Psalm 25 is one of the nine acrostic psalms. An acrostic psalm has a verse for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet and that verse begins with the corresponding Hebrew letter. This was a system designed to assist the student and the worshipper with memorization of the text. Assisting the worshipper with the ability to remember the content of the psalm would enable the worshipper to apply the principles of the psalm to their daily life. (Psalm 25 is missing two of the 23 Hebrew letters: waw, the 6th and qof, the 19th letter).
In the opening two verses David establishes that he is:
- Waiting on the Lord
- Has lifted his soul up to the Lord
- Has trusted in the Lord because David knows God’s character, covenant love and God’s previous acts of deliverance (25:6)
Although David has sinned in the past (25:7, 18) he is different from the enemies who resist God’s counsel and truth, and instead, refuse to walk in his ways (25:3). Instead, David asks to be taught by the Lord (25:4) and seeks to know the Lord’s ways (25:4).
Friendship (or, counsel) with the Lord is David’s hope (25:14), so he steadily gazes (25:15) as he:
- Waits for the Lord (25:1-5)
- Seeks the Lord (25:4)
- Expects deliverance to come from the Lord (25:6, 15)
Deliverance will be “repose” (Hebrew “talin”, 25:13) which means “peace”, “sleep” and “good things” in this life for David and the inheritance of the earth for David’s next generation.
Life sets many “traps” or “nets” which come from a Hebrew word referring to traps set for small animals. But, David has turned to steadily gaze at the Lord. Now, the Lord needs to “turn to” the psalmist David and “be gracious.” David is waiting for help based on God’s mercy. He is alone and in need of friendship wit God. He is afflicted and in need of God’s salvation.
There are two problems:
- Affliction, trouble and enemies from the world (25:18-19)
- Sins from David’s own human weakness
David needs the Lord’s intervention for deliverance. This deliverance is based on the Lord’s graciousness (25:16) and on David’s constant looking to the Lord for help (25:15)