No doubt this Psalm was written by David when his cruel persecutor Saul, the more effectually to stab at him, spread false reports concerning his character. When the wicked can use no other weapons, they always have their quivers full of slanderous statements.
Let us learn here that the best of men must expect to be misrepresented, and to have the worst of crimes laid in their charge.
Let us learn, also, from the example of David, to carry our case to the highest court at once, not to meddle with the lower courts of earth, but to go at once to the Court of King’s Bench in heaven, and there plead our cause before the eternal throne.
If we are genuinely committed to God, we can stand up to opposition and examination.
Psalms 26:1 KJV
Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide.
David pleads two things:
- First, the outward life and
- Second, the inward faith, which, as it is the mainspring and source of the outer life of integrity, is also the more important of the two.
Remark, that as the case is between himself and his accusers, he pleads his life, for though we are justified before God by faith and not by works, yet before men, we must be justified by our actions, rather than by our faith. It is in vain for me to plead my faith when I am slandered. The only answer that can effectually shut the mouth of the adversary is to point to a blameless life.
Hence, in this case, he not only brings his faith before his God, but he also brings the fruit of his faith. Note, the inference, which he draws from God’s mercy to him in enabling him to walk uprightly and to trust him-“therefore I shall not slide.” He rests for the future upon his God. His position was slippery, his enemies were always busy trying to trip up his heels, but said he-“I shall not slide.”
Psalms 26:2 CJB
Examine me, Adonai, test me, search my mind and heart.
This is a beautiful verse. One would hardly dare to pray it. Here are three kinds of trial. According to the etymology of the Hebrew,
- The first is the trial by touch-“Examine me”;
- The next is the trial by smell-“Test me”; and
- The next is the trial by fire-“Search my mind and heart.”
You see how anxious he is, in fact, is to have the matter decided by God. “Lord, search me through and through; you know I am not a hypocrite.” Now, who dares to say this but that real man of God whose soul is wholly fixed upon the Lord?
The mind and the heart are mentioned because those were believed to be the seat of the affections, and when the affections are right, the whole man is right.
The heart is the fountain from which issue streams of life, and if the source is pure, the streams cannot be impure; hence he asks chiefly that the examination may be directed to his mind and his heart.
Psalms 26:3 TLV
For Your love is before my eyes and I have walked in Your truth.
Right straight before his eyes, he had God’s love. Some people appear to have their miseries, their sorrows, and their sins, before their eyes but happy is that believer who always has God’s love for him!
Come, my brother, forget for a little while the burden of your business cares; now for a bit of season let the sickness that is in your house be left in the hand of your God, and let his love be before your eyes. Loving-kindness-pull the word to pieces.
Remember the ancientness of it, the constancy of it, the variety of ways in which it shows itself, and the generous bounties, which it bestows upon you. Do not turn your back to God’s goodness, but now, right straight before you set the loving-kindness of your God.
“I have walked in Your truth.”
By which he may mean two things, first that he endeavored to hold fast to truth both in doctrine and in practice; or, secondly, that by God’s truthfulness in giving him the promised grace, he had been enabled to walk uprightly.
Psalms 26:4-5 CJB
I have not sat with worthless folks; I won’t consort with hypocrites, I hate the company of evildoers, I will not sit with the wicked.
Should we stay away from unbelievers? No. Although Christians should avoid some places, Jesus demonstrated that we must go to unbelievers to help them.
There is a difference, however, between being with unbelievers and being one of them. Acting like unbelievers harm our witness for God.
Ask yourself about the people you enjoy: If you are with them often, will you become less obedient to God in outlook or action? If the answer is yes, carefully monitor how you spend your time with these people and their effect on you.
Psalms 26:6-8 TLV
I will wash my hands in innocence, so I can walk around Your altar, Adonai, hearing the voice of thanksgiving while proclaiming all Your wonders. Adonai, I love the House where You live, the place where Your glory dwells.
He is innocent far as men are concerned, but he still confesses that he is a sinner, for he goes to God’s altar. Perfect men need no altars. It is the sinner that requires a sacrifice.
So let the saint ever know that though he can plead innocence against the charges of men yet before God, his hope lies in the blood-besprinkled altar of which Jesus Christ is the great High Priest.
David also exclaimed how he loved to worship God at this place. Do you love to worship?
I am sure many of us can say this, that when the Sabbath comes round, it is the best day of all the week, and that hour in the week-night when we can get to the house of God-what an inexpressible relief is that! It is to us as a green oasis in the midst of the sandy desert. There are no beauties in nature and no changes to be perceived in traveling that I think can ever compensate for the loss of the regular means of grace after all God’s house is the fairest spot of earth.
Psalms 26:9-10 TLV
Do not take my soul away with sinners, nor my life with people of bloodshed—in whose hands are wicked schemes, whose right hand is full of bribes.
See, he so loves God’s house that he cannot bear the thought of being shut in with sinners; and this is our comfort, that if we have loved God’s house on earth, we shall dwell in his house forever.
Psalms 26:11 TLV
But I—I will walk in my integrity. Redeem me and be gracious to me.
See again, my beloved, how in the Christian’s practice good works and faith are seen happily blended. He declares that he will walk in his integrity, but still, still, note, he prays as one that is conscious of a thousand imperfections-“Redeem me and be gracious to me.”
We do rest on Christ alone, but still, we desire to walk in holiness with as much exactness as though our salvation depended upon our good works.
Psalms 26:12 TLV
My feet stand on level ground. In congregations, I will bless Adonai.
Too often we complain about our problems to anyone who will listen, and we praise God only in private. Instead, we ought to complain privately and praise God publicly.