Today, Tuesday December 20
Living in the Valley of Life
“To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me. Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.
Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.
Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, For they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your mercy remember me, For Your goodness' sake, O LORD.”
Today we will begin our study on Psalm 25. In this Psalm we come down from the top of the mount. In Psalms 22, 23, and 24 we were occupied with our Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ on the “Mount” where He was lifted up and glorified. In Psalm 22 we followed Jesus to Golgotha, on up to Mt. Calvary where we saw our “Good Shepherd”, Jesus, being crucified. Then in Psalm 23 we went up to the green pastures in the highlands of the mountain where we experienced our “Great Shepherd” loving and caring for us. And finally in Psalm 24 we get to the peak of the mountain with our “Chief Shepherd”, where He is glorified before us and the whole world.
This reminds me of Matthew 17:1-8, where “Jesus took Peter, James and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light….. When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.”
In the very next verse, we read, “Now as they came down from the mountain…” (Matthew 17:9). And then in the following verses, down in the valley, Jesus and disciples encounter the multitudes of broken, hurting and hungry people being plagued by demons.
In Psalm 24, the Lord Jesus is seen claiming the world, calling out those who are to be joint heirs with Him in His kingdom, and coming to summon to His home on high all those who belong to Him. But now, after we are giving a glimpse of the Lord’s glory, in Psalm 25, we come down from the mount to the valley of life where we find ourselves surrounded by demonic enemies and we desperately need help!
We do not know when Psalm 25 was written but most of the commentators believe that it was probably written sometime during the Absalom rebellion. The writer, of course, was David, as we learn from the title given to it. It is a psalm which belongs as much in the prayer book as in the hymnbook. There are three prayers in the psalm. It begins with prayer (25:1-7); there is prayer in the middle (25:11); and there is prayer at the end (25:15-19). The closing prayer is not nearly as bright and full of faith and hope as the opening prayer. But, after all, that's the way it is in our experience. Often we end up on a note of discouragement even in our brightest moments of spiritual exercise.
Psalm 25 pictures life as a difficult journey that we can't successfully make by ourselves. The word "way" is used four times (vv. 4, 8, 9, 12) and "paths" once (v. 10). We find the psalmist crying out to God for wisdom as he makes decisions (vv. 4-5). He is surrounded by enemies (v. 2) who hate him (v. 19), lay traps for him (v. 15), and who want him to fail and be ashamed (vv. 2, 3, 20). The psalmist knows he is a sinner who doesn't deserve God's help (vv. 7, 11, 18), but he relies on the goodness and mercy of the Lord.
A renowned psychologist once said, "Once we truly know that life is difficult, and once we truly understand and accept it, then life is no longer difficult." David knew that the path of life wasn't easy, but he succeeded in the journey because he held the unwavering assurance that he could trust the Lord to help him and that God would bring him to victory!
We live in a broken, hurting world and we all desperately need help as we deal with it and respond to the needs of those around us! God is waiting to help us if we but call on His name in faith and trust!