Psalm 26 is our last psalm for a while as we begin a new book tomorrow. Thanks to Bethan for providing the reading notes for today and the previous few days and Hannah for the beginning of the week.
This psalm was probably written when David was being persecuted by Saul and his peers who presented David as a terrible man and falsely accused him of atrocious crimes. As Saul was the supreme judge in Israel, David would have been able to appeal to no-one other than God.
It is clear that David has been falsely accused; he is innocent of the crimes charged against him but can do nothing about it. However, even in light of this, David does not seem angry or bitter but instead turns to the King of Kings who he entrusts with his safety and hope.
The claims David makes about himself are very bold but his invitation for God to examine his heart and mind suggests that his claims are true. He is blameless. The thought of the mighty God examining our hearts and minds might terrify us but David knows that he has been faithful and true to his Lord.
One of the things David mentions several times is that he does not associate himself with evildoers. He separates himself from sinners. This is a fine line to draw because in the New Testament, Christ is regularly described eating and spending time with sinners. What does this mean for us as Christians? I’m sure Psalm 26 is not telling us to only socialise with our brothers and sisters in Christ; how then would we spread the gospel? There does however seem to be a challenge. If we socialise with non-Christians so much that we become like them, we are not following the Lord’s commands. Jesus’ prayer for us in John 17 is clear:
“I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”
David also mentions that he regularly washes his hands in purification and forgiveness and praises the Lord:
‘I wash my hands in innocence,
and go about your altar, LORD,
proclaiming aloud your praise
and telling of all your wonderful deeds.’ (v6-7)
The present tense implies this is a habit. We too should regularly go to God for forgiveness for our sins and ask for His forgiveness and we too should make a habit of praising God ‘aloud’ and telling of the wonderful things he has done for us and is doing in us. We need to remember that the Lord is pure and sinless and we are not. We need his forgiveness and grace.
In a lot of ways, David appears Christ-like here. He is innocent and is being falsely accused. Throughout the Old Testament we get hints and signs of Jesus and this Psalm, like many others, acts as a reminder to us of Christ’s sinless and pure life and the punishment he took for sin because of his love for us.
Through the kisses of a friend’s betrayal,
He was lifted on a cruel cross;
He was punished for a world’s transgressions,
He was suffering to save the lost.
He fights for breath; He fights for me,
Loosing sinners from the claims of hell;
And with a shout our souls are free –
Death defeated by Immanuel. (From the Squalor – Stuart Townend)