On Psalm 26

(Psa 34:19) Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.

These afflictions have a purpose, "that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (1Pe 1:7). Thus, trials prove the faith of a person. It is a blessing to have the faith proven. This blessing is not only about future "praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (1Pe 1:7), but also about being more useful to the Lord in this life. Indeed, Greek words related to testing and approving appear in passages such as 1Ti 3:10 and 1Th 2:4. Thus, believers should count it all joy when they encounter various trials (Jas 1:2).

Psalm 26 could be used as a prayer when a believer faces trials. Now, there are some indications that Psalm 26 refers to Christ. However, Christ is our model and we should imitate him.

(Psa 26:1) Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide.

The one who follows the Lord can say to him "Judge me", because the verdict will not be condemnation but deliverance. "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations" (2Pe 2:9). (The Greek word for "temptation" means "experiment, trial, proving, ... ".) When facing trials, the believer can say "I shall not slide" because "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1Co 10:13). (The Greek verb translated "to tempt" means "to try, test".)

(Psa 26:2) Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.

Clearly, neither "heart" nor "reins" refer to the physical body but to the inner man. The request "Examine me ... prove me" does not conflict with the request "lead us not into temptation" (Mt 6:13). The latter is a request that the Lord would not bring trials that we cannot withstand. This can be seen by examining the preposition "into" in Mt 6:13. In Mt 6:13 we do not read "in temptation" but "into temptation". The Greek prepositions for "in" and "into" are different. The preposition "into" is often used with a meaning of purpose. Thus, "into temptation" would be "for temptation", that is, not for proving faith. So we find the words for "into temptation" in 1Ti 6:9 implying not only testing but also failing the test. This interpretation of "into temptation" fits the only other context in which the words are found: "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation" (Mk 14:38).

(Psa 26:3) For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth.
(Psa 26:4) I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.
(Psa 26:5) I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.

The hate of the believer does not have hostility, for he must love even his enemies (Mt 5:44). Rather, it implies that he will not try to please those he hates, except in the ways that please also God. Thus, he cannot be their friend, for he cannot fellowship with them in their ways.

(Psa 26:6) I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD:
(Psa 26:7) That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.

While we can speak of some of the works of God, Christ can speak of all of them. The Lord uses also man to declare his works. However, if man desires to be used powerfully by the Lord, he should fulfill Ps 26:6, that "I will wash mine hands in innocency ... ". One should cleanse himself so that he may be used much by the Lord. "If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work" (2Ti 2:21).

(Psa 26:8) LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.
(Psa 26:9) Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men:
(Psa 26:10) In whose hands is mischief, and their right hand is full of bribes.
(Psa 26:11) But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me.
(Psa 26:12) My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the LORD.


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