Psalms 1 - 50by Mike Raiter
It has been said: ″Christians are not perfect, just forgiven.″ Certainly no one is perfect, but we are more than ″just forgiven″. When God forgives us and justifies us, He gives us His Holy Spirit. God's Spirit then begins the work of sanctifying us. We are being renewed inwardly daily (2 Corinthians 4:16) and being conformed to the likeness of Jesus (Romans 8:29). We are changed people, although we still await our complete transformation in the age to come.
In Psalm 25, David asked God to protect him because he had lived a life of integrity (v. 21). This did not mean he was without sin (see v. 18), but that he had lived a life of consistent obedience. He continues this theme in Psalm 26. David's life is an open book before God, and he has a clear conscience, for ″I have trusted in the Lord and have not faltered″ (v. 1). David's assertion should also be found on the lips of Christians, who are called to be ″blameless″ (e.g. Philippians 2:14-15) and to trust in God.
In Psalm 1, God blesses the righteous person who does not ″sit in the company of mockers″ (v. 1). This is David's claim in Psalm 26: he does not sit with the wicked (v. 5). In other words, he has not participated in their sinful behaviour.
David's obedience is much more than outward conformity to the Law. It springs from a heart of love. He knows the Lord loves him (v. 3), and he loves and glories in living in the presence of his God (v. 8). The bedrock of David's confidence in his salvation is God's faithfulness (v. 3).
We have the same assurance. God has promised to give eternal life to those who trust in the saving work of the Lord Jesus. We can trust God will be faithful to this promise. Along with that, like David, we who have lived with a clear conscience can know that God will reward our faithfulness (see 2 Timothy 4:7-8).
David claimed to ″have not faltered″ in his life (Psalm 26:1), but we know he still sinned, sometimes terribly. Psalm 26 reminds us of the greater king who, although tempted in every way, never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). It is only to the Lord Jesus that the words David sings here fully apply.
As you reflect on Psalm 26, ask the Lord to ″examine my heart and my mind″ (v. 2). Is there something you need to do so that you can live before the Lord with a clear conscience?
″Lord, I love the house where you live″ (v. 8). Paul tells us that the church, God's people, are His house (1 Corinthians 3:16). How do David's words help us to appreciate the glory of the church? How can they challenge our attitude towards the church?