Monday, February 13, 2017

Psalms To See Me Through: Psalm 26 A Prayer For Vindication

* The word “heart” is red today in honor of Valentine's Day :)

Protestation of Integrity. A Psalm of David.

Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, And I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Examine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my mind and my heart. For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, And I have walked in Your truth {vv. 1-3}.

The Lord refers to David as a man after His own heart {1 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22}, and this is one of the many reasons. David invites the Lord to examine him; literally putting himself on trial. He asks the Lord to vindicate him, but the literal meaning is judge. He is not asking God to merely defend him, but to justify him. He is up against God and his conscience; presenting his case before the Lord, and presenting proof of his integrity. Few today would extend such an invitation to the Lord. Few acknowledge their sin in our feel-good, self-help culture. David walks in the truth of God’s love toward him, and implores His favorable judgment, that David does indeed walk in integrity. This does not mean that David is sinless. The only sinless man is Jesus Christ. David is not contending that he is without sin, but every day He seeks the Lord, loves His Word, and lives according to His statutes.

We must courageously invite the Lord to judge our hearts and minds. He may find us integrous; He may not. However, when we come to Him with this invitation, we demonstrate that we love Him by confessing our sin and submitting our hearts and minds to Him, and He grants us peace. He justifies us by the blood of the Lamb.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus {Phil. 4: 6-7}.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer {Ps. 19:14}.

and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel {Heb. 12:24}.

Paul admonishes us in 2 Corinthians to bring all our thoughts under the captivity of Jesus {10:5}. The Lord wants our hearts and thoughts to be on Him; like David.

 David continues to plead his case before the Lord:

I do not sit with deceitful men, Nor will I go with pretenders.  I hate the assembly of evildoers, And I will not sit with the wicked {vv. 4-5}.

Bad company corrupts good morals {1 Cor. 15:33}, says Paul, and it is true. Do not be lulled into believing that we need to fellowship with sinners in order to save them. We are to show the love of Christ to all people, but we are not to surround ourselves with them. Invite them to eat and minister the Gospel to them, but do not give them influence in your life. Do not be influenced by their behavior, or take your attention off the Lord. Do not love what they love if they are not serving the Lord. Hate sin. Shun evil.

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? {2 Cor. 6:14-15}

David refused to have a band of friends who did not worship Yahweh. He had no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, nor with the workers of evil. He would not enter their assemblies, rather he chose to enter the assembly of the Lord. Though sometimes he could not avoid being in the company of bad people, he would not choose to be friends with them. We must not only avoid bad company, but we must have a repugnance to it. David says, not only ‘I have I shunned it,’ but, ‘I have hated it.’ 

I shall wash my hands in innocence, And I will go about Your altar, O Lord, That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving And declare all Your wonders. O Lord, I love the habitation of Your house And the place where Your glory dwells. Do not take my soul away along with sinners, Nor my life with men of bloodshed, In whose hands is a wicked scheme, And whose right hand is full of  bribes.  But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity; Redeem me, and be gracious to me.  My foot stands on a level place; In the congregations I shall bless the Lord {vv. 6-12}.

Tabernacle imagery of the Bronze Laver, and the priest’s preparation in ministering to God is beautiful. Just as the priests’ wash their hands and feet before entering the Inner Court, David, in his priestly anointing, evokes the priestly ministry. He will wash his hands, and bring an offering—declaring the glory and wonder of Yahweh. We should prepare in much the same way when we come to the House of the Lord to worship. We should approach His altar washed and ready for service.

David’s protest looks both backward in his integrity, and forward, contending that he will continue to walk in it; I have not sat with them, and I will not go in with them. When we practice walking according to His Word, it is evidence of our integrity, and our resolve, in God's strength, to persevere and not to draw back.

David presents one last piece of evidence to prove his integrity; his affection for the ordinances of God, and the pleasure he took in keeping them. 

David serves as our example. Invite the Lord in your heart and mind; repent of anything that seeks to hinder you. Approach His altar, Christ’s blood justifies you; now wash in the water of the Word. Come to His House with a heart prepared to worship at the wonder and glory of God. Walk in the integrity of the Word of God, and take joy in keeping His statutes. Then like David, you will be a woman or man after God’s heart.

Happy Valentine's Day!

To read all the Psalms in this series click here: Psalms To See Me Through

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