Psalm 26: A Psalm of David

Bill Hitchcock August 9, 2015 0
Psalm 26: A Psalm of David

“This Psalm was certainly made by David when he was in distress, and particularly when he was falsely accused and defamed by his adversaries, as he frequently was by Saul and his courtiers” (Matthew Poole)

“The sweet singer of Israel appears before us in this Psalm as one enduring reproach; in this he was the type of the great Son of David, and is an encouraging example to us to carry the burden of slander to the throne of grace” (Charles Spurgeon).

“This Psalm, and the two following, are supposed by Calmet to be all parts of one ode, and to relate to the time of the captivity, containing the prayers, supplications, complaints, and resolutions of the Israelites in Babylon.” (Adam Clarke)

Psalm 26

(King James Version)

1) Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide.

2) Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.

3) For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth.

1) Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide.

Consider the weight and magnitude of that simple request, “Judge me, O Lord!” How many of us could approach God and ask it? But this is what God has told us to do. “Learn to do well; seek judgment” (Isaiah 1:17). Every man that has his hope in God will, “purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:3).

“The Hebrew word which is rendered to judge, signifies to undertake the cognisance of a cause. The meaning here, therefore, is as if David called upon God to be the defender of his right” (John Calvin).

The sin nature in man does not like judgment nor will it seek it out on its own accord. “Evil men understand not judgment” (Proverbs 28:5). It is beyond the comprehension for evil to seek judgment and justice for darkness cannot comprehend the light. Sin nature and evil men will rebel against judgment and deny its existence at every opportunity. With one exception; Evil gladly embraces righteousness when it avails a self-serving purpose.

“For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

But what is judgment but the comparison of Godly attributes to our own, of His being to ours. He is the standard, we are the comparison. Any inconsistency to the standard is sin.

“I have walked in mine integrity”. Integrity or “perfection”, not that David was perfect in terms of holiness and righteousness but faultless in regards to an accusation directed at him.

I have lived by Godly principal and kept uprightness to heart. I have taken of you Lord and lived in your ways. This is innocence and purity of the purposeful man.

“Though they accuse me of many crimes, they can prove none of them, and thou and mine own conscience, and theirs too, are witnesses for me, that my carriage towards them hath been innocent and unblamable” (Matthew Poole).

To be clear on, “mine integrity”, this is not to hint at or allude to David’s Godly attribute of integrity as if it is of him for it is not. All things are of the Lord and are distributed by God as part of His mercy and grace towards us. For, “he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth” (2 Corinthians 10:17-18)

“I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide.” To trust in the Lord is to turn over control of self completely to Him. I shall not waver or fall for my life is now in God’s hands. Confidence and assuredness is complete in trust because my life is no longer subject to me but thee.

“Trust in God is the fountain of “integrity” (E. W. Hengstenberg).

“I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide”. “For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?” (Psalm 56:13)

2) Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.

First it was judge what I have done. Now it is examine, prove and try who I am.

Examine me O Lord, Test and verify that I am as I present myself to be. Esse quam videri! “To be, rather than to seem (to be)”. Try my beliefs, my soul and inner man.

The first things to escape a burning ship are the rats. David asking God to examine him is nothing more than a request for a holy fire to test and try him to see what he is really made of. We should all set our own ships on fire daily with the fire of Godly prayer, supplication and repentance. Even the cleanest of vessels have a rat or two hiding out somewhere between the bow and stern.

“I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:10).

“Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps? If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know mine integrity” (Job 31:4-6)

3) For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth.

“Lovingkindness” is God’s mercy, kindness, favor, grace and zeal for his elect. For those who put God first these attributes will forever be before them. God is immutable, perpetual, omnipresent, omnipotent and righteous. This is truth. He is truth. We are to live in these constancies of His being. It is sin when we fall out of or deviate from them.

4) I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.

5) I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.

4) I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.

This verse takes us back to the very first verse in the very first psalm of the Book of Psalms.

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful” (Psalm 1:1).

David is blessed for he has not befriended the wicked or the vile.

“The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour: but the way of the wicked seduceth them” (Proverbs 12:26).

David not having friendship and kinship with the wicked is different than when Jesus sat with the publicans and sinners (Matthew 9:10). Jesus came to have a godly influence on his company. The wicked, on the other hand would have had an evil influence on David.

David’s son Solomon was oh so right when he said, “the way of the wicked seduceth”. We should all choose our friends and associates wisely and carefully.

5) I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.

Hate is a very strong word and David uses it here with the full weight of its meaning. God does not want His children associating with evil.

“Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled. Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together” (Deuteronomy 22:9-10).

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).

“Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the Lord, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph” (Amos 5:14-15).

6) I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O Lord:

7) That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.

8) Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.

6) I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O Lord:

Evil washes its hands in blood, the righteous in innocency. Often times the washing of hands was done to symbolize purity, innocence or having nothing to do with a person or situation. This is exactly what Pilate did with mob that wanted Jesus crucified.

“When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it” (Matthew 27:24).

David is making it clear that he would not approach the altar of God in prayer, sacrifice or service if he wasn’t presentable in the eyes of the Lord.

7) That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.

“Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee” (Psalm 56:12).

“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” (Hebrews 13:15).

The greatest sacrifice to God is our praise for Him. Praise on our lips from a heart that is sincere is the sweet sound God wants to hear.

8) Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.

David earlier made it very clear that he did not reside with the congregation of evil doers, the wicked, vain persons or with dissemblers. Here he is speaking of the tabernacle of the congregation. “And the place where thine honour dwelleth” is a reference to the inner chamber in the holy of holies.

9) Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men:

10) In whose hands is mischief, and their right hand is full of bribes.

11) But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me.

12) My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the Lord.

9) Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men:

“Do not bind me up in the same bundle, or put me into the same accursed condition with them” (John Wesley).

This entire psalm David has either made clear he has had no association with the wicked or he has asked God to keep the wicked away from him. This is reminiscent of that most powerful prayer made by Jabez.

“And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested” (1 Chronicles 4:10).

10) In whose hands is mischief, and their right hand is full of bribes.

The right hand, symbolizing justice, equity and righteousness is, “full of bribes”. The church, its rabbi’s, priests and leaders accepting as Judas did their 30 pieces of silver. The influence the devil can have over man, any man with lusts, desire, pride and envy is immeasurable. It blinds, dumbs and deafens those of truth and righteousness but never can it affect truth and righteousness in any way, only substantiate it.

11) But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me.

It’s a choice. It is always a choice and David chose to live not just a Godly life but more specifically to live a life for God. David is always walking in the path of truth, asking for cleansing and salvation and above all asking for the merciful lovingkindness of the Lord.

12) My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the Lord.

“Even place” literally translates uprightness, justice. Metaphorically David is saying he is standing on the firm foundation of righteousness.

“The idea is, either that he was standing now on smooth and level ground; or that he was walking in a straight path, in contradistinction from the crooked and perverse ways of the wicked; that is, he had found now a level road where he might walk securely” (Albert Barnes).

Congregation used here is meant of God’s people. Certainly when the children of God gather we should praise the Lord. When we do the spirit flows, people are encouraged and iron sharpens iron. But our praise should know no boundaries or have respect for persons-Ever!

Post your comments below about Psalm 26 and the included commentary.

Bill Hitchcock

Refining Truth


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