The 16th Sunday after Pentecost – September 28, 2014 – Psalm 25

“Remember not the sins of my youth…” Vs. 7  The psalmist gives voice to a prayer with which many of us can identify. As a life-long sinner, I know, that the sins of my youth are as near as yesterday and will be just as near tomorrow. I need to be taught again and again in the way of the Lord. I need instruction daily on the Lord’s steadfast love and mercy. Thank God that I have a preacher to put such a word in my ears as he delivers Jesus Christ crucified and him alone. All the paths of the Lord are gathered into Jesus as the one and exclusive way (cf. Jn. 14:6).

Psalm 25 stands in the great tradition of Psalms 1, 19, and 119 in their desire… their prayer… for instruction. Like those psalms, this psalm also uses a variety of synonyms for teaching, e. g. make, lead, instruct, etc. Here the psalmist, as with all other sinners, desires to live solely from the Word of God. It is the only source of his (or their) life. To be found heeding some other word is to be put to shame and to give cause for your enemies to exult over you (vs. 2).

As a life-long sinner, I am relieved to know that the Lord’s mercy and steadfast love predate my life of sin, for “they have been of old” (vs. 6) and they will outlast all my sin. Preaching, prayer, and the affliction-which-attends-those-who-live-from-God’s-Word (and not some other word), are the three rules named by Luther which form theologians. Hearing God’s Word drives you to prayer as you struggle to believe your Lord’s promise in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

Table Talk: How has Jesus gathered up “all the paths of the Lord?”

Pray: Heavenly Father, keep your way ever before me that I may know Christ, and him alone. Amen

Written by Rev. Timothy J. Swenson,  Dean of Chapel for the Institute of Lutheran Theology

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