Show Me, Guide Me, Teach Me - Psalm 25
David is facing some very difficult and troubled times. He describes his emotional state in Verses 16 – 18 as: lonely, afflicted, distressed, and feelings of guilt. He is wondering if something he has done has brought these troubles to the forefront. You might even say there is a sense of confusion, trying to figure out what God is doing.
While all of these emotions are stirring within him, David not only turns to God first… but realizes the answer to his questions, feelings and confusion are to be found in God doing three things to help him gain God’s perspective. His request is simple, yet profound as I would soon discover: “Show Me, Guide Me, Teach Me.”
4 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; 5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5 (NIV) Three very distinct requests: Show Me, Guide Me, Teach Me.
Show Me Thy Ways: The word in Hebrew translated show is yada. Most often translated as learn. It is the idea of learning by observing. Show me how you would do this Lord. Ways in the Hebrew is derek. It is most often translated as a road or path. David is asking God to show him by leading him down the road or path God wants him to take. He is seeking God’s perspective and will.
Have you ever tried to show someone something, but could not get their full attention? It is very frustrating! I asked myself: I wonder how many times God has felt a sense of frustration with me because I would not give Him my full attention. He had something He wanted to show me, but I was too busy moving on to the next thing… whatever that might be. What do we need to do to give God our full attention? Three things:
1. We need to stop and be still so we can wait long enough for God to be able to reveal his good and perfect perspective. In Psalm 46, David writes: “Be still and know that I am God.” Here the idea is to stop and discover. “Be still”, God says, “I want to show you something!”
2. We need to be silent. It is hard to listen when you are constantly talking. We need to become more interested in what God has to say than our own perspective and desires. We call this kind of listening “active listening.” A skill we all need.
3. We need to submit to God’s wisdom. God is actually wiser than we are! Just maybe the wisdom writer was correct when he wrote: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
If we are wise, we will join David and pray: “Show me your ways and teach me your paths.”
Next, David asks the Lord Guide Me in Your Truth. The KJV reads “Lead me in thy truth.” The NIV translates it as guide. Since the Hebrew word translated here is darak, which is usually translated tread or walk, the word “guide” grasps the concept. Peterson translates it this way in The Message: Take me by the hand; Lead me down the path of truth… Psalm 25:5 (MSG)
Remember how it was with Adam and Eve? Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. Genesis 2:8 (NIV) And before God confronted them with their sin, they heard the Lord coming toward them. Gen. 3:8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day (NIV). Just imagine what it must have been like to enjoy spending intimate time with God in the garden every day! God has always desired intimacy with us. Sin broke that intimacy… but through Jesus that intimacy has been restored, and once again we can walk with God and He will take us by the hand and guide us in the way of truth. Let me illustrate what it means to trust a guide.
I turned forty while pastoring Flagstaff First Church of the Nazarene. For my birthday, the men of the church got together and had a custom fishing rod made for me with my name on it. They hired a Colorado River guide to take us fishing for some of the largest trout you will ever find. I was privileged to ride in the lead boat with the guide. He was watching us as we paddled along with the flow of the river. We would look at spots and say, “This looks like a really good fishing hole!” He would smile and say, “Not yet.” In our anxiety to fish, we kept wanting to stop and get started casting for those trout. Again, he would say, “Not yet.” Finally, we came around a bend in the river where there was a large straight away with rocks and pools. He stopped rowing and said, “Now boys look off to your right and cast behind what you see. Let the river carry your bait or fly to the fish. I looked where he said, and saw some of the largest trout I had ever seen in my life! Amazing! He knew right where they would be. Maybe that is why he was the guide!
What does it take for us to let God guide us in His truth? It takes trust and a willingness to let God lead the way. The wisdom writer in Proverbs wrote: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart!” One cannot experience intimacy with God without trust and love. No wonder Jesus taught us to "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'…” Matthew 22:37-38 (NIV).
In our daily walk with the Lord, we can be assured that if we will rest our hands in His, He will make His truth (Heb. ‘emet) known to us. Vines Dictionary defines ‘emet as a contraction from ‘aman, which means stability. God knows what is true. In times of trouble, insecurity, confusion, despair, knowing what God would have us to understand and do, brings a sense of stability and confidence in the midst of our troubles. Paul wrote: But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (NIV) We may not always understand why we are going through a trial, but God sees the eternal perspective. He knows how much we can endure, and He knows that in the end our faith will increase and we will become more like Jesus as a result of going through this time of trial or suffering.
Let us join David and pray in the midst of our troubles: “Lord, guide me in Your truth!”
His third request is Teach Me: I find it interesting that the word translated teach lamad comes from the word which literally means to “goad.” Here in Texas, that brings up the image of a cattle prod. Webster defines goad as a pointed rod used to urge on an animal. For sheep that would be a shepherd’s staff. For donkeys and children that would be the rod. Sad, but we sometimes are resistant to doing things God’s way. Because we are his children, He sometimes has to discipline us for us to learn the error of our way. We learn that the prodding or goading of the Holy Spirit spurs us on to do God’s will. God provides the impulse, incentive and motive we need to follow the leadership of the Spirit and the Word. Paul says it this way, “His love compels us.” (2 Cor. 5:4 NIV)
The disciples came to Jesus and said, “Lord teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1 NIV) Luke says that this happened at a time when they saw and heard Jesus praying in a certain place. What Jesus taught them we refer to as the Lord’s prayer. That beautiful prayer that so many have memorized, contains Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. All good elements of prayer. But perhaps the most important thing for us to remember is that Jesus also taught them to pray: “Your will be done”. And how will we know the will of God? We will let him teach us, goad us, if necessary, until with an undivided heart we desire His will above all.
David would remind us that it only makes good sense to do this. He cries out, “You are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” If our hope truly is in God, then that means that when we pray, we have confidence that God is going to act in such a way that is for our good, and His glory! We pray with positive expectation. How many times have we gathered as faculty and been reminded to never forget the “God factor!”
We can testify individually and collectively as the NBC family; God came through with the answer to our need! Whatever it is we are facing, our hope is in God!
Let us then pray with David… “Lord teach me!”
Three simple requests: show me, guide me, teach me result in intimacy with God, wisdom from God, and an inner motivation to love God so much that we want what He wants more than anything else.
Today, let our prayer be: God show me, guide me and teach me. When that is the desire of our hearts, we will truly discover the abundant life that Jesus has promised to each of us.
Whatever the need may be. Do not let anything hold you back from experiencing the wisdom, grace and favor that God so desperately wants to bestow upon you. Paul reminds us: What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31-32 (NIV)
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)
We will experience immeasurable answers to our prayer if we will simply love and trust God enough to ask: Lord, please show me, guide me, teach me.
Praise His Holy Name!
Dr. James R. Russom
Show Me, Guide Me, Teach Me, Psalm 25
Recorded: Wednesday, August 4th, 2021 (Morning Service)
Dr. Jim Russom, Faculty and Director of Pastoral Ministries and Pastoral Leadership
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