Daily Devotion – September 23, 2020 – Dr. Pat Taylor Ellison

Psalm 25:1-9
25:1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
25:2 O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me.
25:3 Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame; let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
25:4 Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.
25:5 Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.
25:6 Be mindful of your mercy, O LORD, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.
25:7 Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness’ sake, O LORD!
25:8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
25:9 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.

Listen to the plea of the psalmist here. The writer pleads for mercy and not to be put to shame for being a believer. But moreover, the writer asks to be taught.

It’s a wonderful psalm for the start of a school year.

But it is even more wonderful, and more difficult, as we live through a time when we are divided against one another and each side thinks its wisdom is superior to the stupid ideas of the other side.

If the lessons for the past several Sundays are any indication, people for generations have tried to use their judgment to make all the rules, and the Lord is forever telling them to sit down and be quiet. Let me be the judge, says the Lord. Your ways are not my ways, says the Lord.

In Jesus’s parables to explain the Kingdom of God, first he turns the expected story on its head, and he lifts up the poor and forsaken, and then he demonstrates God’s forgiveness and mercy and reconciliation. It’s not about who has all the answers. It’s always about who, despite everything, shows mercy. And who shows mercy especially to the least important, lowliest people.

Are we teachable?

We might ask that question, over and over again, in the coming months and years, as we try to move forward together in trying times. Can we learn from our neighbor who thinks differently from us? Can we even listen to our neighbor? Or, perhaps more difficult, can we listen to the person in our circle who has let us down?

More than this, can we open ourselves to be taught something new by the Lord? Or do we think we have it all figured out?  How do we live a life that every day throws itself open to be taught?

Gracious God, Thank you for loving us. Thank you for showing mercy and love to every person. Make us to know your ways, oh Lord, and teach us your paths.   Amen.