I am not worthy to unpack Psalm 25. This is one of the most beloved of
all psalms. Yet, psalms are for intended public and private devotion.
So, I will tell you what draws me in as I read, study and meditate on
You may know that this psalm is an alphabetic acrostic, according to
the Hebrew alphabet with the exception of 3 letters which Jewish
interpreters tell us reference the word hell. Psalm 25 is nearly 2500
years old. Its value is ancient and new. Along with fervent reading it
has been beautifully chanted and sung through the ages. It is
attributed to David, some of whose experiences we can recall as we
It begins, “To you, O God, I lift up my soul.” If I lift up my soul to
God, I am asking for a blessing, to be raised up, asking “Bless my
soul.” Throughout the entirety of the psalm, David maintains his
posture of humility. Then David, asserts his trust in God, petitions
for care, for mercy, for protection from shame by his enemies, and
begs God to not remember his sins, but to remember him only in tender
love. He recalls the ways of God, who is faithful to instruct sinners.
Friendship with God is real. Then, “turn to me for I am lonely and
afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and bring me out of my
distress.” David wills that he be aligned with God, the one who saves
him. David commits to wait, as a waiter waits upon the one he serves.
He waits for guidance, for instruction. Waiting requires patience and
In The Discerning Heart: Exploring the Christian Path by Wilkie and
Noreen Cannon Au, we read “Patience entails a commitment to be still
in the midst of a painful situation until we understand what is going
on. Awareness . . . can be the beginning of a way out of dead ends and
painful places because awareness leads to responsibility, that is, the
ability to respond.” (page 30) Wilkie and Noreen tell us that patience
is a virtue that allows us to not just endure an experience but to
actively go through it, to face it in order to search out its meaning.
If God will instruct the sinner and lead the humble then perhaps it is
in being patient that I will better understand what is happening and
what God wills I do or not do. What is my calling?
As I am working on this piece, I notice the final sentence: “For I
wait for you.” There is something incredibly touching in that initial
“for.” He is able to respond to the stressful moments in his life
because he has surrendered to God’s love. David trusts that he is
accompanied by his Beloved. For there is nowhere the Divine isn’t.
Let us wait for our merciful God, listen and see God at work in us and
in the world.