Faithful Father, bring your cleansing, renewing power to my wayward heart.
Read PSALM 26
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.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Lord, please help me to talk to you when people judge me unfairly, leaving my anger with you.
At first sight this psalm sounds boastful, as though the psalmist is claiming to live a perfect life! Attributed to David, it could reveal a king who has become arrogant and confident in his relationship with God, with his sequence of bold claims about his unwavering trust (v 1), his acceptable state of mind and heart (v 2) and his walking in God’s truth (v 3). Further, he claims to have avoided deceit, hypocrisy, and the company of evildoers (vs 4,5). At second sight, however, it reveals a man honestly reacting to being wrongly accused when he has done nothing wrong. His blood pressure is up. ‘Vindicate me, Lord’ (v 1), he pleads. His integrity is being questioned and he urgently wants the Lord to defend him.
To be accused of lacking integrity is particularly cruel and perhaps he overreacts as he wants God to put his critics right. However, he is sure that God knows his heart (v 2) and how unfair these personality attacks are. God knows that he is blameless – and this is not about his sinless perfection (far from it) but his moral integrity. Even within this psalm he reveals how much he needs God by asking for protection from his enemies (v 9) and by seeking God’s mercy (v 11).
Yet, note how he revels in being in God’s house for worship (vs 6–8) and how the last verse sounds out confidence that in worship with others he finds he is balanced on level ground. Yes, this psalm is full of raw passion honestly expressed, but he knows he can leave his trouble with God when he worships. Dealing with unjust criticism (and worse) is always difficult, but this psalmist expresses not only righteous anger but the promise of healing that can come from joining others in worship and leaving vindication to God.
Reflect on the way this psalmist sees praise in worship as so helpful in his situation.
Almighty God, you have loved me with an infinite love despite what I have been or said. Remove from me those things that hamper me from loving others as I have been loved.
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