Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O Lord. — Psalm 25:7
In that lovely season when the warmth of summer cools to autumn, there eventually comes a time when the tomato plants catch a fatal chill. The fruit left on the vine turns to mushy, soft globs — and those globs are quite tantalizing to young boys.
One beautiful fall Sunday, as my parents took a Sunday afternoon snooze, my brothers gave in to the temptation those tomatoes presented. The fruit was still firm enough to throw, but not so firm as to cause any damage…or so they thought.
There was a garden across the country road from our house, but out of sight behind a row of lilac bushes. Now and then, people on Sunday afternoon drives would pass our house, and on that afternoon, several of them were likely surprised to see tomato missiles fly over the lilacs toward their cars. As a girl, I was not inclined to toss the mushy softballs, but I remember watching my brothers with a mixture of worry and awe. It became a memorable day.
As one nice car came down the hill behind our house, a tomato flew over the hedge. Usually the boys could hear a “plop” when the missile hit its target, but this was one of those disappointing ones with no sound. In just a minute, however, all of us were horrified to see the car backing up the road. It stopped at our house, and a very unhappy man got out to have a chat. It seemed that his wife’s window had been open to catch some fresh air, and her lap caught a very mushy tomato! Needless to say, Dad’s nap was shorter than usual, and as a result, my brothers were sorrier than usual. They had to apologize to the couple and clean up their car. As you can imagine, that was the end of tomato bombs!
While we may never have engaged in flinging overripe fruit at passing cars, every one of us can look back on youthful misdemeanors that we would rather forget. In our focus verse, the psalmist David prayed that the “sins” and “transgressions” of his youth would not be held against him. The word translated sins in this passage refers to the thoughtless failures and offenses of youth, while transgressions literally means “rebellions” and denotes willful and deliberate offenses, perhaps of later years. Thankfully, the mercy and grace of God are sufficient to cover both! David knew that, and he pleaded with the Lord on the basis of His goodness of character, to remember him rather than his misdeeds.
How grateful we should be for the loving-kindness of our God! Like David, let us look to the Lord with confidence and thank Him that the sins of the past, once repented of and forgiven, are covered by His tender mercies. We can move forward, assured that our past misdeeds need not affect our present determination to walk closely with God.
Many Bible scholars group this psalm with Psalms 22 and 23, viewing them as a trilogy depicting three roles of Jesus Christ: Savior, Shepherd, and Sovereign. It was written by David, most likely as a liturgical chorus to be sung by the people of Israel as they accompanied the return of the Ark of the Covenant from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of Jerusalem (see 2 Samuel 6:12-17; 1 Chronicles 15:25-29). It may have been sung antiphonally, with one choir asking the questions and a second choir responding with the appropriate answers. The psalm follows a similar theme as Psalm 68, which is superscribed “A prayer at the removing of the ark,” and the psalm in 1 Chronicles 16:7-36, which was written to thank the Lord for the Ark’s return. This theme is also found in Psalm 15, 30, 87, and 132.
Sometimes referred to as “The Ascension Psalm,” this song is generally considered as a prophetic view of Christ after His victory over death and sin, and His ultimate sovereignty over all. It can be divided into two main sections: verses 1-6 describe the character of true worship, and verses 7-10 describe the crowning of the King.
Psalm 25 is a prayer of David. It is often classified as a wisdom psalm, and is the second of the seven penitential psalms. Also, it is one of nine psalms written in acrostic form, in which each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. (In this psalm, there are minor modifications from the pattern.)
The theme is a cry to God for forgiveness of sin and help in a time of affliction. The psalm begins with a prayer (verses 1-7), the second stanza (verses 8-15) is a contemplation of the goodness of God, and the concluding section (verses 16-21) is once again a petition. The closing verse (22) does not fit into the alphabetical sequence, so some commentators suggest that this concluding prayer was inserted during the time of Israel’s captivity.
Psalm 26, like Psalms 25, 27, and 28, is simply titled “of David.” Commentators debate its setting and form; some consider it an individual lament, while others suggest it was used as a liturgy upon entrance into the place of worship. It is a plea in which David, in confidence of his integrity, asked God for vindication from a false accusation. The psalmist began with a presentation of his case (verses 1-5), moved to a promise of worship (verses 6-8), requested protection (verses 9-10), and closed with a statement of assurance (verses 11-12).
David’s opening petition, “Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity,” has the tone of a formal oath of innocence. The psalmist’s expressed intent to “wash [his] hands” (verse 6) was a ceremonial act signifying purity or innocence. The “bloody men” in verse 9 referenced bloodthirsty and violent evildoers such as assassins, murderers, etc.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. Book I (1:1 — 41:13)
II. Book II (42:1 — 72:20)
III. Book III (73:1 — 89:52)
IV. Book IV (90:1 — 106:48)
V. Book V (107:1 — 150:6)
Once we repent of our sins, God covers them with His grace and never remembers them against us again. How grateful we should be for His mercy and loving-kindness toward us!