349 – Psalm 25 – Master Wordsmith

Psalm 25:16-22 (NKJV)

           16       Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me,

    For I am desolate and afflicted.

           17       The troubles of my heart have enlarged;

    Bring me out of my distresses!

           18       Look on my affliction and my pain,

    And forgive all my sins.

           19       Consider my enemies, for they are many;

    And they hate me with cruel hatred.

           20       Keep my soul, and deliver me;

    Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You.

           21       Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,

    For I wait for You.

           22       Redeem Israel, O God,

    Out of all their troubles!


King David was a skillful wordsmith. He was a clear communicator and spoke what was on his heart. David was not worried he might sound weak if he poured his heart out to YHWH. He knew it was better to demonstrate himself as a weak man while leaning on a powerful God. He didn’t shrink back from who he was, he confessed it to YHWH and subsequently the nation as he made his songs a matter of public worship. He live by example before the Israelites. You might say his life was an open book that was eventually laid open in God’s Holy book.

Reading through Psalm twenty-five again I noticed all the negative words in David’s life between verses sixteen and nineteen. Take note, David is not just complaining here, he is petitioning YHWH for His intervention – he needs help. Have you ever experienced desolation or loneliness, growing troubles, distress, affliction, pain, been guilty of sin, and hated by an enemy all at the same time?? That’s exactly what David was experiencing in Psalm twenty-five. 

I’m fascinated by the Psalmist’s choice of words in verse sixteen, “Turn Yourself to me…”. Now we know that YHWH God is a Spirit, which means David couldn’t see Him. The earthly king had no way of knowing which way God was turned. I’m sure David was speaking metaphorically. His plea was for YHWH to take notice of David and his plight. When David says “Turn Yourself…”, could it be that David is acknowledging that no one can make YHWH do anything? If YHWH is to turn His attention to anything it’s because He wants to do it. 

David certainly wants YHWH to be aware of his dire situation but more than that He begs mercy from His hand. In verse eighteen David wants deliverance from his affliction and pain and he wants YHWH to forgive Him of all his sins. I find myself wondering how often I ask YHWH to forgive my sins while I’m asking for deliverance from some overwhelming flood of trials going on in my life.

I would venture to say if we have unconfessed sin in our lives while we are going through trials we aren’t really praying to God for deliverance. We are more than likely engaged in complaining instead of praying. I know there have been many times in my life when I wondered why YHWH hasn’t answered my prayer only to discover I never really prayed. I just complained to other believers and called that prayer.

Sin just plain gets in the way! It gets between us and our prayer time with YHWH. Unconfessed sin opens the floodgates of complaining and is the most effective way to shut down our worship. Just like David, our affliction and pain is real. Let’s confess our sins and ask YHWH to forgive them so that nothing is standing between us and our Lord. What would happen if we daily prayed ten things David prayed? 

  1. YHWH Turn Yourself to me
  2. YHWH Have mercy on me
  3. YHWH Bring me out of my distresses
  4. YHWH Look on my affliction and pain
  5. YHWH Forgive all my sin
  6. YHWH Keep my soul
  7. YHWH Deliver me
  8. YHWH Let me not be ashamed
  9. YHWH Let integrity and uprightness preserve me
  10. YHWH Redeem Israel

You will undoubtedly notice the first nine items were things David asks for himself and the last one is what He asks YHWH to do for Israel. David needs YHWH to do for him what he cannot do for himself. But I would be remiss if I didn’t point out David’s responsibility in his relationship with YHWH. Firstly, David willingly prayed (vs. 1) laying his troubles at the feet of YHWH. David trusted in YHWH (vs. 2). Secondly, in verse 15, David stayed consistent in looking to YHWH. And lastly, in verse 21 David set his heart, “For I wait for You”.

Prayer, trusting YHWH, and waiting for Him are not formulas but they are relationship principles we should practice on a regular basis. YHWH truly is worthy of all Praise, Worship, and Adoration.

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