Psalm 25:6-7 “Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD.:
As we approach Memorial Day weekend, it is important for us to consider not only how we remember the Lord but how He remembers us. A remembrance that is, thankfully, shaped by His mercy more than our sinfulness! Intentional supplication reminds us of this glorious truth and its implications in our day to day lives.
David confidently turned to the Lord for divine instruction and forgiveness from his iniquity because of His mercies for Israel. This psalm is a meditation on the character of God that prompts the humble to respond with confession and prayer. The psalm is an acrostic, as each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
Here are two ways that prayer helps us to regularly remember the A-Z of God’s mercy toward us:
Pray for God’s mercy to provide guidance. (1-10)
David stressed his confidence in turning to the Lord. He lifted up his soul to the Lord without shame, for none who trust and hope (vv. 5, 21) in the Lord will … be put to shame (v. 20), that is, they will have their prayers answered and their needs met. This contrasts with their enemies and the treacherous. David prayed first for instruction (vv. 4–5, 9, 12) and guidance (vv. 5, 9). He desired that God would show him His ways, including truth, and teach him His paths. Then he prayed for pardon (vv. 6–7). Based on God’s mercy and love, which had been known for ages, he prayed that the sins of his youth not be held against him. (Three times he prayed remember.)
Too often it is our shortcomings that not only define but direct us. Nothing could be further from God’s intentions as affirmed by his liberal mercies. I dare you to ask the following question: “What clarity could I have if all of my sins and rebellion were truly eliminated?” Through the blood of Jesus, you truly are free from an identity and inclinations that are defined by the “sins of your youth.” You can move forward in the “paths of mercy and truth” (v. 10) and age gracefully all because of the claimed mercies of such a memorable God! He is willing, according to verse 8, to “teach sinners in the way.” His way is still available even after you have gone your own way.
Pray for God’s mercy to provide revelation. (11-14)
The psalmist prayed for pardon for his great iniquity—for the sake of the Lord’s name (His revealed character). These verses contain another series of reflections by the psalmist. “What man is he that feareth the Lord?” Every man who fears the Lord shall be shown the way of obedience by the Lord. His soul shall dwell at ease, or rather in bliss, because he will keep the commandments of the Lord and know that he has lived righteously. His seed shall inherit the earth; that is, his posterity after him shall continue to prosper because of his righteousness. Here David described a person who fears the Lord: he is one in whom the Lord confides by revealing His covenant to him (v. 14) and instructing him. These statements remind the reader of several passages in the book of Proverbs. A person who fears the Lord (Prov. 1:7; 9:10; 15:33; 31:30) is instructed by the Lord’s Word.
This growing appreciation for the mercy of the Lord, when carefully developed through prayer, does not breed flippancy but fear toward the Lord. This fear produces a clarity about who is in charge and eliminates any thinking shaped by past rebellion to a God who longs to teach us with tender, abiding truth. The reason to precede any reading and reflection in God’s Word with prayer is truly free our hearts and minds from the blind spots/distortions caused by sin. Praying over the mercy of God allows His Spirit to enable us to “have the mind of God!”
How you think of God’s memory toward you is highly impactful in your relationship with Him. That would include how you follow His guidance and how you receive His revelation. Don’t stop praying for God’s merciful memory to remain at the forefront of everything you do, say, and think. As A.W. Tozer stated, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us!” Is it is our sin or God’s mercy?