Psalm 25:8-9 Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.
Going between languages produces some interesting insights. The term the Japanese uses here where the NIV says “good” is exactly the same as the first line, in Japanese, of What a Friend We Have in Jesus, which is probably the best-loved hymn in Japan. One Japanese-English dictionary defines it as “affectionate; loving; tender; merciful.” Just saying “good” seems flavorless in comparison! That said, the point of what David is saying here is that God teaches sinners because of His character, not just swatting them but showing them both their error and how to get it right. The other side of that is that we have to be humble enough to know we need such instruction. If we are that way, then He will show us His very own way, which is guaranteed to be right and have the best possible outcome. Most people agonize over major decisions, knowing that their choices really do make a difference. What is lacking in a majority of those cases is humble submission to God. If we really understood the character of God we wouldn’t hesitate so much to trust Him! We have to recognize that we are sinners, that our natural tendency is to depart from God’s path, and then repent, that is, decide to do differently. In this case, that means seeking God’s way and following it.
I’ve had a complicated relationship with this truth most of my life. I grew up knowing the facts about God but appropriating only the smallest fraction of them in my daily living. God has loved me enough to let me stumble, so that I would learn that I can’t get it right without Him. He has also led me in ways that I would not have imagined, and they have been better than I would have planned. As I deal with others I am often reminded of how I have been, and I desire for them a shorter path than I took! I am to be “affectionate, loving, tender, merciful” and upright as an extension of His character, so that they may be led to repentance and faith, for their salvation and God’s glory.
Father, You those with whom I deal better than I do, and You certainly know their needs better than I do. Help me be fully submitted to You, not thinking that because something worked with someone in the past that it’s the way to go this time, but seeking You and listening to You. I pray that I would be fully available to You so that the people of this church and the people of this city would be led to full devotion to and fellowship with You, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!