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A Study of Psalm 25:1-13

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Jesus gives us a wonderful promise in John 14:16-17, 26, "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you."

In this section of scripture Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will be with us. He will be our helper and will teach us and lead us into all truth. We have a helper alongside of us every moment of every day. He abides with us forever. So whenever we are struggling, or in need of divine help, God is never far from us — in fact he’s living right inside of our hearts.

1 Corinthians 3:16 tells us, "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" And 1 John 4:12-13 says, "No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit."

Pearlman writes, "One of the most comprehensive definitions of a Christian is that he is a man in whom the Holy Spirit dwells. His body is a temple of the Holy Ghost, in virtue of which experience he is sanctified as the Tabernacle was consecrated by Jehovah’s indwelling. He is then called a ‘saint’ and it becomes his duty to guard the sanctity of the temple of his body."

Psalm 25:1-13 shows us the many ways that God’s spirit helps us through our Christian walk.

Verse 1

To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul.

The first thing the Holy Spirit does is to cause us to lift up our soul in prayer and worship. He gives us a desire in our heart to reach up toward heaven. This is why John 16:13 tells us about the Holy Spirit, "...he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak...."

The Holy Spirit does not attract attention to himself. Rather, he points us to God the Father and to Jesus. He gives us a desire deep in our soul to commune with God. As David said in Psalm 103:1-2, "Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits."

Verse 2

O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me.

The next thing we see the Holy Spirit doing is giving us the victory. As Romans 8:37 promises, "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Do you feel surrounded by problems? Trust in God. He will give you the victory. He will not allow your enemies to triumph over you.

Notice in this verse the key to victory is the phrase, I trust in you. We must learn to trust in God and believe his word. He will not let us down.

Verse 3

Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.

The Holy Spirit teaches us to wait on God. There come times when we must wait before the Lord — when we need to spend time in his presence allowing his Spirit to minister peace and strength to us. Isaiah 40:31 promises us, "But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint." Do you need strength from the Lord to overcome. Spend time waiting on him.

David was the king of all Israel. He commanded a huge army. He organized the temple worship with different groups of singers taking turns singing the songs that he wrote. He had many wives. He was surrounded by friends, and he had great wealth. And yet he had learned the most important part of life was waiting on the Lord. As he wrote in Psalm 27:14, "Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!"

Verse 4

Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths.

The Holy Spirit teaches us how to walk in the ways of the Lord. He reveals the way we should go when we’re unsure, and he guides and directs us along the way. Isaiah 30:21 assures us, "Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it, whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left."

Notice this verse says, show me your ways, and, teach me your paths. It doesn’t say, help me in my ways and strengthen me in my paths. We need to learn to follow the Lord’s path. We may have the greatest of intentions as to the path we want to take, but as Proverbs 14:12 warns us, "There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death." Let’s be sure we are on the Lord’s path that leads to eternal life.

Spurgeon comments, "We cannot at all times discern the path of duty, and at such times it is our wisdom to apply to the Lord himself. Frequently the dealings of God with us are mysterious, and then also we may appeal to him as his own interpreter, and in due time he will make all things plain. Moral, providential and mental forms of guidance are all precious gifts of a gracious God to a teachable people. ... What weak dependent creatures we are! How constantly we cry to the Strong for strength!"

Verse 5

Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.

The Holy Spirit reveals to us the truth. There is no reason for believers to be confused or to be fooled by false teaching. Allow the Spirit to guide you, and he will teach you the way of the Lord. As Jesus said in John 8:31-32, "Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

Do you want to discover the truth of the Lord, the truth of his word, and the truth of his ways? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you. He will reveal the truth to you. He will teach you.

Verse 6

Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and Your loving-kindnesses, For they are from of old.

The Holy Spirit will teach us about God. He will reveal God’s nature to us. He will show us the Lord’s attributes. As Plumer wrote in 1867, "The attributes of God are the foundation of all true religion."

Here David talks about the tender mercies and lovingkindness of the Lord. And then he says they are from old. He expanded upon this idea when he wrote the 103rd Psalm. Verses 10-13 and 17 paint for us a beautiful picture of who God is, "He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, So the LORD pities those who fear Him. But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children's children."

Verse 7

Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your mercy remember me, For Your goodness' sake, O LORD.

The Holy Spirit will show us how to overcome sin. He will be constantly pointing us to the Lord and his word for strength. He will help us to become spiritually stronger so we can overcome the temptation of sin.

How often are we haunted by the sins of our youth. Areas that we thought were gone from us years ago sneak back into our lives. But the Lord is full of mercy and helps us even when we fail him. As we learn to trust him more, we also learn how to overcome those sins that have so often tripped us up. Hebrews 12:1 tells us, "...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us."

Spurgeon points out, "The world winks at the sins of young men, and yet they are not so little after all; the bones of our youthful feastings at Satan’s table will stick painfully in our throats when we are old men. He who presumes upon his youth is poisoning his old age. How large a tear may wet this page as some of us reflect upon the past!"

Verse 8

Good and upright is the LORD; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.

The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin. He reveals to us that we are sinners, he makes us feel guilty for our transgressions, he leads us to the One who will forgive us, and then he helps us to overcome evil. This is an ongoing process since we are constantly falling into the snare of sin.

We must always be willing to listen to the voice of the Spirit showing us areas in our life over which we need to repent.

Notice that this verse gives the reason that God teaches sinners in the way — because he is good and upright. He wants to see us living according to his holy standards. So he shows us when we have fallen short of the mark. The Holy Spirit convicts us and causes remorse in our hearts, so that we will want to do better next time.

Verse 9

The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way.

The Holy Spirit guides us. He goes with us every day. He is always by our side to lead us along. As Psalm 37:23 tells us, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way."

This verse tells us he guides the humble in justice, and he teaches the humble in his way. We need to humbly accept the Lord’s way as the right way. Sometimes we are full of pride, and we haughtily insist on going our own way. At those times the Lord can’t guide us — we’re too headstrong to listen to the voice of the Spirit. We need to learn humility. Proverbs 16:18 warns us, "Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall."

Verse 10

All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.

The Holy Spirit teaches us the law of the Lord, God’s word. As we spend time studying

the Bible, the Spirit reveals new truths to us. If we come across portions of the scripture that are difficult for us to understand, we can ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate our understanding. As we serve the Lord, we discover a desire to learn more about the Bible. And as we spend more time reading God’s word, we develop a growing hunger to study scripture. These inclinations on our part are the result of the Holy Spirit ministering in our heart and placing these desires within us.

Erickson comments, "The Spirit evidently has a teaching role. ...we read that he would bring to mind and clarify for the disciples the words which Jesus had already given to them. Here we have the idea of illumination by the Holy Spirit.... The ministry of the Holy Spirit was not merely for that first generation of disciples, but obviously also includes helping believers today to understand the Scripture."

Do you have a desire to read God’s word and learn from it? Is it so strong in you that you want to spend time in the Bible every day? If not, then pray for the Spirit to help you. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be your helper to assist you in learning from the scriptures. He is there to give you insight and understanding. We need to learn God’s word. Psalm 119:11 gives us a good reason to learn God’s word, "Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!"

Verse 11

For Your name's sake, O LORD, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.

The Holy Spirit will show us the right way. The longer we serve the Lord, the more we realize how great is our iniquity. The reason for this is that as we learn more about God and his way, we gain a better understanding of how far short we are to his standards.

This is what Isaiah experienced when he found himself in the presence of the Lord. He said in Isaiah 6:5, "Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." When we are in God’s presence, we will realize how great is our sin.

It is then we understand how we cannot depend on our own strength, but must place our trust in the Lord’s strength. In our own strength we will surely fail. We have proven that to ourselves over and over again. But as we learn to turn more areas of our life over to God, we discover a supernatural ability to overcome sin’s temptation. In ourselves we can do nothing. but as Paul wrote in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Verse 12

Who is the man that fears the LORD? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.

The Holy Spirit will help us to obey God’s commandments. We love to read and hear about God’s mercy, but we need to learn more about God’s judgement. When we truly understand God’s holiness, we will want to obey his commandments. We will have a reverential fear of God’s wrath, and we will have a supernatural desire to please God. It is the Holy Spirit who helps us to have the desire to be obedient.

Jesus said in John 14:15, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." We need to learn obedience.

Verse 13

He himself shall dwell in prosperity, And his descendants shall inherit the earth.

The Holy Spirit will comfort us. The Hebrew word translated prosperity is < bwo+> tob. This word means good. God will give us good things. He will give us all kinds of good things. No matter what trials we may have to face, the Holy Spirit is always there to comfort us with the goodness of God.

This verse is teaching that we shall be blessed where we dwell, and even our children will be blessed. When Jesus was teaching on prayer in Matthew 7, he told the people the Parable of the Good Father. In verse 11 he said, "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!"

Whether it’s healing for our sickness, peace in our times of trouble, joy for our sorrow, encouragement for our despair, strength in our weakness, or comfort in our hopelessness, God wants to give us good things.


These Study Notes on Psalm 19 1997 by David Humpal. All rights reserved.
All scriptures unless otherwise noted are from the Revised Standard Version 1971, A. J. Holman Company

Pearlman: Knowing the Doctrines of the Bible pg. 307 1937, Gospel Publishing House

John 16:13 from the King James Version

Spurgeon: The Treasury of David, vol. I, pg. 392, MacDonald Publishing Company

Plumer: Psalms: A Critical and Expository Commentary with Doctrinal and Practical Remarks pg. 333, The Banner of Truth Trust

Spurgeon: The Treasury of David, vol. I, pg. 393, MacDonald Publishing Company

Erickson: Introducing Christian Doctrine pg. 269 1992, Baker Book House

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