Sometimes I feel like the problems in my life can be overwhelming and don’t see how they will ever end. I pray to God to take whatever cup from me. Sometimes He does, sometimes He doesn’t… at least not right away. However, when I came across Psalm 25:16-18, I felt it.
Dealing with trials in our lives can be tough. Once in a while I’ll say to myself, “God, will this ever end?” When issues arise and I don’t think I’ll ever see a positive outcome, I turn to the Bible. I search to find examples similar to the drama I am experiencing, and learn how our ancestors dealt with particular issues in their lives, and how God dealt with those individuals.
When situations in my life seem to be more than I can bear, it helps me to dig through the book of Psalms and empathize with what David went through while he was being chased around the desert by his enemies. While skimming through the verses recently, the first verses that caught my eye were in Psalm 25:16–18. The Bible says,
Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.
I like the King James translation of verse 18. In Psalm 25:18 (KJV 1900). The Bible says,
Look upon mine affliction and my pain; And forgive all my sins.
Look upon my affliction and pain. That’s a little closer to how I feel sometimes.
David’s plea was for God to bring him out of his distresses. He then asked God to consider his afflictions and to forgive his sins. It is important to note that David had transgressions in his heart and that he recognized them.
I came across several verses further down in the book that caused me to ask a few questions about where my heart is with God, and what expectations I should have for God helping me in tough situations.
One of the key words that stood out to me was integrity. Does God’s protection start with those who walk in integrity? If we do not walk in integrity, do we have the privilege of asking God for help in tough times? What does it mean to walk in integrity? What does integrity even mean?
In short, the Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia gives this definition:
The state or quality of being ethically sound, morally well-adjusted, from Heb. tom, tumma, “completeness, integrity.” While the word does not occur in the NT, the concept is covered by such terms as “sincerity,” “pure in heart,” “single eye,” and is synonymous with honesty, genuineness, sincerity.
Morally well adjusted? Oh boy.
An interesting note on integrity by Matthew Henry:
The man that walks in his integrity, yet trusting wholly in the grace of God, is in a state of acceptance, according to the covenant of which Jesus was the Mediator, in virtue of his spotless obedience even unto death. This man desires to have his inmost soul searched and proved by the Lord. He is aware of the deceitfulness of his own heart; he desires to detect and mortify every sin; and he longs to be satisfied of his being a true believer, and to practise the holy commands of God.
How do we walk in integrity?
Do we, who are not King David, have the right to make a plea to God for vindication (or to defend us against our enemies)? Are we coming to God with a clean heart?
The Bible says in Psalm 26:1-7 that David:
- Walked in integrity
- Trusted the Lord without wavering
- Walked in the Lord’s faithfulness
- Asked God to test his heart and mind
- Praised the Lord for His wondrous deeds
David is humble and recognizes that his problems are due to his transgressions. In all David’s pleas, he asks God to test his heart and mind. If the Lord tests our heart, what would He find? Do we have an open and pure heart to God, or are there sins that we have not yet confessed (or are trying to hide)?
We will all face problems in our lives
When I am facing difficulties, it helps me to take a close look at the current situation and do a moral inventory of my heart. I confess my sins, allow myself to be vulnerable to the Lord, and bring myself to a state of total dependence on God. Remember, the Bible says in Psalm 7:8-11,
The Lord judges the peoples; judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me. Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous— you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God! My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart. God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.
When we read Psalm 26 and listen to David make his plea to God about his own integrity and compare that to our lives, do we do the same? If we do, we can stand on this promise –
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
Information retrieved from:
Pfeiffer, Charles F., Howard Frederic Vos, and John Rea. The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia. Moody Press, 1975.
Henry, Matthew, and Thomas Scott. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1997.
All scripture verses from:
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.
The Holy Bible: King James Version. Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009.