Read: Psalm 25
This psalm is an alphabetical psalm, in which the verses are arranged in the order of the Hebrew alphabet according to the first letter of each verse – although in the case of this psalm, the letters beth, vav, and qof are missing, and two verses begin with the letter resh. Other alphabetical psalms include Psalms 9, 10, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119, and 145. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, and the Jewish historian Josephus noted the significance of that number: it is the number of biblical generations from Adam to Jacob; the number of works of creation, and the number of books in the Jewish canon of Scripture. (The count of 22 books is achieved by combining those books linked historically or by authors: e.g. 1 and 2 Samuel are one book; Ezra/Nehemiah are one book; Judges/Ruth are one book; Jeremiah/Lamentations are one book, etc.). The alphabetical psalms may have been written as an aid to recitation from memory. There is an underlying suggestion of completeness – “everything from A to Z” – that is implied in the alphabetical format. In the case of Psalm 25, the fixed order of the alphabetical structure, which is a kind of path, also complements the request of the psalm in v. 4: “Teach me to know Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths.” The psalm presents an example of David’s lifelong goal to keep to the path of the upright.
Think About It: Imagine memorizing Psalm 119! How much Scripture have I memorized? What is the longest passage of Scripture that I have committed to memory? What benefits accompany the memorization of Scripture?
Prayer: Teach me to Your paths, OLord.
Read: Psalm 25:1, 15; Psalm 121:1- 2; 2 Chronicles 20:12; Isaiah 45:22; Lamentations 3:22 – 26;
Micah 7:7; Hebrews 12:1—2
The path of the upright that David sought is suggested by several passages in Psalm 25. The Psalm begins with David’s affirmation that he lifts up his soul to God, and in v. 15 the psalmist says that his eyes are always looking at God. One of the most wonderful examples of this characteristic of the path of the upright is found in the prayer of King Jehoshaphat when a great horde of Ammonites and Moabites threatened Judah (2 Chronicles 20:5 – 12). This prayer closes with a marvelous appeal to God: “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”
Think About It: Have I ever felt like Jehoshaphat, totally at a loss as to what to do? The example of David and Jehoshaphat is that when perplexed and overwhelmed, I should look to the Lord. Who or what am I tempted to look to when I am up against it (e.g. Matthew 14:30)? What is involved in keeping my eyes on the Lord?
Prayer: Lord, please help me to remember to keep my eyes on You.
Read: Psalm 25:2 – 5; 16 – 17; 20; Psalm 50:15; Psalm 107:6, 13, 19, 28; Hosea 5:15; James 5:13
Walking the path of the upright involves trusting the Lord for salvation, looking to Him for deliverance from both spiritual and practical difficulties, and calling out to God for help when in trouble. This characteristic of the path of the upright is not meant to be figurative; it refers to the practice of calling on God for help in our time of need.
Think About It: Who is my Savior (2 Peter 1:11, 2:20; 3:2; 3:18)? Do I believe that Jesus saves me from sin and gives me the gift of eternal life? If He can do that, can I also believe that He can deliver me from the troubles of this world (John 16:33)? According to the Scripture references for today, what does God do for those who call on Him in their distress? What if they don’t call on Him (James 4:2; Hosea 5:15)?
Prayer: Lord, thank Your help in times of great distress.
Read: Psalm 25:6 – 11; 18; 1 John 1:9 – 10; Micah 7:18 – 20; Hebrews 10:22
Walking the path of the upright involves humble confession of sin. Candid admission of guilt is encouraged by the fact that God is merciful. Many great Christians of old practiced daily self-examination and confession of sin. Our reading of Scripture ought to be done with openness to conviction of sin as illumined in our lives by the Holy Spirit in our encounter with the inspired word of God. Keeping a short account on ourselves before God is important in maintaining a clear conscience.
Think About It: What was included in Paul’s charge to Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:5? Why is maintaining a good conscience important (1 Timothy 1:19)? What did Jesus say about the importance of keeping a clear conscience in our relationships with others (Matthew 5:23 – 24)? Am I willing to humble myself by admitting my sins before God and to others, and asking forgiveness from God and others?
Prayer: Lord, give me the strength to humble myself before You and others, to admit when I have done wrong, and to ask for forgiveness.
Read: Psalm 25:12 – 14; Psalm 31:19; 1 Samuel 12:14; 2 Kings 17:39
The person who walks in the path of the upright must fear the Lord. Fear of the Lord means in part exactly what it sounds like, because “our God is a devouring fire” (Hebrews 12:29), and if we sin and do not repent, the result is fearful expectation of judgment. Fear of the Lord also means regarding Him with reverence and awe for His holiness and mighty power (Hebrews 12:28).
Think About It: Fear of the Lord is not a negative state; it has benefits. What are the benefits of fearing the Lord according to Psalm 25:12 – 15? How can I demonstrate in my thoughts and actions that I fear the Lord?
Prayer: Lord, I desire to give you the reverence and awe that are due to You.
Read: Psalm 25:5 – 14
The person who walks in the path of the upright, who looks to the Lord, who fears, reverences, and lives in awe of God, who calls to God when in times of distress, that person will learn to know who God is, and what God does. David’s knowledge of God is woven into the fabric of Psalm 25.
Think About It: What words does David use in Psalm 25:5 – 15 that describe who God is? What words does he use that reveal what God does? When and how have I experienced God doing some of those things for me?
Prayer: Lord, thank You for being merciful; thank You for being my Friend.
Read: Psalm 25:2, 19 – 20; Ephesians 6:11 – 18; 1 Peter 5:8; Romans 8:31 – 39; 1 John 4:4
We should not imagine that walking in the path of the upright means a life free of conflict. David was acutely aware that he had enemies. In his early years he lived the life of an outlaw pursued by Saul and his army. When David came to the throne he fought his enemies in the surrounding nations until he had conquered them all. In his later years his enemies were found among his trusted friends and in his own household. The threatening reality of human opposition may obscure the identity of our real foes. The person who walks in the path of the upright knows the reality of the enemy and understands that life involves spiritual warfare.
Think About It: Who is the enemy? What is the enemy seeking to do to Christians? How do I go about fighting the spiritual battle? How can I be assured of victory in that battle?
Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for the overwhelming victory that You have won for me.