The sermon for this text is Psalm 25:1-10
3 Let none who look to you be put to shame; rather let those be put to shame who are treacherous.
I have been reading this text for about two weeks now and this is the line that keeps catching my eye. What David is saying to God, is that if someone has to go down, please make it the jerk over there, because I am one of the good guys.
There was a time in my life when I would have surely prayed this prayer and posted this verse on my mirror in order to read every morning. If any of you have ever been bullied, you probably would have, too. I was a good kid. I got great grades. I never once got in trouble with the principal in High School. I worked 20 hours a week after school. I was active in my church youth group and enjoyed going to worship. I was their youth council rep and got to preach at the Good Friday service. I was still acolyting at 18 because I liked it that much. There is no doubt in my mind that God up in heaven was gathering the heavenly hosts around the cloud and saying, have you seen my son Karl. My he is fine.
Jeff Mitchell on the other hand had no redeeming qualities that I could find. He started teasing me when we played football together in the eighth grade and he never relented until the day we graduated when his last words to me were see you faggot. He embarrassed me in front of countless classmates. He made life in high school so toxic for me that at times I felt like a pariah, that no one wanted to be friends with me because they were afraid that Jeff would turn his attention to them. O Lord Let none who look to you be put to shame; rather let those be put to shame who are treacherous.
This Psalm is attributed to David. David could have been referring to King Saul as wantonly treacherous. Saul had decided that David was getting too popular and was now chasing him down to execute him. Not really great behavior for a king of Israel. David could have been referring to the Philistines as wantonly treacherous They were occupants of the land that David believed was destined to be Israel’s land. And they were after all not believers in God. David could have been in his old age when he wrote these words and talking about his own son, Absalom. Absalom was wantonly treacherous when he decided that it was time to take over the family business and tried to have his father the King deposed.
All of us at times, many times really, feel like it is a pretty clear call for God on who to side with. C’mon God, you aren’t going to let me lose to that guy. We forget or don’t believe that God loves the sinner Karl as much as the sinner Jeff Mitchell, that God is as invested in the life of David as his son Absalom, that our God cares about King Saul even when he is being wantonly treacherous does not seem possible. God is not in the business of picking winners and losers. In fact, Jesus told us that God has a heart for losers, teaching that whoever wants to win the Kingdom of God, has to start by losing.
In the midst of David’s prayer to God to smite his enemy, David does something that seems noteworthy. He humbles himself.
Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
Exactly when I think I know how to be God, is when I need most to have someone hit me over the head and remind me that I am not God. Teach me your ways God, make my paths straight. Help me to see in Jeff what you see. Help me to love Jeff like you love him. Instruct this sinner in the way. All of the paths of the Lord are steadfast love, whereas I only find myself on a path of steadfast love at times, when it suits me. Humble me God and instruct me to see with your eyes my enemies. Amen