Today's lectionary readings: Psalm 25:1-10; Daniel 9:1-14; 1 John 1:3-1
Selected passage for reflection: Psalm 25:1-10 (NKJV)
1 To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. 2 O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me. 3 Indeed, let no one who [a]waits on You be ashamed; Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.
4 Show me 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; On You I wait all the day.
6 Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your loving kindnesses, For they are from of old. 7 Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your mercy remember me, For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.
8 Good and upright is the Lord; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way. 9 The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way. 10 All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.
Have you ever just needed a good cry? Most people will answer this question with a resounding “Yes!”. Most of us know how it feels to have our emotions tied up in knots or even bottled up…struggling to break free because of some deep pain. A good cry, or crying out, can sometimes soothe us in the moment, but Psalm 25 shows us Who can bring us more than temporary relief.
In Psalm 25 David is crying out. He is desperate to receive help, forgiveness, and guidance. While the specific reason for his lamenting is not known, we do know that David made more than a few mistakes in his lifetime that could have brought him to his knees. In fact, it is highly likely that his moral failings and sins are the foundations of his grief and even the sources of his enemies’ taunts.
Perhaps the background for David's crying out is a leadership decision he made while on the run from King Saul. David and his men were away from their camp trying to make alliances in their fight against King Saul and the Israelites and left their camp unprotected. As a result, another enemy invaded and torched the camp and kidnapped David’s family and the family of all the men who were with him. His men, typically loyal, spoke of stoning him and declared the tragedy to be his fault (1 Samuel 30). Maybe the reason for his grief is his own memories of how he violated Bathsheba and had her husband, Uriah, killed in battle (2 Samuel 11). Or it could possibly be the shame he felt from having his first-born son, Absalom, plot to lead a rebellion against him to usurp his throne (2 Samuel 15). David had plenty of reasons to be in distress and had plenty of reasons to cry out to the Lord.
Like David, we all have situations in our lives that cause us to feel overwhelmed, afraid, hurt, confused, and frankly, just emotionally exhausted. Our personal sins or the consequences to our own lapses in judgment may be the cause, or the pain others bring may be the reason, but whatever the context we can certainly relate to David’s anguish. Thankfully, through Psalm 25: 1-10 David shows us what to do with all of it. He lifts his soul, crying out for guidance and asking God to remember him and recall his loving kindness towards him. Even in his pain David hopes in the character of God. He trusts that God’s mercy and lovingkindness will not fail him, and in our times of despair we can do the same. We can cry out, or call out, to God from a place of hope and trust in God’s goodness towards us and His unfailing love.
David also recalls the truth that God’s forgiveness and justice will not fail either. This humbles David as he seeks forgiveness and direction. David declares that he will wait on God trusting that He will ultimately restore him and deal justly with David’s enemies. When we have fallen short of God’s grace and feel ashamed and confused, we can also recall to our minds the truth that God is forgiving, just, and able to restore…. completely.
Take a few minutes to recall the situations that are causing you despair, anxiety, or confusion. Pray Psalm 25: 1-10 aloud.
Listen to the song Hear My Cry by Fred Hammond.
Lord, thank You for hearing our cries, offering your forgiveness, and continuously pouring out Your love on us. Thank You for reminding us that You are in control and have our backs in all situations. Help us to take it one day at a time and to trust in Your daily care. Amen.
About the Author
Erika is an Education Innovation & Research Project Manager who develops and implements large scale organizational projects helping to advance educational equity and access for underrepresented student populations. Erika is a PhD student with research interests in educational leadership, equity and access in post-secondary education, and policy creation. She holds two master’s degrees, a MDiv & a MAT in education, and is a published author with works in theological journals and magazines. Erika is also a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion workshop presenter and speaker. She is from the south side of Chicago, Illinois and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.