I did it God's Way
An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 25
Words in boxes are from the Bible. Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the Hebrew Bible.
Jesus said, "Nobody who starts ploughing and then looks back, will be fit for where God is king". (Luke 9:62)
triumph over ~ be happy when they beat
kindness ~what you show people when you are kind to them
meek ~ people that let God teach them
covenant ~ agreement (when people agree. Look after "Something to do" in this psalm)
protect ~ keep safe
We do not know when David wrote Psalm 25. In it he writes about his enemies (Psalm 25:2 and 19). But David always had enemies. This means that he might have written Psalm 25 at any time in his life.
The Psalm is in 3 parts, with an extra verse at the end.
1. Psalm 25:1 – 7: David prays that God will not remember his sins and that God will be his guide. David also asks God for help against his enemies.
2. Psalm 25:8 – 14: David tells us about God. Because God is like this, he will answer David, and give him help.
3. Psalm 25:15 – 21: David tells God that his enemies have hurt him and made him unhappy. Again he asks God for help.
Somebody else probably wrote verse 22. This meant that everybody might use the psalm, not just David. This includes Christians. This is because Israel in the psalm means two things:
1. the Jews that lived in the land of Israel;
2. all the people that believe in the Jews' God (this includes Christians).
Psalm 25 is an alphabet psalm, like Psalms 9 and 10. So, verse 1 begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Verse 2 begins with the second letter and so on. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. One is missing in this psalm, the letter q. So, Psalm 25:21 begins with the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Psalm 25:22 does not begin with the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This is another reason why we think that David did not write it. Alphabet psalms were hard to write. They were special psalms to show people how much the writer loved God. Other alphabet psalms are 9 and 10, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119 and 145.
In Psalm 1 we learn that there are two roads, or ways. One is right and leads to God. The other is wrong and does not lead to God. Psalm 25 is about the right road. It tells us that it is not easy. The enemies of God are also the enemies of the people that believe in God. Psalm 25 teaches us not to stop believing in God just because life becomes hard. We must not do things in our own way. We must do things God's way. He will always send us help.
There are 4 important things to learn here:
1. Verse 1: "I lift myself to you" means "I pray to you". The word "myself" is the Hebrew word that we sometimes translate "soul". We cannot see our souls. Our soul is the part of us that lives on when our body dies. Paul wrote to the Church in Ephesus: "God has made us to sit in heaven in Christ Jesus". (Ephesians 2:6) When we pray it is as though we are in heaven with God. Heaven is the home of God. Christians will go to heaven when they die. They also lift up part of themselves to heaven when they pray.
2. Verses 2 – 3: David asks for help so that he will not be ashamed. Here, "ashamed" means being hurt and feeling pain. It is more than feeling sorry. David does not want his enemies to triumph over him. When you triumph you say how great and good you are and how weak your enemies are. David says that the people that say what is not true should be ashamed. He means his enemies. They are also the enemies of God. They say things about God that are not true.
3. Verses 4 and 5: There is a lot in this psalm about "the way". What way is this? We understand it best when we read John 14:6. John was a friend of Jesus. After Jesus had gone back to heaven, John wrote the story of Jesus. We call it the Gospel of John. In John 14:6 Jesus says, "I am the way. I am the truth. I am the life. Nobody comes to the Father except by knowing me". The Father is God. This tells us that we learn the way to God from Jesus. We also learn from Jesus what is true about life. We must do what Jesus tells us to do in the 4 Gospels in the Bible. If we do not have a Bible we can still pray to God the words of Psalm 25:4. God will find a way to answer us.
4. Verses 6 and 7: Here we learn that God has always been loving and kind. That is why he will not remember the bad things we do. But we must tell God we are sorry about them and ask him to forgive us. We must also ask for help not to do them again.
In this part of the psalm there are some important words:
meek (verse 9) Meek does not mean weak. Meek people are often very strong, in body and in mind. A meek person is someone that you can teach. He or she will learn from you. Psalm 25:9 says that God will teach the meek his way. In other words, the meek will do things God's way. In the Gospel by Matthew, another friend of Jesus, we read these words of Jesus: "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth". (Matthew 5:5) "Blessed" means "God will be good to". So, God will be good to those that learn from him. In the end, the whole world will be theirs. This will probably happen when Jesus comes back to the earth from heaven.
kindness (verse 10) When we are kind to our friends and other people, we show them kindness. When God is kind to us, it is a special kindness. We can be kind to people because we are sorry for them. We do not have to love them. God is kind to us because he loves us. For this reason old Bibles in English use the word "lovingkindness". In Hebrew the word is "chesed". Because God never changes he will always show "chesed" to people that are meek.
covenant (verse 10) This is a very important word. Look below, after 'Something to do,' for what covenant means.
afraid (verse 12) When we are afraid of someone, we feel fear inside us. David asks in Psalm 25:12, "Who is the man that is afraid of the LORD?" A book in the Bible called Proverbs tells us the answer. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge". (Proverbs 1:7) "Knowledge" means "knowing about things". When we are afraid of God, then we begin to know about him.
First we see how powerful he is, and how weak we are. Then, how good he is and how bad we are. We are afraid that he will hurt us. Then we learn that he loves us. Our fear of God becomes our love for him. This "fear-become-love" has a special name. We call it "worship". Because of this we can translate Psalm 25:14, "The friends of God will worship him". In Hebrew it is "The friends of God will be afraid of him". He will always be much greater than us.
We can make this into 3 separate parts:
1. Verse 15: A net is something that we catch animals or fish in. Here, David feels that his enemies have caught him in a net like an animal, or a fish. How can he become free? There is only one answer. Only God can make him free. So he says, "My eyes are always looking towards the LORD". This means that David is always hoping that God will make him free from the net. It is another way of saying, "I am always praying to the LORD".
2. Verses 16 – 18: David is in trouble. He is:
a) lonely: he thinks that he is on his own. Elijah also felt like this, but God said, "There are lots of people like you". When we are lonely we must remember the words of Jesus: "I am always with you". (Matthew 28: 20)
b) hurt: perhaps in body, perhaps in mind. Again when we are hurt, we must remember the words of Jesus: 'God has sent me to give health to people'. (Luke 4:18)
c) unhappy: things are getting worse and worse. His enemies seem to be winning. This often happens to Christians. They think bad people are triumphing over them. (Look at Psalm 25:2). But again, we must remember the words of Jesus: "Be happy, I have won the fight for the world". (John 16:33) Then David says, "Forgive all my sins". Why? Is he lonely, hurt and unhappy because he is a sinner? He may be, but that is not the reason he says it here. He says it because God can only hear him pray after God forgives his sin. When God forgives us, the wall of sin between us and God falls down. God can hear and answer when we pray.
3. Verses 19 – 21: "Being ashamed" means more than feeling sorry. If the enemies triumph over David, they also triumph over God. So, David prays for God to protect him, or make him safe. He gives two reasons why God will do this:
a) David is honest and good. This means that God has forgiven David's sins. God can now hear when David prays.
b) David says, "I am hiding in you". (Psalm 25:20) This means that David is trusting in God. This means that David believes that God will take care of him.
1. When you are not happy, read Psalm 25. Tell God that you are unhappy. Tell him why. Then ask for his help. He will give it to you if you trust in him. (Psalm 25: 2)
2. Count how many times the word LORD is in Psalm 25. Count verse 12 as 1, as it only comes once in Hebrew. LORD is the covenant name of God. Look below for what covenant means. Look in Psalm 25 to find:
· what God agreed to do
· what David promised to do
3. There is a song, "I did it my way". Is that better than doing it God's way?
When two people agree, we say that they have made an agreement. Another word for agreement is covenant. This is the word that Christians use for the agreement between God and his people.
The first covenant was between God and Abraham, about 4000 years ago. It was the covenant that led to Judaism. Judaism is the name we give to what Jews believe. There were 2 sides to the covenant: God's side and the Jews' side. God promised to take care of the Jews if they continued to love him and be his servants. God kept his side of the covenant. The Jews did not. So God said, that there must be a new covenant. In Jeremiah 31:31 we read that God said, "I will make a new covenant". This happened when Jesus came to the earth. Jesus made the new covenant with his body and his blood. (Jesus said, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood". Luke 22:20) There are many things in the new covenant, which we call Christianity.
Some of them are below:
God agrees to:
Christians agree to:
1 give our sins to Jesus, who takes them away; we call this forgiveness
2 give us new life through Jesus, by putting the Holy Spirit into us (Holy Spirit is another name for God
3 take us to live with him when we die
1 ask God to forgive their sins because they are sorry for them and do not want to do them again
2 ask for the help of God in their lives through the Holy Spirit
3 tell other people about Jesus in the Church and in the world
In the Psalms there is a special name for God that people making this covenant used. In Hebrew it is YAHWEH. We translate and print it LORD. The 4 capital letters remind us that it is a special word
The Jews wrote their psalms in their own language. We call it Hebrew. In this book I have translated the psalms from Hebrew into Easy English. Sometimes I have not translated a word, but left it in Hebrew. An example is SELAH. That is because nobody is sure what it means. Other words have special translations. They are the names of God. God has many names in the Bible, because he is so great and important. In the table below are 3 of the most important names for God in the Hebrew Bible. You will see that LORD and Lord do not mean the same in Hebrew, though they do in English.
What the Hebrew word means
The powerful God that made everything. We call him the Creator. Creator means a person that makes things.
The name the Israelites gave God when they agreed to:
· love him
· follow him
· work for him
Christians call him the Covenant God. Covenant means agreement, or what people promise to do.
LORD (4 capital letters)
It may be the name of a powerful person with great authority. It also means the God that rules everything. He is the king of all Christians. They call him Lord God.
People wrote all the psalms more than 2000 years ago. This was before Jesus came to the earth. The Holy Spirit gave help to these people. The Holy Spirit is another name for God. So, people wrote the psalms with the help of God.
God put into the psalms things that people did not really understand. They were things about Jesus. Nobody would understand them until Jesus came to earth.
This is why Christians say things like: The psalms mean one thing for the Jews, but something else for us! What it meant for the Jews was not wrong. It is still true. But the psalms mean more for us because we know about Jesus. Here is an example. Read Psalm 18:50. There, the Messiah is David, or one of his sons that became king after him. To Christians the Messiah is always Jesus. Christ is really a Greek word that means Messiah. His full name is Lord Jesus Christ . . . . or Lord Jesus Messiah. Here is another example. Read Psalm 18:2. It tells us that the LORD was like a rock to David. The LORD was God in heaven. To us, the LORD is God in heaven and Jesus Christ. We spell it Lord, not LORD. The LORD God came to earth as the Lord Jesus. Look at Psalm 22. There you will read another good example. Part of the psalm describes a man that is dying. Who was this man? Until Jesus came to earth nobody knew. But Psalm 22 describes the death of Jesus very well. In other words, the people that wrote the psalms were prophets. They spoke for God, and sometimes said what would happen in the future. Often they did not know when it would happen. But they knew that it would happen.
© 2001, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words)
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