2006-11-29 - Shame on You, Shame on Me
Psalm 25:1-3, "To you O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse."
In these verses, we see something that is typical in the Psalms. We see the Psalmist's devotion to God. He pleads to God, but he does so on his own behalf. We see him acknowledge both that our prayers are to be be toward God (verse 1), but also that our confidence is to be in the Lord alone, (Verses 2, 3). His desire is clearly toward God.
He lifts up his soul unto him. He seeks to give God his best portion. David had wealth and power beyond measure, but he does not speak of offering up that to God, but rather he offers the very core of himself up to God. When he is lifting up his soul to God, he is saying that he lifts everything up to God, because he seeks to give to God what is most precious to him: his very self.
We may often give to God, the works in the church or in missions, but do we give ourselves to God? Can we say with David that the very center of who we are, our souls, we lift up to God in prayer? It is a hard thing to give over everything to God. There is often that one thing, or ten one things, that we would like to hold back for ourselves. We are very free with sacrifice until it hits close to our hearts, to the things we really care about, but David sets the standard higher for us. "To you O Lord, I lift up my Soul." He holds nothing back. He offers, in this phrase, all he has, and all he is, to the Lord. Can we do the same? It is certainly a goal to strive towards.
He also says that he trusts in God (verse 2). This is nothing other than a simple profession of faith. Let us not neglect the fact that as David lived by faith; so also do we live by faith. He puts his trust in God and then offers a request. He asks that he not be put to shame, and also that those who are against him might not gain the victory. This first part is especially a good request for us to emulate. We ought to pray that we not be put to shame, but not for the reasons that might first come to mind.
We are likely to desire not to be put to shame because nobody likes it when they are shamed. No one likes to be embarrassed. But this is not the heart of David's prayer here. His desire is that he not be put to shame, because for him to be put to shame would be to have God's cause put to shame. If David looks foolish, then the God he seeks to faithfully serve looks foolish as well. David knew a little more than he should have about being put to shame, so he can speak from experience.
In our case, when we are put to shame by our actions, it is also true that God is put to shame. We are examples of the faith we profess. When we look foolish because of sin, the faith we claim is brought down with us. The world may think us fools for following Christ, but that is not the issue here. What we seek is to not look foolish as followers of Christ. We seek to live in such a way as to give credit to our faith. This is one reason why sin in the Christian is so sad. While it does make them look bad, it is even worse that it brings down the credibility of the profession of the faith of other followers of Christ, and even allows those who don't hold to the things that we hold, to laugh at Christ Himself. Sin is serious for many reasons. It is not only personally hurtful to the sinner, but brings down the cause of Christ as well.\
The passage ends with an air of triumph. No one who puts his hope in Christ will be put to shame. Of course, this means the ultimate shame of separation from God at the last day, but that is triumph if there ever was triumph. We will not be ultimately put to shame, because in that great last day Christ will own those who are His as His own. He will not be ashamed of us at the last day. Let us now use that as motivation to not put Him to shame in our lives today.
Soli Deo Gloria,