“To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me,.. for you I wait all the day long. Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love... Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD! Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great. Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose. The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net… Forgive all my sins. Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.” Psalm 25:1,4-9,11-12,14-15,18,20-21
This psalm of David, a lifting of his soul to his Covenant LORD, is an intricate blend of seeking God’s mercy and guidance, His forgiveness and preservation. Even addressing His God is possible because of His mercy; gratitude for the mercy awakens further need, and multiplies trust in God’s goodness. David’s confidence is bound up in his high view of God, his utter dependence on His cleansing and guarding of the very soul he lifts. David’s ‘waiting’ on the LORD is an active turning of his soul’s deep needs to the One Who can meet them. (Psalm 103:7-8)
When we lift our souls in prayer, in claimed dependence on our Covenant-Keeper, we always come on the basis of His mercy to us, and it is good to renew that confession of known sin, and belief, as people of flesh. As His beloved friends, we also ask for instruction, guidance for our daily paths, decisions, opportunities, needs. The two are ever-intertwined, our need for mercy, our need for help, and it is our gracious, bountiful God’s delight and nature to dole out both. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Do I strut to the God of the universe with only my list of wants, perhaps needs, and make demands? Or do I humbly kneel, with an overwhelming sense of thankfulness for the torn curtain, the way of access He has made for me, His fresh mercies, His Spirit’s conviction of sin and removal of guilt? Do I come to the altar aware of my flesh’s proclivity to strange affections, pleading for cleansing so I can listen and understand His ways? And with right balance, am I then bold to get up and stand in His mercy, and desperately, confidently seek His counsel, provision, protection for the day ahead? (Lamentations 3:22-23; Mark 15:38; John 16:8-11)
Father, You have made the mysterious way to Your throne open to me, and I gratefully come. Please keep me ever dependent of Your powerful mercies, even as I lift my soul and wait for Your truth and direction.