You know I'm a fan of psalms set to music. Sometimes the melodies and the rhythms so capture the heart of the psalmists prayer that you not only think about the lyrics, but you actually sense the joy or the pain or the anguish the psalmist is singing about.
And sometimes it doesn't work out that way. Sometimes the melodies and the rhythms totally miss the point of the psalm.
Back in the 70s, we used to sing a song set to words from Psalm 25. It was a happy song, and honestly a little monotonous. So we clapped and sang it pretty fast. And we totally missed David's heart on this one.
And it's a shame because this psalm, written while David is feeling "lonely and afflicted" (verse 16) captures David's longing for God's presence and offers a declaration of trust.
It makes sense to read the psalm from beginning to end, where David sings about God's character and his promises to those who trust him, but it's important not to miss the last part of the chapter. This is where David sings about what's going on in his life at this time.
Take a look at verses 17-22. Here's my paraphrase of this passage:
Things just keep getting worse, God. Help me!
Do you see what's going on? Do you see my pain? Do you see how my enemies hate me?
No one cares. Please protect me . . . guard my life.
Is this punishment for my sin? Please forgive me. I only want to serve you . . .
Please, God, hear me. Guard me. Rescue me.
Please do not shame me.
My hope is in you. Because without you, there is no hope.
And so David lifts up his soul to the one who sees him, who loves him, who protects him, who guides him, who forgives him. It's in his distress that he sings this song:
To you, and you alone, O Lord, do I lift up my soul, do I surrender my entire being.
I trust you to do what's right. I place my life, my future, in your hands.
I know I'm not perfect, but my heart longs to please you. Forgive the sins of my youth. Forgive my sins now. You are merciful and good. Teach me your ways. Guide me in your truth.
You are loving and faithful.
Rescue me. Redeem the brokenness in my life.
Do not let me be put to shame.
I want to bring glory to you.
My eyes are fixed on you.
For you are my God, my Savior, and you are my hope. My only hope.
Our only hope.
The One who takes the messiness of our lives and redeems it.
The One who forgives us. Leads us. Instructs us.
The One who hears us.
No one whose hope is in Him will ever be put to shame.