Psalm 25 - I Lift Up My Soul

INTRODUCTION: I began to examine resurrection in preparation for the next MPN, but the topic is quite wide in scope, and my cross-referencing led me into Psalms, which is a rich repository of doctrine, and matters of the heart of God and man. During the course of my studies, I received an inquiry as to whether I had material on Psalm 25, which I did not. Chapters 19 through 23 are Psalms which I have considered in the past, for detailed study, and I re-read them after reading Psalm 25. My inclination grew stronger for Psalm 25, which became the subject for this edition. I dedicate this MPN to Walter Adams, a dear friend and fellowservant of the Living LORD. [Colossians 1:7 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ;]


Psalms 25:1 [in composite paraphrase]

1 Of David. To you Jehovah, I lift up my soul.

COMMENTS: The soul is mentioned many times in scripture, and our relationship to God, who is spirit, can be better grasped when we think in terms of our soul more than our physical body. This is by no means an uncomplicated subject, and there could be much discussion about man's soul and/or spirit, as well as the Spirit of God. But contemplation of our personal relationship to our God, is probably more important than attempting a definitive explanation of terms. Herein is a sample of "Lord - soul" verses, since David began this Psalm expressing his soul. Genesis 2:7 "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Numbers 15:28 "And the priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, when he sinneth by ignorance before the LORD, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him." Deuteronomy 10:12 "And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul," 1 Kings 17:21-22 "And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again. And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived." Psalms 30:3 "O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit." Psalms 34:22 "The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate." Isaiah 61:10 "I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels." Luke 10:27 "And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself." Matthew 10:28 "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

The body is often the focal point of the world around us, with products or activities to beautify, strengthen, increase pleasure, and produce longevity. But the soul of man is the creation of God, which will transcend our physical bodies, and someday inhabit the resurrection body for eternity. Let us lift up our soul to the Lord!


Psalms 25:2-3 [in composite paraphrase]

2 My God, in you I have trusted, Let me not be put to shame, Let not my enemies rejoice in triumph over me. 3 Let none that expectantly wait on you be put to shame: let them be put to shame that are faithless in vain.

COMMENTS: Here is the contrast, beginning with those who trust in God alone, with an expectation that the Lord will keep his promise for future glorification for the believer. The ones who have no saving faith are truly living in vain, and the ultimate "putting to shame" awaits all who reject God's salvation in Christ.


Psalms 25:4-5 [in composite paraphrase]

4 Make known your ways, O Jehovah; instruct me in the way to live. 5 Lead me in your truth, and instruct me, God my Savior: I continually and expectantly wait for you.

COMMENTS: In verses 5 and 6 the psalmist confirms dependence on the Lord by asking for continued instruction and direction in life's walk. I chose "my Savior" from among the translations I reviewed, because it expresses a more personal application of the work of God in the individual believer. Our Lord provides our salvation in the very personal manner of himself as Savior. Why should we not shun the values of the world, and wait only for instruction through his word, which is the very embodiment of truth.


Psalms 25:6-7 [in composite paraphrase]

6 Remember, O Jehovah, your tender mercies and your lovingkindness; for they are perpetual. 7 Remember not the sins of my youth, or my transgressions: remember me according to your mercy, for your goodness' sake, O Jehovah.

COMMENTS: Calling upon God to remember his mercy is not to remind the one who knows all things, but rather to make our request based upon his own rock-solid nature. All of the misdeeds, which span our life, regardless of the years covered from birth to death, can be removed by the boundless grace of our great God, and that grace continues perpetually to reach all generations. Our appeal for mercy is made in confidence because his mercy is based upon his own goodness, and his consistent nature, not our grossly deficient merit.


Psalms 25:8-11 [in composite paraphrase]

8 Good and upright is Jehovah; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. 9 He guides the humble in justice; and He teachs the humble His way. 10 All the paths of Jehovah are lovingkindness and truth unto those keeping his covenant and his testimonies. 11 Because of your name, O Jehovah, pardon my many sins.

COMMENTS: As Jesus said in Luke 5:32, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." He instructs sinners in the way of God because he is upright. And in another place the scripture says, "humble thyself in the sight of the Lord, and he will lift you up." If we truly understand who God is, how could we be anything but humble before him? For those who seek his way, he returns loving kindness and truth. All of this is because of His name; the name above all names. These thoughts again bring us to request forgiveness of our many sins because of his wonderful, matchless name.


Psalms 25:12-15 [in composite paraphrase]

12 Who is the man fearing Jehovah? He directs him in the way He should choose. 13 His soul shall remain in prosperity; and his offspring shall inherit the earth. 14 The secret counsel of Jehovah is with them that fear Him; and His covenant made manifest to them. 15 My eyes are continually to Jehovah; for he shall draw my feet out of the snare.

COMMENTS: What is the distinctive of those who trust in God's salvation? A few other scriptures say, Psalms 37:22 "For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off." and Matthew 5:5 "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." The Lord's direction in our lives assures the prosperity of our souls, and this is not a guarantee of physical prosperity in this temporal world. His secret counsel is revealed to those who trust in him: those who benefit from his covenant. Look not to the circumstances of today, but rather to the God of all eternity, for "the Lord shall draw my feet out of the snare" of death, as he has removed the sting forever.


Psalms 25:16-19 [in composite paraphrase]

16 Turn toward me in grace, for I am alone and afflicted. 17 The troubles of my heart have been multiplied; deliver me from my anguish. 18 Consider my affliction and my toil; and forgive all my sins. 19 See my enemies, for they have been many, and with violent hatred they have hated me.

COMMENTS: The confidence and joy of the earlier verses does not eliminate the circumstances in which we live our daily lives, but the Lord knows are inner struggles and anguish, so he allows us to pour all of that out before him. Christian confidence is not detachment from reality, but to the contrary, it is the understanding of the temporary nature of the present reality in light of eternity controlled by an all-powerful and all-loving God.


Psalms 25:20-22 [in composite paraphrase]

20 O keep my soul, and deliver me; let me not be put to shame, for I have taken refuge in you. 21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on you. 22 Deliver Israel, O God, out of all his distresses.

COMMENTS: In conclusion then, our request is that the Lord keep our soul (we shall receive a new body) because we have taken our refuge only in the Lord. Integrity, and the robes of righteousness of Christ, preserve us as we wait upon the Lord's timetable. The name Israel has a literal meaning of "God prevails", and this brings the psalm to a close on a note of corporate worship by the whole body of God-fearing people, of the one who always prevails!


--- Reflections in prayer ---

Lord Jesus, I lift up my soul to you. Because I trust in you, keep me from shame at your coming, so the enemies of the cross will have no reason to celebrate. Thank you for this grace to all who trust, and the loss of grace to those who reject your word and retain their vanity. Make your way clear to me and instruct me in that way; lead me in your truth, and instruct me, God my Savior: I continually and expectantly wait for you. Remember, my Jesus, your tender mercies and your lovingkindness; for they are perpetual. Remember not the sins of my youth, or my recent transgressions: remember me Lord, according to your mercy, for the sake of your goodness.

Lord, you are good and upright; therefore you instruct sinners in the way. You guide the humble in justice; and teach the humble your way. All of your paths Lord are lovingkindness and truth unto those keeping your covenant and your testimonies. Because of your name, Lord Jesus, pardon my many sins. I want to be among those who fear the Lord, and have your direction for the way I should choose. Keep my soul in prosperity, and may my offspring inherit the earth. Bless me Lord, with your secret counsel and the manifestation of your covenant. I will continually look to you Jesus, to draw my feet out of the snare.

Turn toward me in grace Lord Jesus, for without you I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have been multiplied in this fallen world; deliver me from my anguish. Consider my affliction and my toil; and forgive all my many sins. See my enemies who oppose your way, for they have been many, and with violent hatred they have hated all such as I am, those who belong to Christ. Keep my soul, and deliver me; let me not be put to shame, for I have taken refuge in you. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on you. Bring quickly the eternal deliverance, out of this sin-cursed world, for all those who trust in you. Amen.

Published 4 June 2004, first issued 29 December 2002