Devotional Word for Monday, May 11, 2020
The first Scripture chorus I learned came from Psalm 25. I was converted in 1972. It was the heyday for choruses taken directly from Scripture. They were a great boon to me and many others. Today and tomorrow I want to put before you the first two Scripture choruses I learned. They have stayed with me through the years, and my hope is they will be an encouragement to you as well.
Psalm 25 begins this way: To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. The chorus was taken from the KJV, so it began like this: Unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. That was repeated. Then came verse 2 with what turned out to be the refrain: O my God, in You I trust, Do not let me be ashamed; Do not let my enemies exult over me. In the KJV it went like this: O my God, I trust in Thee, let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.
I remember trying to memorize those few lines. They were foreign to me at that time. But I practiced. As I practiced, the words were imprinted in my mind and on my soul. To this day, one of the regular cries of my heart is to lift my soul to God, to declare my trust in Him, and to ask Him not to let me be ashamed. Ashamed by what? By having the devil, the world, or my flesh win the victory over me. Instead, that He would give me grace to maintain a faithful confession of faith by my words and by my deeds. I don’t want to deny Him or His Word.
That’s a good prayer; a good request. I commend it to you.
This chorus didn’t go through Psalm 25 verse by verse; just certain verses were sung, always followed by the refrain, O my God, I trust in Thee, let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.
So verse 3 was this: Yea, let none that wait on Thee be ashamed sung twice followed by the refrain. This verse was instrumental in helping me learn to pray intercessory prayers for others. I began to pray for other Christians, some whom I knew, others whom I only knew of their situation. I prayed for the young man who was struggling with doubt; I prayed for the Christians in China who were being persecuted. We do well to practice regular intercession for others.
Verse 4 was deeply etched on my soul: Show me Thy ways, Thy ways, O Lord; Teach me Thy paths, Thy paths, O Lord. And then the refrain. This, of course, is a common prayer throughout the Scriptures. It’s the prayer of a tender heart and an open mind. A mind and a will that want to be shaped by God and His Word. It’s a cry for a teachable spirit. It’s not just a prayer for guidance for today’s decisions, though it certainly is that. It’s a longing for a life transformed by the Holy Spirit so that we are more and more conformed to Christ Jesus.
Then the chorus skipped down to verse 7: Remember not, the sins of my youth. That was repeated and then came the refrain. At the time I learned this chorus I did not know how persistent the devil is in throwing the muck and mud from our past at us. I have lots of muck and mud in my past. So do you, most likely. I cringe with shame, my heart wilts, when I remember some of that muck and mud. The devil is an expert at throwing it in our faces! I like what Martin Luther learned to do when the devil tried that on him. Luther would say, “Yes, I did all that. You’re quite correct. And here is a bunch more that you may have forgotten.” And he would reel off a list of sins. But then Luther would conclude with, “And all those sins and much more is all taken care of by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ who gave Himself for me. So, I don’t care what you say. Be gone.” What Luther told the devil was the refrain of this chorus! O my God, I trust in Thee, let me not ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.
Then the chorus skipped all the way down to verse 14: The secret of the Lord, is with them that fear Him. It was repeated and followed by the refrain. I’ve always thought of this as the secret weapon of the Christian. Of what does it consist? This: If God be for us, who can be against us! [Rom. 8:31] As Christians we know God, but more importantly, He knows us. He’s intimately familiar with all aspects of our life and being. He has made us His own. He is Immanuel, God with us. We fear Him, not with the fear that shrinks and seeks to run away, but with the fear that recognizes how powerful and how wise and how righteous and how faithful He is. What a great secret to have with us all through life!
The chorus ends by skipping to the last verse, verse 22: Redeem Israel, out of all his troubles. That is repeated and then the refrain. This ending verse is the theme of the entire Psalm. It can be applied to us personally, or to the entire people of God, or to particular portions of God’s people. We’re always in need of prayer, in need of God’ active intervention in our lives. We need God to deliver the Body of Christ – in whole and in part – from our personal temptations, from false teachers, from wicked rulers, you name it. Our final redemption does not happen until we pass from this life to life eternal. In the meantime, we have wonderful passages like Psalm 25 to give us insight and comfort.
Let us pray: Lord, we lift up our souls to You. We trust in You and thank You for Your care for us. You have made us Your very own. There’s nothing we’ve done, nothing we’ve said, nothing we’ve thought, or nothing we’ve left undone that You are not aware of. Yet You care for us. You continue to exercise Your workmanship in our lives. We trust in You to bring us at the proper time to that day when we step from this life into life eternal. Until that day, we lift our souls to You. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.