O Lord, I come before you in prayer.
My God, I trust in you. Please do not let me be humiliated; do not let my enemies triumphantly rejoice over me!
Certainly, none who rely on you will be humiliated. Those who deal in treachery will be thwarted and humiliated.
Make me understand your ways, O Lord! Teach me your paths!
Guide me into your truth and teach me. For you are the God who delivers me; on you, I rely all day long.
Remember your compassionate and faithful deeds, O Lord, for you have always acted in this manner.
Do not hold against me the sins of my youth or my rebellious acts! Because you are faithful to me, extend to me your favor, O Lord!
The Lord is both kind and fair; that is why he teaches sinners the right way to live.
May he show the humble what is right! May he teach the humble his way!
The Lord always proves faithful and reliable to those who follow the demands of his covenant.
For the sake of your reputation, O Lord, forgive my sin, because it is great.
The Lord shows his faithful followers the way they should live. (NET)
The prayer begins with an entreaty that starts in a general way (vv. 1–3) and then becomes specific: the psalmist wants to be instructed by the Law of God, and to be forgiven (vv. 4–7). He then goes on to reflect on the way God does things, contemplating God’s goodness (vv. 8–10) and then (after a brief interruption to request forgiveness: v.11) describing the good things that the Lord does for those who fear him (vv. 12–15).
As well as petitioning for pardon and divine protection, this psalm pleads with the Lord to instruct the heart of man and help him follow the Lord’s ways. When making the same petition, the Christian relies on Jesus’ promise to send the Spirit of Truth from heaven who “will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (Jn 14:2, 6; cf. 16:13) and asks the Father for the gifts of the Holy Spirit.