346 – Psalm 25 – Remember and Forget?

Psalm 25:6-7 (NKJV)

           6       Remember, O [YHWH], Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses,

    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 [YHWH].

You may “remember” one of the things to observe in the Bible study method Observation, Interpretation, Application (OIA) is to note repeating words or phrases in the passage being studied. The word “remember” appears three times in verses six and seven of Psalm twenty-five. I find it fascinating that all three occurrences are about YHWH God remembering (or not) something. Why would David be petitioning YHWH to remember some things and NOT to remember other things? Is this petition really about YHWH’s memory?

In an attempt to answer the question let’s explore the glosses in the Hebrew word for remember. All three occurrences of the word “remember” in Psalm 25 are from the Hebrew verbal root “zkr”. The form of the verb in verse six and the last “remember” in verse seven share one form and the first “remember” of verse seven is a little different form. However, according to Logos Bible Software, the glosses are the same. The range of possible meanings is “name, mention, remember; take to court, make known, profess, praise”. 

After studying the word “remember” I am confident David is not talking about YHWH’s memory at all. David’s request is for YHWH to deal with David according to YHWH’s own attributes and not David’s laundry list of affronts (sins/transgressions) against YHWH. If you stop and think about it David’s petition in verses six and seven puts YHWH at the center of the encounter and moves David and his failings out of focus. If YHWH deals with David not according to David’s sins but according to YHWH’s goodness then YHWH gets the glory! However, make no mistake, David is fully aware that a “yes” answer to such a prayer spares David from punishment at the hand of a righteous God.

As faithful practitioners of the OIA Bible Study Method, we should also call out the contrast David provides between YHWH’s “tender mercies”, “lovingkindness”, and “goodness” and David’s “sins” and “transgressions”. YHWH is good, but David is not. There is a truth here not bound by culture or time. YHWH is good, but all of mankind is not. We require YHWH’s merciful dealings if we are to escape the eternal punishment for our sins. 

Although we are not yet at the end of this short Psalm verse eight is a beautiful conclusion to verses six and seven. Instead of punishing the sinner YHWH teaches him! How good is God??

Psalm 25:8 (NKJV)

           8       Good and upright is [YHWH];

    Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.

Is that true of every sinner? Does YHWH teach all sinners instead of punishing them? No, absolutely not. Who then are the sinners that escape YHWH’s righteous wrath? Consider the following.

Romans 5:6-10 (NKJV)

           6       For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 

           7       For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 

           8       But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 

           9       Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 

           10       For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 

John 3:16-18 (NKJV)

           16       For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 


           17       For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

           18       “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 

The only way to escape the wrath of YHWH God is to believe in Jesus the Christ! YHWH has chosen to have His own goodness as the focus in His relationship with man, if man will simply place His faith in the one and only savior Jesus.

YHWH truly is good. He deserves your affection.


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