To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
Make me to know your ways, O LORD;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.
Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!
Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
Psalm 25: 1–10
“Teach me” … those two words often become harder to say as we grow older. As children, we asked others to show or teach us how to do things like ride a bike, tie a shoe, throw a baseball, make a paper airplane or read a book. However, as we grow older our willingness to be humble and ask for guidance to learn something new often fades with the years or becomes subservient to our ego and pride.
The concept of “humble inquiry” was developed by Edgar Schein, a former professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Originally developed to assist business leaders in the workplace, humble inquiry involves a willingness and intentionality of acknowledging what we don’t know and seeking answers from someone who does. When practiced, the process of asking questions, seeking information or being willing to learn from someone else allows two people to connect and engage with one another in ways that strengthen their relationship. The act of humble inquiry creates a symbiotic relationship of mutual benefit where the individual who seeks to be taught enhances their knowledge and understanding, while the other feels valued and honored for being asked to impart it.
The Psalmist in today’s passage encourages us to be practitioners of humble inquiry with our Triune God by crying out, “Make me to know your ways, O Lord… teach me your paths.” We know that God wants us to seek His wisdom and ways through instruction and prayer, but sometimes we are not humble enough to ask. Our arrogance and pride make us think we can handle life on our own. However, as Christians, we have a free educational opportunity of life-long learning at the feet of Jesus, a spiritual form of Hope Forward. As such, we should constantly practice humble inquiry and position ourselves before the creator, sustainer and greatest teacher as we face decisions and choices about how to live. When we ask God to teach us and show us His paths through biblical study and prayerful supplication, we will find comfort and instruction beyond earthly measure.
God of mercy and comfort we humbly ask that you teach us your paths and show us your ways. We agree with the Psalmist when we are told that your paths are good, upright and always filled with steadfast love and faithfulness. We thank you for that and pray that we never fail to humble ourselves before you. Teach us how to engage with each other and our world in ways that bring glory to you and your kingdom.
Dr. Kirk Brumels is the John H. and Jeanne M. Jacobson Professor of Kinesiology.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.