(Extracted from Scripture Truth Vol. 42, 1965-7, pages 269-71)
The Twenty-fifth Psalm describes the experiences of a believer who is opposed by enemies that are eager to triumph over him (2); who seek to entrap his feet (15), and hate him with cruel and relentless hatred (19). He feels his desolation and is troubled in heart in the presence of the distresses by which he is surrounded (17).
In these circumstances his experiences take a three-fold form. First, he commits himself wholly to God, to be sustained and taught in the ways of God (1-7). Secondly, he comforts his soul by dwelling upon all that God is for those who fear Him (8-14). Thirdly, he spreads out before God his troubles and calls down the eye of God upon himself, his circumstances, and his enemies (15-22),
TRUST IN GOD
(Verses 1-3). The believer overcomes all his difficulties by implicit trust in the LORD. He does not, as one has said, take "the smallest step for the injury of his enemy, but he refers his case to Jehovah, and leaves it in His hands, looking for His deliverance". Committing himself to the LORD he can say, "Let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me". At times, in the presence of opposition and insults, we trust in ourselves, and our efforts, to avenge insults and crush opposers, only to find that we expose ourselves to shame and the triumph of our enemies. But, says the Psalmist, "Let none that wait on thee be ashamed".
(Verses 4, 5). Having found rest in committing himself, and his circumstances, to the LORD, he now desires to see Jehovah's ways; to be taught His paths, and to be led in the truth. Oftentimes, believers tend to be over-occupied with the evil ways of men, the crooked paths they tread, and the errors they teach. But God has His ways to guide the conduct of His people, His paths for their feet to tread, and His truth wherewith to instruct them. Our great concern should be to see His ways, to be taught His paths, and, not only to know the truth, but to be led in the truth. For such knowledge we shall need to be continually waiting upon God as the Psalmist can say, "On Thee do I wait all the day."
(Verses 6, 7). The thought of God's ways reminds the believer of his own ways, often so contrary to God's. This leads to the confession of sins, and to the believer casting himself upon the tender mercies and loving-kindness of the LORD.
DELIGHT IN GOD
(Verse 8) Dwelling upon God's ways and paths and truth, leads the Psalmist to delight in God. He has confessed his sins, but realising that God is "good and upright", he has confidence that He will teach even a sinner His way.
(Verse 9). If then the LORD is good and upright there must be a right condition of soul to appreciate God's ways, to walk in His paths and learn His truth. It is the meek that God will guide, and "the meek will He teach His way". How often we can miss the guidance and teaching of the LORD through our vanity and self-importance, but the acknowledgement of sin, and the realisation of the goodness of God leads to a spirit of meekness which gets the guidance of the LORD, and light as to His way with a right judgment as to good and evil.
(Verse 10). Moreover, every step we take in the paths of the LORD will be marked by mercy, and according to truth, for those who obey the word, that "keep His covenant and His testimonies".
(Verse 11). Realising the mercy and truth of the LORD the soul can be thoroughly open with God. It does not seek to excuse or minimise its sins; on the contrary, it can say, "Pardon mine iniquity for it is great". The flesh would seek to excuse sin and say, "Pardon mine iniquity for it is small". Only the knowledge that there is grace to meet all the sin, will enable us to own the greatness of our sin. It was the exceeding abundance of the grace that met Paul that enabled him to own that he was the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:14, 15).
(Verses 12-14). The acknowledgement of sin and the realisation of the goodness of God, not only leads to meekness, but to the fear of God. A God-fearing man is one who walks in the conscious sense of being in the presence of God, and who owns his responsibility to God. Such will not only have moral discernment between right and wrong, but will discern the path that God marks out for His people in the midst of the surrounding darkness and confusion. The secret of the LORD is with them that fear Him. He gives such to know His mind. They will see clearly that God has promised blessing for His people which will surely be fulfilled however difficult the day and however great the confusion and opposition.
Thus we learn that the condition of soul that is needed to see God's way, to be taught His paths, and to be led in His truth will be found in the one who confesses his sin (8); who is marked by meekness (9); who obeys the word (10), and who walks in the fear of the LORD (12). The flesh is in us and, unless judged and refused, will lead us to justify ourselves rather than confess our sins; will lead to self-importance and self-assertion rather than meekness; will act in self-will rather than obey the word, and has no fear of God.
ALL UNDER THE EYE OF GOD
(Verses 15-18). From the midst of all his trials the believer looks to God and trusts in the One who is above all. He can say, "Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD". Looking up to the LORD he asks the LORD to look down upon his afflictions, the troubles of his heart and his . . . distressing circumstances.
(Verse 19). Further he asks the LORD to consider his enemies and their cruel hatred. He does not ask the LORD to judge them. To call down judgment upon our enemies may also call down the chastening rod upon ourselves. Far better to spread all before the LORD, and leave the LORD to act according to His perfect wisdom. In this spirit the Apostles acted. In New Testament days, when in the presence of their enemies, they did not invoke the judgment of the LORD, but simply brought their trial before the LORD. "Now Lord, behold their threatenings."
(Verses 20-22). Realising that everything in himself, his circumstances, and his enemies is under the eye of the LORD, he can quietly leave everything with the LORD, trusting in Him to keep his soul, while waiting the time when the LORD will redeem His people from all their troubles.