Teach Me, O Lord, Your Paths

Rev. Regina Davis-Sowers, PhD

Psalm 25: 1-7 O Lord, I give my life to you. I trust in you, my God! Do not let me be disgraced, or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat. No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced, but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others. Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow.  Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love, which you have shown from long ages past.  Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth. Remember me in the light of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O Lord

What is interesting about this psalm by King David is that he admitted to the Lord that he needed His guidance, if he was to be successful against his enemies. David understood that without God’s wisdom and knowledge, his enemies would triumph over him.  He did not want his enemies to question the abilities of God to save him or to boast that their gods were better. He trusted in God, but his enemies certainly did not, so he wanted to be victorious, as a testimony to God’s power and mercy.

I believe that David’s humility was one of the many qualities that made him acceptable to God as a replacement for King Saul. Saul did not ask for advice and thought he could do anything he wanted without asking God to show him the paths he should take. Therefore, he failed. Eventually the Spirit of the Lord departed from him, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him (1 Samuel 16:14). Not so with David, who understood that obedience to God is better than giving sacrifices! The psalm today teaches us three lessons that will help us retain our hope today and in the future.

First, David gave his life to God, putting his trust in God, and asking that he be victorious over his enemies. David believed that anyone who trusted in God would not suffer disgrace.  Similarly, we must place our lives in God’s hands, surrendering every area of our lives to God’s guidance and authority. Whatever we endure, we must trust that God will give us victory, and that our enemies will be defeated. Enemies can be people or conditions that attempt to take away our peace and joy. Just knowing that God is with us through it all gives us the comfort needed to endure until change comes.

Second, David understood that he needed God’s guidance, to be successful in every endeavor. So, he asked God to teach him. He realized that only God knew the right paths for him to follow. Moreover, David knew that God alone has the truth, so he put his hope in the “God who saves me.” We, too, must acknowledge that we need the guidance of God, meaning the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding that comes from God above, rather than depending on our secular wisdom and our own understanding. Let us humble ourselves before God’s might hand and admit what we don’t know, rather than be too proud to ask God for help.

But, how do we receive God’s guidance? By reading God’s guidance system, the Holy Bible. We should be reading a part of the Word every day, if only a few Scriptures at a time. Psalm 1:1 -3 state, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” David was right to believe that knowing God’s will in his life was a powerful source of hope.

Third, David asked for forgiveness for youthful rebellions, reminding God of his compassion, unfailing love, and mercy, which God had shown to His people across the ages. David comprehended that God never changed. Today, when we surrender our lives to God, the hope of our lives, we must also repent in our hearts and confess our past sins, knowing that God is just to forgive us. God cleanses us from all unrighteousness, so that while our sins may be like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.

The psalm today emphasizes that David loved God, and, just as important, he knew that God loved him. The same faithful, loving, and merciful God to whom David surrendered his life and asked for guidance and forgiveness is the same God to whom we go to today. He still inhabits the praises of His people, and he still hears our faintest cry. Just believe as David did, and when troubles come, put all your hopes in Him who will not leave you!

Dear God in Heaven,

Precious Creator, Comforter, and Savior, we come to You today, believing that you see all and know all. Lead us in the paths of righteousness, for thy name’s sake. Teach us your ways, and grant us the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding You have always supplied to those who called on Your name and the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, the Lord. Thank you for your compassion and unfailing love, for they keep me grounded in faith when troubles come. I just remember your promises to be with us until the end of the age. In Jesus’s Name. Amen

 

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