The Daily Office: Day 35- Who Does the Lord Instruct in His Ways?
Silence for 2-5 minutes:
If your mind wanders, silently pray a simple prayer again and again, such as, "I surrender to your love" or "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" until the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of peace and focus.
1 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. 2 O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. 3 Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. 5 Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
6 Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. 7 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!
8 Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. 9 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. 10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
Psalm 25 is about the sort of person that the Lord will lead in his ways. (verse 8) Therefore, it goes to reason that if we are not the kind of person described in the Psalm, God cannot teach us nor lead us in the excellent path He has for us.
The Psalm begins with David lifting up his soul unto the Lord. Our souls tell us who we really are, and what is resident within us. Therefore, God receives those who hide nothing from him and approach him in total transparency. David examines his soul before the Lord and sees a multitude of things. As always, David longs for victory over his enemies so that he will not be put to shame. David also longs to follow the Lord down the paths of God’s truth. What a wonderful thing that God wants to hear the longings of our souls!
God is good and upright, and we have to acknowledge that as we come to Him. The Psalmist then says something that may seem contrary to God’s holy nature. God instructs sinners in His way. Though our Lord has no trace of sin or deceit in Him, He instructs those who realize they are sinners in His ways. Often, those who have walked with the Lord for years forget this truth. We are all sinners and Jesus commands us to pray daily, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us.” When we lift our souls to the Lord, we will undoubtedly see the sin that needs to be confessed and cleansed.
Above all, the Lord looks for humility in those who would learn His ways. One might ask, “What is humility?” I believe that humility is reality. It is neither making things better than they are before God or worse, but as they really are without adornment or false debasement. We lift up the complexities of our souls which contain both good and bad. God is then able to work on the true issues of our souls and bring about transformation.
Finally, we are led by the Lord when we realize that all His paths are those of His covenantal steadfast love and faithfulness. The ways of the Lord are the ways of provision for us to follow Him. He will be faithful as we believe and trust Him to provide all we need to walk down this path of discipleship.
Lift up your soul to the Lord confessing your desires as well as your need for God’s mercy and forgiveness. Do you, like David long to know the Lord and His ways? Ask the Lord to make you the kind of person who He can teach and lead.
Lord, I am so thankful that it is only sinners who You can teach your ways. I lift up my soul to you today. I see many contradictory things. On the one hand I see sin that needs forgiveness and mercy, but I also see in my soul the deep desire to know you and your ways. Help me to bring my full self to you, good, bad, and ugly that you might lead me down the path of covenantal faithfulness and love. Amen!