Lonely? Psalm 25 day 2

I’m blogging about beating lonliness by paying attention to David’s experience recorded in Psalm 25.

Even though he is feeling desperately alone the psalmist reaffirms his faith. He believes the Lord is worthy of his trust: “To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God.”  This lonely man reaffirms one fundamental thing.  He is unequivocally convinced that the Lord is worthy of his trust.

“Do not let me be put to shame,” says the psalmist.

To paraphrase: “Don’t let me be embarrassed, Lord, by the fact that I trust you. Plenty of people look at my circumstances and say, ‘Where is your God?’. They’re going to delight in the opportunity to increase my loneliness, Lord. Do not let me be embarrassed. Don’t let me down.”

He goes on to say, “Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me our paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”

He believes the Lord shows the way to those who are willing to follow.  He firmly believes that the Lord guides into truth all those who are willing to learn.  He is absolutely convinced that the Lord delivers from trouble all those who trust him.

Yet in this dark night of the soul, as St. John of the Cross would describe it, he has to remind himself of these things because the darkness comes flooding in.  Maybe if he’s not careful, he’ll lose sight of what he truly believes.

He also believes that the Lord is merciful: ” Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD.”  He believes the Lord is merciful because he’s proven himself over and over and over again in the past.

David is a member of the covenant people which means he understands that God has chosen Israel to be his unique people.  God chose Abraham.  God chose that out of Abraham would come a people for himself through whom all the nations of the world would be blessed.  He took an initiative and established a covenant with these people, and he had been merciful to them.  They had gone down into Egypt, but he led them out.  They had wandered in the wilderness, but he provided for them.  He had taken them into the Promised Land and defeated all their enemies.  He had given them riches they didn’t earn.  He had given them bountiful crops they couldn’t grow.  The Lord had proven himself merciful over and over again.

In the dark night of his soul, in his loneliness, in the intense inner turmoil of his heart, David reflects on the fact that God has proven himself merciful.  This is what we have to do.

He also remembers that the Lord is merciful to forgive the repentant.

Isn’t it interesting that when he’s concerned about his loneliness, when he’s distraught, he is concerned about the sins of his youth: “Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways.” I have no doubt that he’s confessed these things many times and realizes the damage they have done to his own life.  He’s come before the Lord and sought the Lord’s forgiveness in them.  But in the dark night of his soul, the Evil One is reminding him of these things.  And he says, “Lord, remember not those things. As far as the east is from the west, remove my sins from me.”

When you’re down, the devil is no gentleman.  He’ll kick you.

One of the ways he’ll kick you is to remind you of all the things you impulsively do while you’re young.  Even if you’ve confessed and been forgiven for them all, he’ll go on dragging them up.  He’ll say, “The reason you’re in this fix is because of all the bad stuff you did in the past.”

Jill Briscoe, a Christian speaker and writer, recounted this imaginary conversation with the Lord: “Lord, do you remember that awful thing I did?”

God said, “No.”

She said, “Lord, you absolutely must remember this.”

The Lord said, “Listen, you are perfectly free to go on remembering that. I have chosen to remember it no more.”

And that, of course, is what forgiveness is all about.

The psalmist is being convicted again.  He’s been reminded.

He needs to ask the Lord to be merciful again. He says, in effect, “Please assure me at this time of my intense inner turmoil, of my loneliness, of my affliction. Assure me that I still matter; I’m still significant; you still have something in mind for me.” It’s a healthy thing to know where to turn to reaffirm our faith.

Let me tell you one of the most important truths about overcoming lonliness.  In the midst of loneliness and turmoil we need to hold to these three beliefs:

  1. The Lord is worthy of trust.
  2. The Lord knows what is best and is working what is good in our lives.
  3. The Lord is merciful.

Ignore evidence to the contrary and hold to these affirmations during the dark night of the soul!

In verses 8-15, the psalmist takes time to reflect on the Lord in two ways:  He reflects on how the Lord interacts with sinners and how he interacts with those he calls “the humble.”

“{8} Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.” 

How does the Lord relate to sinners?  The two words used to describe the Lord gives us the key here: “Good and upright is the LORD.”

Because the Lord is upright, because he is righteous, because He is pure and holy, He is separate from sin and cannot look upon iniquity.  Because He is upright, he cannot ignore sin.  Because He is good, He can forgive sin.  We must always hold those two truths in tension. 

David imagines that his sin may have brought on this dark time, but he also reflects on how the Lord relates to the humble.  The humble knows that he has no claim on God but that God has a total claim on him!

We’ll start with that principle tomorrow.  In the meanwhile, don’t let Satan trick you into thinking that God doesn’t care about you because nothing could be farther from the truth.

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One thought on “Lonely? Psalm 25 day 2”

  1. This couldn’t have come at a time when I needed it more. I look forward to reading the rest of this series, and I thank God for putting you and this message in my life when I needed it most.

    Like

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