When we consider the right decisions that we need to make each day, there are countless opportunities for God to shine brightly in the shadowed uncertainties we face. Yet, for those of us who seek to honor Him, we are forever confronted with the fear of the unknown and the challenge of circumstances beyond our ability to manage. It’s a lot like every day for me.
So, in the final few verses of David’s psalm, we hear a cry to the Father from the heart of His own. It’s our cry each morning when we consider the challenges that each new day presents.
1. Turn to me, O Lord! God promised the Messiah who would come to bring good news to the poor. The dawning of Christmas is the in-breaking of God’s gospel into the world of people who are destitute and in need of help. We hear this prayer of the “poor” ring out from the pen of the psalmist.
“Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, For I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have enlarged; Bring me out of my distresses! Look on my affliction and my pain, And forgive all my sins. Consider my enemies, for they are many; And they hate me with cruel hatred. Keep my soul, and deliver me; Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You. (Psalm 25:16-21, NKJV)
The psalmist knew that he was in trouble, and he was at the place where he acknowledged his dire straits. For many of us, such a confession seems out of place in our lives. Rather than asking for an intimate encounter with God, we shrink from it. The gaze of His loving eyes would be too much for us. It would cause us to see ourselves too clearly. We would see without any shadow that we are truly in need, and that we cannot help ourselves out of our mess. As much as we try to acquit ourselves, God’s gaze would dismantle every loophole in our self-defense.
Perhaps we do not understand what it means to be “poor.” When the psalmist cried out for an intimate encounter with God, he understood that he was “desolate.” He was isolated and lonely. The “poor” are those who are alone. Consumed by their loneliness and isolation, they have no hope for intimate community.
The soul of the “poor” has shrunk into the corner of life because of internal distress and external struggle. They are afflicted. In some ways, this is a picture of the person who lives out their days unable and unwilling to move forward in life. They long for an escape, but they feel utterly powerless to navigate toward rescue because they are pummeled by the misery of their soul.
The poor have troubles that grow instead of shrink. The boundaries of their heart somehow expand to hold all the raging anxiety and anguish of life. While the tight places of their life become more and more confining, the cancer of fear and anxieties spreads maliciously through their heart. In the tight places of life, the “poor” see the marauding maladies of life and feel the weight of their plight.
Affliction and pain are combined forces that sweep the “poor” into an ever-increasing, chaotic vortex of misery. They are kept in the cage of internal distress and external struggle which leads to a lack of satisfaction in the daily routines of life’s day. In the misery of the soul, the work of the hands is filled with sorrow.
Sin comes into the description of the “poor.” Sin is the main force behind the affliction that the “poor” encounter. Sin is our greatest enemy! The grief and the pain that dominates the soul of the “poor” with a destructive force is sin’s bitter fruit.
Added to the overwhelming dirge of life-eating struggle for the “poor” is the hatred and hostility that permeates their life. Their heart was the playground for anxiety, but their enemies also jumped into the fray, hammering them with the fiery flames of hate.
This is the life of the “poor.” Isolated and alone, they feel powerless to manage life’s struggles. The noose around their soul strangles their hopes as their anxieties go on a feeding frenzy, devouring any remnant of peace in the heart. Sin delivers the permeating and pummeling pain of shame, robbing them from even small joys in daily work and life. Hostility and hatred team up to ram them with condemnation.
For the “poor” to find help and hope, they need God’s intervening love and favor. So, the psalmist cries out for God to stoop toward Him to rescue him. The prayer of the “poor” is for God’s intimate presence to shelter us, and for His favor to saturate our soul with His power. The answer to this prayer is realized in the coming of Jesus Christ, who is God’s favor in flesh and bone.
2. Deliver me, O Lord! Our heart must cry out for the Lord to keep hold of our life and bring the victory. When we trust in the Lord, we can be confident that He will deliver us. He will consider our life consumed for His honor and seeking His path for living. God’s faithfulness is forever foremost in our hearts. And we wait for Him to move with power in our lives.
The hope of our heart is God’s work of redemption and deliverance. Because He is faithful, we cry out with confidence for His deliverance. And God delivers! When the sun sneaks across the horizon and blazes its course across the sky, we can live with the confident assurance that we will make the right decisions when we live for God’s honor and fame each day.