Psalm 26: standing upon level ground
Psalm 26 Of David. (1) Vindicate me, LORD, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the LORD and have not faltered. (2) Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; (3) for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness. (4) I do not sit with the deceitful, nor do I associate with hypocrites. (5) I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked. (6) I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, LORD, (7) proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds. (8) LORD, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells. (9) Do not take away my soul along with sinners, my life with those who are bloodthirsty, (10 in whose hands are wicked schemes, whose right hands are full of bribes. (11) I lead a blameless life; deliver me and be merciful to me. (12) My feet stand on level ground; in the great congregation I will praise the LORD.
Question for the day . . .
Do we seek the acceptance of God or are we chasing after who or what the world says we should be?
Because, quite honestly, in the eyes of the world, we are forever unworthy. Never enough. Never strong enough. Never beautiful enough. Never good enough.
Fortunately, as a son or daughter of the King, none of that worldly stuff is the Lord’s measure for us.
Make one claim, my friends, and live by it. Every moment or every day.
But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15
David is a good example to seek to follow in this regard. We often see words like these in the psalms. David knew that the will of the Father was more important than his own, or others around him. This psalm once again testifies to David’s desire to always be seeking the Father’s will for his life and his people to the detriment of relationships around him, and even within his own house.
Remember the story of David dancing and sacrificing before the Lord as the Ark of the Covenant was brought into Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6)? Michal, Saul’s daughter and one of David’s wives, was embarrassed by him . . .
As the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD, and she despised him in her heart. 2 Samuel 6:16 And David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, "How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants' female servants, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!" And David said to Michal, "It was before the LORD, who chose me above your father and above all his household, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the LORD- and I will celebrate before the LORD. I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes." 2 Samuel 6:20-22a ESV
Take David’s advice and shamelessly dance and sing before the Lord today, my friends. Raise your hands and sing, bask in the glory of God’s creation, and do it all as your Father in heaven watches you.
And when it’s hard to dance and celebrate, then remember . . .
for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness. Psalm 26:3 for thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes; and I have walked in thy truth. Psalm 26:3 KJV For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness. Psalm 26:3 ESV
When the celebrating is over and something like Michal’s voice tries to take you down, fear or worry grips your heart, or you just plain feel unworthy of anything good anymore . . . remember God’s unfailing love, his lovingkindness, his steadfast love.
God’s love is never far away. The comfort of His arms and presence is always within reach. We just have to remember.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20
My friends, Jesus is never farther away than the other side of the door of your heart. And when you invite Him in, He’s not just dropping by to say “hi.” He’s coming to dinner.
David goes on to discuss his certainty of the path he had chosen, that of the Lord:
I do not sit with the deceitful, nor do I associate with hypocrites. I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked. I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, LORD Psalm 26:4-6
Let us just stop here for a moment.
David does not say “I have never met any of these people.” He says, “I do not sit with these people; I don’t call them friends; and I certainly will not congregate with them.”
That’s quite a distinction.
Sometimes we can find ourselves attracted to sinners. We listen to them. We invite them in. Maybe we do so to try and share our faith with them. God wants us to do that. We should be kind and loving to all. But we cannot “sit” and “dine” with all. Not because we are better than them, but because we are not strong enough. What happens when we open the door to sin?
Once we open the door to dining and entertaining people like this, we could be led astray. Soon enough we join in. We look up to them. We laugh with them. We start to sound like them. And forget our path with the Lord.
God certainly gives us some people the ability to be strong enough, whether in the moment or in their character, to face these people or situations head on with strength and resolve. For most of us, He instructs us to flee from, to run away from sin and roads that can lead to our destruction.
I lead a blameless life; deliver me and be merciful to me. Psalm 26:11 But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity; redeem me, and be merciful unto me. Psalm 26:11 KJV
David is not claiming that he is without sin. He just spent ten verses calling upon his great need for God’s help and mercy. It’s almost like a this point, after pouring his heart out to God, he says-
“Okay, Father, I’ve let it all go, and now I know you go with me.”
Yet, by no means is he [David] a boaster, or a self-righteous vaunter of his own strength for he cries for redemption and pleads for mercy. Our integrity is not absolute nor inherent, it is a work of grace in us, and is marred by human infirmity; we must, therefore, resort to the redeeming blood and to the throne of mercy, confessing that though we are saints among men, we must still bow as sinners before God.Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
And finally, David ends with this beautiful statement:
My feet stand on level ground; in the great congregation I will praise the LORD. Psalm 26:12 My foot standeth in an even place; in the congregations will I bless Jehovah. Psalm 26:12 ASB
David has not slipped, though he has enemies closing in, but he is afraid. David sees the strife and evil all around him, yet he knows upon Whom he stands. And upon Whom he can trust.
And because the Lord is faithful to uphold him, to keep his foot from slipping, David will sing praises to the Lord amongst a great crowd. He will shout and dance and sing to the Lord. And he will not care who is watching because the One that matters is looking on in love.
So, my friends, today and every day forward let us choose.
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. Johsua 24:15
Father in heaven, we choose to serve you and to seek after the things of your heart. Help us to be strong and courageous, to turn away from the loudness of our world, and to hear your voice instead and to answer your knock at the doors of our hearts. Every moment of every day. Father, heal our world, keep our loved ones healthy, strengthen your church. We love you. Thank you for your faithfulness, your steadfast love, your lovingkindnesses. Amen.