The Psalms are beautiful. I often turn to them when I don’t know how express my feelings. Many of them were written by King David and reflect his heart during many times of his life. Psalm 26 was one of those written by David during the days of turmoil in his life. One of his sons was turning against him and trying to proclaim himself king instead of his father. These words were how David came before God and made known his heart.
Verse 1 (NIV)
“Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.”
When I first read this, I had to re-read it to make sure that I read it right. At this time in David’s life he had killed thousands of men (rightfully so in battle), illegally conducted a census, slept with another man’s wife, had said man murdered, and then attempted a cover-up. He showed favoritism among his children and could not control his family and his empire as he should have. David was for sure not blameless. But further study into the words revealed a little more to me. He didn’t live a sin free life, but he was “a man after God’s own heart”. He always trusted in God. He never doubted him. He might have strayed or forget He was there, but he never doubted God’s power. In that aspect, he was blameless. He was without blemish in that area of his life. He is asking for vindication during the time of his son’s revolt. He wants God to clear his name where it needs clearing.
“Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;”
David was so close to God that he knew that once God looked deep within that He would find a humble and loving heart. It wouldn’t be a perfect heart, but it was one that was teachable.
“for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth.”
David was saying that all of the blessings that God had given him were before him. He was constantly reminded of the love that had been showered down from the heavens on a young shepherd from Bethlehem.
“I do not sit with deceitful men, nor do I consort with hypocrites;”
Wow! I don’t know if I can say that. David was confident that his advisors where men of God. He felt that their hearts were pure and straight. Whether he was right or wrong I don’t know, but he was one that wanted to know that about those that hung around him. He didn’t take them at face value. He had at some time examined them more closely.
“I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked.”
David was a king. He knew what could happen when the ones with evil motives gathered and tried to exercise their strength. Death was usually the end result for royalty. He didn’t even want to flirt with them.
“I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, O Lord,”
A personal reflection needs to be done right here. Let’s pretend a bowl of unusual water is placed before you. It is unusual in the sense that it can reveal much about you. When you place your hands in it, all your sins come off into for all to see. If that bowl was placed before you, how quick would you dip your hands into it? Would evidence of gossip flow forth? Would evidence of malice appear? Would evidence of jealousy or wrath be there? David knew that at that moment his hands would prove to be clean. He knew that he had made right the wrongs in his life and had repented of his sins.
“proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds.”
David was not to keep silent about his love for God. When good things happened, he let it be known. When bad things happened, he let it be known that he was the one to blame. He was loud about God and His wonderful acts. This was a man that even though king, stripped down to almost nothing and danced for God. Now that is proclamation.
“I love the house where you live, O Lord, the place where your glory dwells.”
If the Lord is the one you worship, why wouldn’t you love where He is? And if so, why don’t we long to see it and abide there with him?
“Do not take away my soul along with sinners, my life with bloodthirsty men, in whose hands are wicked schemes, whose right hands are full of bribes.”
David knew where he wanted to be eternally and it was not with those that were always after his own life. He knew that many man held evil thoughts in their minds and would do anything to get their way.
“But I lead a blameless life; redeem me and be merciful to me.”
David reminded God how he always sought God’s face and forgiveness. Even when he would commit horrible acts, he would always be repentant when he realized it and had to face it.
“My feet stand on level ground; in the great assembly I will praise the Lord.”
David ends saying that he is not going through life following an unknown path. The path he follows was laid down by the great creator and he is willing to tell all about it.
David was a sinful man, but he was a man who always sought God and sought forgiveness for his human mistakes. He goes before his God and lays it all on the altar to Him. He knows who can truly save him. It is not the army. It is not the royal counsel. It is not an ally. It is the Almighty. Where do you turn for your strength?