The Word Made Fresh
1I give my life to you, LORD.
2I place my trust in you.
Don’t let me be put to shame.
Don’t allow my enemies to boast over me.
3Don’t let those who wait for you be ashamed.
Let those be ashamed who are openly deceitful.
4Allow me to know your ways, LORD.
Show me the path you would have me walk.
5Lead me in your true ways and teach me.
You are the God who has rescued me,
and I wait for you all day long.
6Remember that you are merciful, LORD, and that your love holds on.
For your love and mercy have been there forever.
7Don’t hold me responsible for the mistakes I made in my youth.
Remember instead your constant love for me
because of your goodness, LORD.
8The LORD is good and right,
and teaches sinners the way they should live.
9The LORD leads those who are humble in the right paths,
and teaches them the ways of the LORD.
10All the ways of the LORD are paved with constant love and faithfulness
for all those who embrace the LORD’s promises and decrees.
11For the sake of your name, LORD, pardon my sins which are many.
12Everyone who fears the LORD
will be taught by the LORD how they should live.
13They will live in safety,
and their children will possess the land after them.
14All who fear the LORD will be the LORD’s friends,
and the LORD’s promises will be made known to them.
15I always turn my eyes toward the LORD,
and my feet are set free from every trap.
16Turn to me, LORD, and be good to me,
for I am alone and troubled.
17Grant me relief from my troubled heart,
and rescue me from my distress.
18Look at all my problems and forgive all my sins.
19Do you see how many enemies I have,
and how they hate me with terrible hatred?
20Guard my life and rescue me!
Do not let me be ashamed – I seek safety in you!
21Let my honesty and decency keep me safe
while I wait for you!
22Rescue Israel, O God, from all its troubles.
Superscription: the 22nd Psalm “of David.”
1-3: A common theme of the Davidic psalms: a hymn of trust in God during times of facing opposition. The “enemy” of which the psalmist is concerned cannot be identified, although a hint is given that the enemy is not a worshiper of the LORD. In our use of the psalm in worship or in prayer the enemy may be thought of as a situation in which we have found ourselves.
4-5: The psalmist prays for God’s will to be revealed, confident that God wills the salvation of those who wait on God.
6-7: The psalmist prays that God’s mercy will outweigh God’s wrath; that God will judge according to divine steadfast love and not according to the letter of the Law.
8-10: These verses seem to indicate that the psalmist is not entirely sure of his track record but is sure that God is willing to give instruction to sinners who wish to amend their ways.
11-12: That God should forgive him for God’s name’s sake is an indication that the psalmist is a person of high standing in the faith community. When one who is entrusted with the spiritual well-being of the people fails, the public often sees that as an indictment of that leader’s faith and by extension an indictment of his or her God.
13-15: The psalmist is penitent, certain of God’s favorable response, and certain of God’s continued favor in the future, even to the next generation.
16-18: Again, we see the combined prayer that God will take care of him and forgive him – not too different from the petitions in the Lord’s Prayer.
19-21: The last verses repeat the themes developed in the first part of the psalm – danger from enemies, the fear of being shamed, trust in God, and patient waiting for God to act.
20: The prayer is extended from the individual to the nation.
David knew that he was not perfect, that he had made mistakes in his life. But he never hesitated to put himself in God’s hands, trusting that God would guide and protect him from enemies without and within. Nothing we have done or said is beyond God’s knowledge, and no mistake we have made is beyond God’s love and forgiveness. But we have to ask! Acknowledging our mistakes and asking God to forgive us places us under God’s authority and is the first step toward returning to God’s favor.