young woman in field of flowers praying

Psalm 25 – To You, Lord

 May 22, 2024

Psalm 25 – To you, Lord, I lift up my soul. To you. Other translations start – in you. In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. (NIV) The prepositions change but the pronoun remains the same. Who is this you that the writer looks up to?

I’ve been pondering what pronoun God is as I’ve been reflecting on the first two words of Psalm 25 – To you. The psalmist refers to God in second person – you, meaning the writer is addressing God. When the writer changes to third person, God becomes he. Ah, the beauty of the pronoun.

Psalm 25

Psalm 25 is a beautiful prayer, a lament of a penitent soul to God. It is also a well-crafted acrostic poem where each line begins with a letter of the alphabet.

Psalm 25 begins with the writer lifting his soul, his whole being to God who is worthy of trust.

To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul; in You, my God, I trust.” (1-2)

He asks God to show him God’s ways, to lead and guide him.

Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your path, guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; all day long I wait for You.” (4-5)

He calls upon God to remember him, not for his sins, but according to God’s loving devotion:

Remember, O LORD, Your compassion and loving devotion, for they are from age to age. Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my rebellious acts; remember me according to Your loving devotion, because of Your goodness, O LORD.” (6-7)

He then switches to third person as he speaks about God, rather than to God.

Good and upright is the LORD; therefore He shows sinners the way. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way. All the LORD’s ways are loving and faithful to those who keep His covenant and His decrees.” (8-10)

In verse 16 he returns to direct address to God, asking God for help.

Turn to me and be gracious, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart increase; free me from my distress.” (16-17)

He concludes his prayer with prayers for himself and for Israel:

May integrity and uprightness preserve me, because I wait for You. Redeem Israel, O God, from all its distress.” (21-22)

What Pronoun Is God?

Some insist on using the masculine pronoun he for any reference to God, as related to God as father and as most often found in Scripture. Others reject he as a form of patriarchy. They may upset others with their choice of she when referring to God, thereby recognizing God’s feminine side. Others insist on they since God is a trinity, Father, Son, and Spirit. All are valuable. None encompass the totality that is God.

Which does God prefer? I think God loves it when we speak directly to God, rather than about God. God loves the intimacy of “you.” We talk directly to our God, not through a mediator.

Psalm 25 – To You

Whether to you or in you, both speak of a God that is worthy of trust, a God that is a teacher and guide. While on this earth we assign gender to God, he or she, because that is how we refer to each other. But God is so much more.

Are you able to sit in ambiguity with palms open in trust to our God who is so much more than a pronoun?

(For another take on this psalm, see Psalm 25 – God, our Teacher – Patricia M Robertson)

This post is part of a series of blog posts on the Psalms. Sign up to follow this blog and receive a free copy of  Still Dancingthe second book in my Dancing through Life Series.      click here to sign up

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