Walking in Integrity

Psalm 26

If Ps 1 is a signpost which directs the wise to the choice of the right road, Ps 25 a companion for use along the way, then Ps 26 is plea of wise man for blessing promised in 1st Psalm. Clear from David’s prayer that he is most concerned for his reputation with God, with others not so much.

It seems to Christians a bold act to call on God for judgment, but the saints of the earlier dispensation, having, perhaps, a less keen sense of human imperfection, were wont to do so. Pulpit Commentary

More likely – OT saints had a very keen sense of sin; understood and recognized it even though many often denied it. Had seen God’s punishment in tangible ways: conquest of Canaan, Achan, Nadab and Abihu, Uzzah, etc. Clear reminders of their dependence on God’s gracious treatment for very survival. Psa. 130:3-4​​​​​​​If you, O LORD, were to keep track of sins, ​​​​​​O Lord, who could stand before you? ​​​​​​​But you are willing to forgive, ​​​​​​so that you might be honored.”

That so, David’s personal testimony of lifestyle does not equal claim to perfection; should be understood similarly to God’s description of Job: “a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity.” (Job 1:8; 2:3) Can be viewed as the confession of a good conscience, one who is confident he is a child of God.

Additional piece of perspective: beside hospital bed, young fellow < 12 hours post-op; beckoned mom, hugged & kissed her, whispered “I love you mommy”. She said “I love you, too”, he responded “I love you more”! In strictest sense, perhaps boy was wrong. However,… was private conversation, not for anyone else’s benefit. Declaration of love 100% genuine, sincere, from the heart; to best of his ability and extent of understanding, honestly meant what he said. And mom received it without question or challenge or criticism.

So, also, David’s prayer to heavenly Father – the heart-cry of one who bared his soul before the merciful and righteous Judge of all the earth. David comes right out and asks God to check him over, review every part of his life and being, decide whether or not he deserved to be considered a child of God. David held nothing back, reserved no closet corners for own use away from God’s view. David also took opportunity to declare again his resolve to remain faithful to God and his ways, that righteous character of his life to that point would continue in future.

A. request for review v.1-3

consider the evidence, and declare in my favor

lifestyle – integrity (1a)

character of life that of an upright, morally good person; true for David because he was that kind of person

not talking about one or a few situations but broad spectrum – life across the board

confidence – in God, not self (1b)

have trusted in the LORD without wavering” – resisted temptation / opportunity to trust in self or stuff

one for whom this is true has nothing to fear from God; impossible for one not a child of God to actually possess this sort of unwavering trust in God as the habit of life

sincerity – mind and heart consistent with action (2)

it’s one thing to say “check my record” meaning actions, externally visible evidence; whole different situation – evaluate thoughts and motives

mindset expressed Heb. 13:18 – “Pray for us; for we are convinced that we have a clear conscience, wanting to conduct ourselves honorably in everything.”

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, loved practical jokes. Once he sent a telegram to each of twelve friends. All were men of great virtue and respected in society. The telegram said, “Flee at once, your secret is discovered!” Within 24 hours, the story goes, all twelve had left the country!

what is seen in conduct of life a true expression of David’s character

spiritual focus (3)

dependence on God’s grace – chêsêd – God’s gracious faithful love expressed in his covenant with man

served as goal toward which David worked to progress; not simply motto hung on the wall as reminder – evidence is in next line

devotion to God’s truth – walking as way of life – lived according to biblical principles, viewing world from God’s perspective, consistent with God’s definition of reality, motivated by loyalty to God and his truth

B. revulsion of sin v.4-5

2 Pet. 2:20-22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.” –spoken of those who “escaped the world’s impurity through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” have become entangled again and worse off than beginning. Not true for genuine child of God; once escaped from impurity, strive diligently to avoid it. Returning to former “setting” is uncomfortable, feel out of place – shop acquaintances, parties; school reunions, maybe family reunions, etc.

people and situations avoided / hated

those pursuing emptiness (4a)

unreal people: untruth papered over with deception; claim to be essential to well-being of the world, putting their efforts toward things of great significance, but deep down know the real truth

pretenders (4b)

those who claim to know God, believe in God, perhaps be headed for heaven but living like hell

must deal with such in common business of life but will not have such as constant companions

gatherings of those committed to evil (5a)

not simple dislike for those who have different priorities – strong aversion

“an emotional attitude toward persons and things which are opposed, detested, despised and with which one wishes to have no contact or relationship. …considered odious, utterly unappealing.” TWOT

anyone else hostile to God (5b)

makes it a practice to avoid, not associate with those who do not share same love for God

attitude comes to bear even on family relationships – love for God takes priority over biology

Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”

amounts to putting Psalm 1 into action, seeking the blessing promised therein

Psalm 1

Psalm 26

1) walks not in the counsel of the ungodly

3) walked in Your truth

1) stands in the path of sinners

4) Nor will I go in with hypocrites

1) sits in the seat of the scornful

5) will not sit with the wicked

5) Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous

12) In the congregations I will bless the Lord

C. devotion to God v.6-8

commitment to purity (6)

laver and altar both point to purification

Rev. 1:5b “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,”

Rev. 7:14b “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

Eph. 5:26 “that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word”

further indication David’s good conscience not boastful self-righteousness but humble recognition of God’s work in his life

quick to offer thanksgiving (7)

simply considering all God’s wondrous works “confined” to redemption is enough material for thanks; obviously there’s much more

delight in worship (8)

looked for any “excuse” to be in house of the Lord, in God’s presence, experiencing his nearness and glory

not a “monkish” desire for insulation from the world; positive desire for closeness to God

D. resolution to persevere v.9-12

distinguished from evildoers (9-10)

“It is a horrible thing to be gathered with sinners in the other world. To think of our souls being gathered with them there, may make the hair of one’s head stand up. …He is content to be gathered with saints of whatever condition; but, “Lord,” says he, “Gather not my soul with sinners.” Thomas Boston

determined to walk in integrity (11a)

intends to do his part to persevere; has done so in the past (v.1), will do so in future

in contrast with wicked just mentioned; reminiscent of Joshua – you choose, as for me… (Josh. 24:15)

depending on God’s grace (11b)

just as in past, will in future continue to do it God’s way in God’s strength and provision; another indication of David’s absence of self-righteousness and pride

dedicated to praising God (12)

Popeye: “I yam what I yam on accounta I eats me spinach!”; Paul: “by the grace of God I am what I am” 1 Cor. 15:10

David would hang about with Paul, feet firmly and safely planted on unchanging promises of God

quick to recognize God at work in his life and circumstances, equally quick to give public praise

Believer whose confidence is in Christ can follow example / pattern of David – begin prayer with pleas for help, end with praise for deliverance. Wrap commitment to integrity in dependence on God’s grace and mercy. Life of integrity doesn’t just happen; takes work, determination, reliance on God. God grant that each of us be resolved to follow Christ without regard for world’s temptations or criticisms, having as our #1 goal the glory of God and salvation of sinners.

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