The humble man acknowledges he has no claim on God but that God has a total claim on him.
Sometimes in our pride, we come before God and demand our rights. The humble person knows he has no claim on God at all, that God would be perfectly within his right and perfectly consistent with his nature if he brought judgment to bear upon us and gave us no grace at all. The humble person knows he exists only because God initiated him and continues to perpetuate him.
How God relates to the humble person, we read in Psalm 25:9,10: “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant.”
The covenant was simply this: God takes the initiative and says to Abraham and his followers and his progeny, “I will be your God. I invite you to be My people. The only two things I ask of you is to love Me with all your heart and all your soul and all your might and all your strength, and your neighbor as yourself.” To amplify that, He gave them ten commandments.
Those are the demands that God puts upon His people.
They are designed to show that we love God and that we are prepared to humbly serve him.
The essence of our spiritual walk with the Lord is obedience.
David in his dark night of the soul comes before the Lord and reflects upon the fact that God has called him into covenant and is leading him into a life of obedience. There’s always the possibility that when we’re in the dark moments, we will slip into disobedience; there’s always the possibility that we will seek no longer to walk in the path he’s chosen for us – which, of course, is the next thing that David talks about.
Look in verse 12: “Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.” To fear the Lord is to reverence Him, to have an aspect of awe that is transformed into a lifestyle fitting the way chosen for you.
Do we believe that? I wonder about myself sometimes. Do you believe that if you’ve come into a relationship with the living God through Jesus; that you’ve been saved by grace through faith, in order that you might fit into the pattern of good works that God has planned for you? Even in your loneliness, even in the dark night of the soul, when your troubles are multiplied, do you honestly believe that you’re actually walking through a path the Lord has chosen for you with good intentions? Believe it!
David knows what to do in this time of intense disappointment and discouragement. He knows he will spend his days in prosperity and his descendants will inherit the land.
That means that he will begin to know in the practical aspects of life the blessing of God. In verse 14 he says, “The LORD confides in those who fear him.” That means literally that they’re invited into God’s inner circle.
Think of that – at the time of our loneliness, at the time when we’re in total turmoil, we can turn from our solitude and commune with the Lord. We discover the secrets of the Lord.
We discover access to his inner circle.
If we are able to practice solitude that allows us to reflect on the Lord and what He says, and if we make that a prime factor in our day, we will begin to discover the communion of the inner circle of the Lord. That’s how we handle the inner turmoil of the soul.
David reveals his troubled feelings. I’m sure many of us will relate to his feelings of great need. “Turn to me and be gracious to me.” In other words, “Lord, I feel so inadequate. Help me turn this to good.”
St. John of the Cross said that grief and loneliness are “the knocks and rappings at the door of your soul in order that it might love more, for they cause more prayer and spiritual sighs to God.”
I read once about a man whose father encouraged him to pray.
He said, ” I am so discouraged and depressed. I can’t pray.”
His father said, “Just groan. Just groan.”
The Spirit of God can take these inner groanings and translate them in the mind of God, and he will be gracious to us. At the moment of our deepest need,we need to recognize the knocking and rapping on the door of our soul inviting us into a deeper communion with the living God.
David reveals feelings of tension in verse 17 & 18: “The troubles of my heart have multiplied.” So much is going on in his heart that he feels it’s going to burst. Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins.”
That’s the third time David talk about his sin in Psalm 25. Maybe there is sin we’re harboring. Maybe there is sin that we have not admitted. Maybe there is sin that we’re intent on continuing.
David is saying we need to deal with the sin to overcome loneliness. Sin is the blockage. Sin is the hindrance to enjoying communion with God. Sin is why we don’t find our souls filled at the moments of extremity.
Maybe David is onto something here. Maybe he needed to say it 3 times before he would get around to admitting the real problem: “There’s stuff going on that has gone on for a long, long time; and I’ve known it shouldn’t, and I know it should stop. I’ve grumbled that my spiritual life wasn’t what it might be. I have felt deprived. I have felt that these things were far inferior to what I might long for, but I’ve hung on to this cherished sin.” I can relate. Can you?
Here is a good prayer for us to pray when we are depressed and lonely: “… take away all my sins. See how my enemies have increased and how fiercely they hate me! Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.”