Commanding God?

When you read the Psalms attributed to David you see a picture of a deep relationship with God. While we preachers often talk about loving and obeying God, David’s relationship goes so far as to approach complete openness. David openly shares his joy, frustration, anger, bitterness and confusion with God. He holds nothign back.

In Psalm 25, David does something unusual – or so it appears: he gives God commands. He orders God (that is the grammatical form anyway):

  • Show me your ways
  • Teach me your paths
  • Guide me in your truth
  • Remember not the sins of my youth
  • Forgive my iniquity
  • Turn to me
  • Free me from my anguish
  • Look upon my affliction
  • Guard my life

Considering the garmmatical form alone, we might think David is being pretty bossy with the Creator of the universe. But notice the content of the commands. They all deal with relational themes. David is confessing his need for God, and through the form of these commands, asking God for help.
The final command of the Psalm shifts the focus dramatically. In each of the previous verses, Davd’s request is for himself. In v. 22 David’s plea encompasses all the people: “Redeem Israel, O God, from all their troubles.” In other words, “You know where I stand, Lord. You know my need for you. You know I cannot make it – even for a short time, even in easy circumstances – without you. And these people you’ve entrusted to me, Lord? They’re in exactly the same boat. Apply my request to them also. As you redeem me, redeem them also.”

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