”As I think back over this week and the life of the apostle Paul, the song I would like to focus on is “Unto Thee O Lord” written by Charles F. Monroe in 1971. The Internet knows little about the hymn writer who put Psalm 25 to music. Maranatha singers made it popular in the 70s when I was a young adult. The Apostle Paul would have been familiar with Psalm 25, originally penned by King David.
Paul was the archenemy of early Christians. He was there at the stoning of Stephen, the first martyr, and was commissioned by the high priest to hunt down Christians. On the Damascus road he was miraculously saved through an encounter with the risen Christ. Paul was instrumental in starting churches all along the Mediterranean Sea and up to Rome. He was the person who went to Jerusalem to hammer out with the elders some of the very basics of Christianity. Circumcision would not be required. People do not have to become a Jew first. Gentile believers were Christians on equal standing with Jewish believers. During Paul’s travels he faced persecution, stoning, imprisonment, shipwreck and more. It was not easy. I can imagine him saying Psalm 25:
1 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be put to shame;
do not let my enemies exult over me.
3 Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
5 Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.
6 Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
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!
8 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.
11 For your name’s sake, O Lord,
pardon my guilt, for it is great.
12 Who are they that fear the Lord?
He will teach them the way that they should choose.
13 They will abide in prosperity,
and their children shall possess the land.
14 The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him,
and he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever toward the Lord,
for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart,
and bring me[a] out of my distress.
18 Consider my affliction and my trouble,
and forgive all my sins.
19 Consider how many are my foes,
and with what violent hatred they hate me.
20 O guard my life, and deliver me;
do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
for I wait for you.
22 Redeem Israel, O God,
out of all its troubles.
Blessings as you go through difficult times!