Do you feel as if you’re being judged for a sin you didn’t commit? Are people slandering you? Do some call your faith and repentance into question? Welcome to David’s world.
Psalm 26 is David’s cry to the God who knows all, who sees all, and who is not mocked. David confesses his continued trust in God, asking him to examine his heart and mind.
Vindicate me, O Lord,
for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
Prove me, O Lord, and try me;
test my heart and my mind.
For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in your faithfulness (1-3, ESV).
David asks God for vindication because he has not committed the sin of which he is accused. He has walked in integrity while trusting God. He has kept God’s steadfast love before his eyes as he walked in his faithfulness.
He has not consorted with hypocritical men who promote lies:
I do not sit with men of falsehood,
nor do I consort with hypocrites.
I hate the assembly of evildoers,
and I will not sit with the wicked (4-5, ESV).
While David did not participate in meetings with hypocrites, he did worship.
I wash my hands in innocence
and go around your altar, O Lord,
proclaiming thanksgiving aloud,
and telling all your wondrous deeds (6-7, ESV).
David prepared himself for worship by examining his heart and determining if he was guilty of the sin assigned to him. You only have to read a few other psalms to see how vividly David recognized his own sin, but in this case he knew that he was not guilty of a particular sin of which he’d been accused. Having prepared for worship with this self-examination, David actively participated in worship, proclaiming thankfulness and declaring God’s goodness.
This fills his heart with love for God and God’s house.
O Lord, I love the habitation of your house
and the place where your glory dwells.
Do not sweep my soul away with sinners,
nor my life with bloodthirsty men,
in whose hands are evil devices,
and whose right hands are full of bribes (8-10, ESV).
After David expresses his great love for God and his dwelling, he begs him not to destroy him with the bloodthirsty men who work evil and accept bribes.
He reaffirms his conviction to walk in integrity.
But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity;
redeem me, and be gracious to me.
My foot stands on level ground;
in the great assembly I will bless the Lord (11-12, ESV).
Determined to continue walking in integrity, David asks God to redeem him and be gracious to him. He confesses that he is standing on the level ground of trusting in God. He looks with hope to the day he will again join other believers as they bless the Lord in corporate worship.
If you’re feeling maliciously slandered and unjustly accused, first examine your heart. Are you walking in integrity? Then pray this psalm. Trust and rest in the Lord, who is the God of truth and recognizes every lie. He will keep your foot on level ground. When you see his grace in your life, you will bless him as part of Christ’s great assembly. Keep walking with integrity!