Psalm 26: 1 – 8
Vindicate me, O Lord,
for I have walked in my integrity,
2 Prove me, O Lord, and try me;
test my heart and mind.
3 For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in faithfulness to you.
4 I do not sit with the worthless,
6 I wash my hands in innocence,
and go around your altar, O Lord,
7 singing aloud a song of thanksgiving,
and telling all your wondrous deeds.
8 O Lord, I love the house in which you dwell,
and the place where your glory abides.
Someone may well ask “How do you select the verses each day?” No one ever has but they might, so to save time I’ll tell you. Recently I have gone through the Lord’s Prayer, The Beatitudes and just now my favourite New Testament Epistle James’ letter. Prior to that there have been occasional themes or once in a while something had happened which prompted me to use a certain passage, and I must confess on more than one occasion I opened my Bible blind and picked the first verse I saw on opening my eyes, that technique is often the hardest work!
Today’s is Psalm 26 and why have I selected that one? Well partly because it’s one of the set Readings for tomorrow (assuming you’re reading this on Saturday 29/8) I had done a bit of work on it before deciding to concentrate on another passage for the sermon and rather than waste my research, here goes:
This Psalm is unusual in that the writer does not start by telling God what dire straits he is in and how desperately he needs help, like now if not sooner! Instead he gives this rather startling assertion of his own righteousness asking that God agrees with him. I think many of us would struggle to start our own prayers this way. Yet it is ultimately a prayer of loyalty rather than a “Holier than thou” attitude and with that we might well identify.
The Psalmist is saying I have walked with you, I have not consorted with wicked (again not in self-righteousness for later in the Psalm he says ‘There but for the grace of God go I), and in those far off days when such things were legal he had loudly sung songs of thanksgiving in the sanctuary. In other words he had done all that was asked of him in offering praise.
Above all he stresses his love both for the Lord and where his glory abides. We could, perhaps should, argue that the glory of God is everywhere but we must also remember the context in which the psalmist was writing all those centuries ago when it was held that the greatest glory was in the Holy of Holies within the Temple.
The Psalm is a type of lament. The writer expresses his loyalty and faith but despite his confidence in his own purity he also asks God “I am doing right aren’t I? You are with me aren’t you?”.
We might be uneasy with his early claims of sainthood but we, well certainly I, can identify with his need for reassurance. The really great news is that God knows that too and is only to keen to give us the blessed assurance Jesus is ours.
Lord God our loving Father in Heaven, we sometimes put on a bold front but it may well be us whistling in the dark to keep our spirits up. You know us so well, so we pray you give again that assurance that you are with us each and every step of the way through this life.
In your Mercy hear our prayer,