Psalm 26: standing upon level ground
(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 I seek the acceptance of God or am I chasing after who or what the world says I should be?
Because, quite honestly, in the eyes of the world, I am forever unworthy. Never enough. Never strong enough. Never beautiful enough. Never good enough.
Fortunately, as a daughter of the King, none of that worldly stuff is the Lord's measure for me.
Or for you.
Make one claim, my friends, and live by it.
But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
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)? Michel, 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.
And David returned to bless his household. But Michael 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 Michael, "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."
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...remember...
for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness. Verse 3 NIV
for thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes; and I have walked in thy truth. KJV
For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness. 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.
Friends, Jesus is never further 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 how he's definitely chosen the path 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...
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.
C.S. Lewis says something similar to this;
"Many people have a very strong desire to meet celebrated or 'important' people, including those whom they disapprove, from curiosity or vanity. It gives them something to talk or even to write about. It is felt to confer distinction if the great, though odious, man recognizes you in the street... But I am inclined to think a Christian would be wise to avoid, where he decently can, any meeting with people who are bullies, lascivious, cruel, dishonest, spiteful, and so forth.
Not because we are 'too good for them.' In a sense because we are not good enough. We are not good enough to cope with all the temptations, nor clever enough to cope with all the problems, which an evening spent in such society produces."
David Guzik explains this even more clearly:
"We allow the wicked to amuse us, then to be our examples, then our models, and finally our idols."
God certainly gives some people, whether in the moment or in their character, to face these people or situations head on with strength and resolve. For most, like me, he instructs us to flee from, to run away from these roads that can lead to our destruction.
I lead a blameless life; deliver me and be merciful to me.
Verse 11 NIV
But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity; redeem me, and be merciful unto me.
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 at 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."
And finally, David ends with this beautiful statement:
My feet stand on level ground; in the great congregation I will praise the LORD.
My foot standeth in an even place: In the congregations will I bless Jehovah. ASV
David has not slipped, though he has enemies closing in, and he is afraid. David sees the strife and evil all around him, yet he knows upon Whom he stands.
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.
(or the gods of our current world; wealth, prosperity, renown, beauty, pride...)
But as for me and my household, will serve the LORD.
Father in heaven, we choose to serve you and to seek after the things of Truth. Help us to be strong and courageous, to turn away from the loudness of our world, and to hear your voice and to answer your knock at the door of our hearts...every day. 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.