“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God” (Psalm 25:1). This is the attitude of faith. It is simple and bold expression of a humble soul whose confidence is in the only One who is trustworthy in all things and in all times. Once again, David gives us an example of a right relationship with God.
David’s confidence in God is expressed this way in verse 3: “No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse.” The key to David’s faith is found in the virtue of hope. It is useless to put our hope in anything that is finite, or worldly. Our hope is not in wealth, or in the vagaries of political power. The fragile and often deluded ego is not worthy of our hope. Only the eternal God, the Creator of the universe, the One whose love is greater than sin and death, is worthy of all hope. It is in him that we live and move and have our being. He is our Creator, our Savior, and our Advocate. David came to know this by faith alone.
But David also knows his weakness and his need for God’s wisdom. He says in verse 4: “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths. David, as we know, was a sinner just like the rest of us. And his sins were not insignificant. When the prophet Nathan confronted David with his sins before the Lord, David’s sorrow and repentance were great and sincere, and he experienced the greatness of God’s mercy. It is for this reason that he is humble before the Lord and knows that his ways are not the Lord’s. It is in this humility that he lifts up his soul to God and asks God to show him his ways, to teach him his paths. This lesson in humility and need hits the center of the target for all of us. We, too, need to come before the Lord with this humble recognition and this sincere desire to know God’s ways and to learn his paths.
David has come to know God through the light of experience and faith. He can say of the Lord: “Good and upright is the Lord, therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right…” And here is the real insight that David has, and that we ought to contemplate in our own lives: All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant” (verses 8-10). David comes before the Lord as we should, humble and contrite, aware of our brokenness, no matter how great, or how small. David recognizes his need for God’s liberating forgiveness. This is what we are called upon to recognize as well. With this hope, rooted in humility and faith, we need fear nothing that the world threatens. We should fear only the loss of the Lord’s love and grace.
To paraphrase David: We pray that the Lord will look upon our weaknesses and our distress, that in his mercy he will take away our sins and rescue us from our troubles. Lord, give us the graces we need to remain upright in your ways and protect us in our hope in you. We pray in these things in your name, Lord. Amen.
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