. Thy Kingdom come: To Christians this can have dual meaning in that God’s Kingdom
actively comes to us in many forms and His Kingdom will literally come to us ultimately.
25:9 “He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way”
25:13 “His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land”
25:14 “The friendship [or ‘secret’ or ‘counsel’ or ‘secret counsel’] of the Lord is
for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.”
To me, verse 24 is the most compelling verse in Psalm 25. First, the verse is at the midpoint (or the heart) of Psalm 25 Secondly, the Hebrew word for “counsel” which can also be transliterated as “secret counsel” is used which brings to mind several New Testament verses including `1 Timothy 3:9 which includes the phrase, “the mystery of the faith” which is the revealed gospel of Jesus. Lastly, the verse includes God’s covenant which came to earth in Jesus Christ and is ever-present in His Kingdom.
3. Thy will be done: The recognition, that God’s will is supreme and good.
25:5b “for you I wait all the day long”; a closer translation from the Hebrew is, “…it is You I look to at all times.”
25:21-22 “May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you. Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.”
4. Give us this day: The need for God to provide for us.
25:20 “Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.”
5. Forgive us: The Lord’s Prayer asks for forgiveness for our sins and for the people who sin against us. However, the accounts in the Old Testament are all before the birth of Jesus. This means that not only would it be impossible for someone to forgive another person’s sins, it would have been blasphemous. I would submit that David does the best that he could do for his enemies, he asked God to do His will regarding them.
a) Forgive us our trespasses:
25:7 “Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your
steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!”
25:11b “…pardon my guilt, for it is great.”
25:16 “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.”
25:18 “Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.”
b) Forgive those who trespass against us:
25:2b “...let not my enemies exult over me”
25:19 “Consider how many are my foes, and with what violent hatred they hate me.”
David recognizes that only God can consider his enemies. Again, he isn’t asking for forgiveness, rather he is asking God to do as He wants regarding his enemies.
6. Lead us not into temptation: The converse of temptation would be God’s divine wisdom,
His Law, and qualities exemplified in the Fruit of the Spirit.
25:4-5 “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your
truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long”
These verses make an appeal to God to teach and lead us down the Lord’s paths and to
understand His truth.
25:10 “All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep
his covenant and his testimonies.” Again, the reference to the Lord’s paths which are love
and faithfulness, not temptation.
25:12 “Who is the man who fears the Lord? Him will he instruct in the way that he
should choose.” Also translated, “he shall be shown what path to choose.”
7. Deliver us from evil:
25:15 “My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.” The
word “net” refers to a trap used to capture and kill something.
25:17 “The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses.” Evil causes
troubles and distress. We should ask God to deliver us from these things.