James MacDonald is the founding pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel here in Chicago. His message comes from Psalm 25.
The audio is available for download here. Video footage can be viewed below:
My notes follow.
Not sure if this was a gift or Carson throwing down the gauntlet—“let’s see you preach Christ out of this text, yo!”
Before we can preach Christ, we first need to preach. Many are not actually heralding the Word that has been given to them. We need to preach Christ from all the Word.
4 things by way of background on Psalm 25:
- It’s a psalm. They’re the most quoted books of the OT in the NT. They’re quoted over 400 times in the NT. The psalms are the songbook of Jesus.
- It’s a poem. Ancient Hebrew poetry with two main artistic structure. It’s an acrostic and the truths come in couplets, synonymous parallelism.
- It’s a pattern. Prayer, creed, prayer. It’s David in pursuit of total trust in God. That’s why I’ve called this message “When You Don’t Know What To Do.” Some of it’s about learning, some is about leaning, but it’s all about building trust.
- It’s the plea of a broken-hearted man. Don’t ever let your study cause paralysis in remembering that this is a real life. A psalm like this can only come from someone who understood what it was like to be crushed. Many debate when this took place in David’s life, but most agree that this has to do with Absalom (see 2 Sam 3-15).
Psalm 25:1-2a: Trust God. The whole theme of the psalm. The word for “soul” means the center of the desires, but can include the whole body.
Psalm 25:2b-3: No Shame. Can his prayer be anymore clear? “Let me not be put to shame.” It may look really bad today, your heart might be in the vice of some crushing reality, but it’s not over. What we have to learn is that there is no shame. Not in the end, not when God’s done. Is there ever an excuse or reason to be betrayed? Pastors, parents, children, people don’t deserve that.
Psalm 25:4: God’s Way. Not a prayer for specific guidance. It’s a petition to understand God’s patterns. If you’ve never been in the place where you don’t know what to do, then you don’t understand Psalm 25. That’s a big part of trusting.
Psalm 25:5: Wait for Salvation. If you’ve ever been in a place where you’ve said, “God I need you to get me out of this,” this is what this verse is about. It’s a place of waiting on God to get you out of the situation. I’ve had to learn the hard way that the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Wait for your salvation.
Psalm 25:6-7: Remember God. Remember your mercies to me, David says. Remember what you’re like. He’s saying in effect, “You know what you’re like, God.” We all have rebellious ways, but here’s the thing: When God puts you in a palce where you don’t know what to do, anything that is hidden has to go. You will scour every corner of your soul because you have to know that you know that you know.
Psalm 25:8-10: Obey Instruction. The word “instruct” is literally to cast or to shoot; this is more than just take it if you want it, it’s God casting us into the place where we have to get the instruction. He leads, teaches, “weighs” you in the way. This leaning into the lord is a renewed dedication of obeying the Lord, God help me. Notice it says, “to those who keep His covenants.”
Psalm 25:11: Need Forgiveness. I can’t carry this sin, anymore, Lord, what should I drop? What if I drop my sin? That’s what he’s saying here in this verse. I’m laying it down before you have to pry it from my cold, lifeless hands.
Psalm 25:12-14: Choose Covenant. Fear is the attitude of heart that seeks a right relationship to the fear source. The problem is we fear the wrong things—stuff instead of God. Notice the things that come to the one who fears the Lord: Instruction, abundance, friendship. And to them He makes known His covenant.
Psalm 25:15-19: Always Expectant. I just want to acknowledge that I’ve learned a lot from the Gospel Coalition. One of the mistakes I made as a young pastor was studying really hard and over-prepared. And one of the problems with that is you don’t get to the best part.
Psalm 20-21: Keep Me Lord.
So let’s ask this question: Is Jesus in this passage? He’s everywhere in this passage.
- Jesus Christ embodies my trust. 5 times in the text it says, “O LORD” The LORD here is Yahweh, the covenant name of God. Yahweh is “I AM,” and Jesus is I AM. Every gospel writer agrees that the LORD is Jesus. It was Jesus at the burning bush, it was Jesus high and exalted.
- Jesus Christ exemplifies my trust. Jesus is the example of trusting God in the midst of betrayal. Jesus sitting at the table and at least six separate times in the gospels and says, “one of you will betray me.” Jesus was already feeling the crushing weight of the betrayal.
- Jesus Christ enables my trust. He is not only the one upon I lean, He is not only the one who teaches me how to lean, but He is the one who lives in me and gives me the desire to get through a trial. He is the one who keeps me out of the ditch and by His grace enables me to trust.